AMD and Intel reveal gaming product strategies

Infotech Lead India: Computing chip majors AMD and Intel have revealed their gaming product strategies at this year’s GDC.

AMD revealed its “Unified Gaming Strategy” that aims  to drive the gaming market across consoles, cloud platforms, tablets and PCs. AMD aims to achieve this objective by teaming up with the world’s leading hardware and game developers.

Meanwhile, Intel announced several tools and initiatives at GDC 2013, aimed at software developers. There were new graphics capabilities for forthcoming Intel HD Graphics platforms that can be  accessed through DirectX extensions.

The first of these extensions, called PixelSync, provides access to underlying hardware to enable programmers to properly composite partially transparent pixels. Game developers can use this capability to render smoke, hair, windows, foliage, fences and other complex geometry and natural phenomena more realistically.

According to IDC, there were 34 million game console sales in 2012, which is considerably lower than the 55 million units sold in 2008.

Lewis Ward, video games research manager for the IDC, forecasts 2014 industry sales of 44.5 million consoles.

IDC says 2011 and 2012 were tough for many console game disc developers and publishers. With the advent of eighth-generation consoles, starting with the Wii U, historical norms strongly imply that game disc revenue will stop bleeding in 2013 and rise substantively in 2014.

There was attrition to alternative gaming platforms like tablets, but the trough was exacerbated by the 2008-9 recession. It did not permit as many people to buy who under normal economic conditions would have bought a console, according to IDC.

AMD launched Gaming Evolved three years ago at GDC and has been the driving force behind the “Never Settle” gaming bundles. It sparked a frenzy in the demand for powerful AMD engines in the latest next-generation gaming consoles. AMD’s latest offering is the AMD Radeon Sky Graphics.

The graphics technology was built on the AMD Graphics Core Next Architecture with an aim to define cloud gaming experiences for gamers. AMD worked in collaboration with CiiNow,G-Cluster, Otoy and Ubitus to develop flexible cloud gaming technology.

The AMD Radeon HD 7790 graphics card was recently launched, aimed at gamers looking to play the latest games, including Gaming Evolved titles such as Crysis 3 and Tomb Raider, at the right price point.

The AMD Radeon HD 7790 GPU features the AMD Eyefinity technology and an enhanced version of AMD PowerTune technology made available in the USD$150 MSRP range. The AMD Radeon HD 7790 GPU is likely to be available from all AMD add-in-board partners during the first week of April.

AMD took the opportunity to provide a sneak peek of its remodeled and reinvented Ruby, which was designed and developed by IllFonic, and harnesses the power of Crytek’s CryEngine 3 development engine. The latest AMD Ruby demo which is still under production, is designed to highlight real-world gaming possibilities of AMD Radeon graphics technology.

AMD also announced the arrival of BioShock: Infinite with DirectX 11 PC-exclusive features such as anti-aliasing, texture detail, texture filtering, dynamic shadows and more to provide a realistic gaming experience.

All of these features were developed in collaboration with Irrational Games and the AMD Gaming Evolved team.

Intel says InstantAccess is Intel’s second new extension that works by allowing physical memory to be written and read from either the CPU or from the built-in Intel HD Graphics.

Intel is releasing these real-time rendering extensions in advance of the launch of its newest generation of Core processors so that developers get a headstart to begin incorporating them into their products. Presently these extensions are available only through Intel’s implementation of DirectX and on Intel 4th gen Core platforms.

HandBrake is one of the open source video transcoders that is being accelerated using Intel Quick Sync Video hardware built into the latest Intel Core processors.

Intel has updated it’s suite of graphic and game development tools – Intel Graphics Performance Analyzers (Intel GPA) – to help developers analyze and optimize performance on games, media and other graphic-intensive applications on Intel Core processor-based platforms with HD Graphics or on Intel Atom processor-based Android phones.

The production release of the Intel Perceptual Computing Software Development Kit (SDK) 2013 is now available. Used with the Creative Interactive Gesture Camera, the Intel Perceptual Computing SDK 2013 enables developers to add human-like interaction to computers through close-range finger or hand-tracking, speech recognition, facial analysis and augmented reality.

Sangeeta Sudhakaran

[email protected]