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Thursday, January 20, 2005
NVIDIA's next-generation GeForce chipset will power PlayStation 3

The next series of graphics chips from NVIDIA, following on from the current 6-series, will include the custom chip that is being licensed to Sony Computer Entertainment for its next home console.

That's according to NVIDIA corporate marketing boss David Roman, who spoke with US website X-Bit Labs about the company's role in the development of the PlayStation 3 console, which was announced in December.

"This is the next generation GPU," Roman told the site. "After the GeForce 6 series this is going to be the next generation... It will support DirectX 9, Shader Models 3, it will be the most feature-rich, the most powerful GPU that we've ever created."

Roman said that Sony has been working with NVIDIA to create a custom version of the chip for PlayStation 3 - which, interestingly, he also revealed is not being called "PlayStation 3" by the company at present.

"We've been working with them to produce a version that is customised specifically to connect that to the Cell processor," he said, "so that they could work together. The timing and everything is up to them to disclose, although we will have some products a little bit later this year, so this is not that far in the future on the development side."

Commenting on Sony's reasoning for going to an external company for its graphics part - as opposed to its traditional approach of designing and manufacturing most of its consoles in-house - Roman pointed that developing graphics processors is becoming increasingly complex, but said that NVIDIA's software as much as its hardware was desirable for Sony.

"As graphics becomes more and more complex, it's not just the actual technology of the graphics processor, but it's also the whole development platform that's available to the software vendors to actually be able to take advantage of the feature set - in terms of the tools, in terms of the support, in terms of the code that's already written, the routines that are there," he said. "That's something we do very well because that's our business."

Roman also said that although NVIDIA's current licensing deal is purely with Sony Computer Entertainment, the company is also exploring possible partnerships with other divisions within Sony, which will also be using the Cell microprocessor in their products.

"As part of the agreement we are looking at other Sony devices that will have the Cell processors," he revealed. "We haven't announced yet but we are exploring some other opportunities within Sony, within the world of Sony. The license deal is specifically with Sony Computer Entertainment... But in fact the agreement actually does include talking to Sony about some of the other consumer electronics products."

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