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Nvidia CEO: Relationship with Nintendo "will likely last two decades"

Baleoce

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Jan 15, 2013
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The fact that Nvidia are including Nintendo's business in their Gaming division, rather than their IP licensing division, would indicate that Nvidia are handling manufacturing and selling the final chips to Nintendo, rather than Nintendo licensing the design and handling manufacturing themselves (which was their arrangement with AMD for Wii U's GPU).
Interesting. Hope this goes smoothly if it is the case.
 

Plum

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Aug 26, 2015
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Idk why but the way he's talking about it makes me think it will indeed be powerful.

Specifically the "amazing console" and "everyone will be amazed by it" parts
Yeah, I hope it's not just PR speak. Personally an X1-level handheld at 720p which turns into a 1080p console through clock boosts would be really, really good.

I really don't think this thing is using a Tegra X1 like some think.
 

Fisty

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Jun 26, 2014
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Yeah as long as Nvidia doesn't burn them like they did MS and Sony I'm sure it'll be a great relationship. Problem is, Nvidia 2 for 2 on screwing platform holders and Nintendo is definitely on the back foot already
 

Instro

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Cool.

Cause after the Switch fails, Nintendo will go back to making traditional consoles, with the next one featuring the equivalent of an Nvidia GTX Titan X graphics card.
Well maybe regardless of failure or not, it sounds like they have additional devices in the pipe. One might be that higher end console that some of us want.

Yeah as long as Nvidia doesn't burn them like they did MS and Sony I'm sure it'll be a great relationship. Problem is, Nvidia 2 for 2 on screwing platform holders and Nintendo is definitely on the back foot already
Well Nvidia already had a deal with Nintendo fall through during the run up to the 3DS.
 

MrCunningham

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But guys, consoles have no Margins. It's beyond Nvidia!
NVidia has an awful history within the console market, an it goes guther back than the original Xbox. They were riding off the success of the Sega Saturn with their first graphic's chip, but it was a failure. Their second graphics chip was being designed for the successor to the Sega Saturn. But was killed by Sega. Maybe this time things will be difference when teaming up with Nintendo?
 

Thraktor

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As long as Nvidia continue to develop newer versions of Tegra, I can believe it. Nintendo are done with AMD and IBM as they are not interested in developing traditional consoles anymore. They've been using ARM since the Game Boy Advance, and the Nvidia + ARM combination of Tegra is perfect for Nintendo going forward.
Not that I expect Nintendo to do so, but there's nothing theoretically stopping them from re-entering the home console arms race with a custom Nvidia chip. Modern ARM cores are more than competitive with what MS & Sony are using, and they can use as powerful a GPU as they're willing to spend the money on.

Once Nintendo chose Tegra as the basis for their new architecture and with the declared score of building an ecosystem around one platform from now on it was pretty course that this collaboration is meant to be for the long term unless Nintendo leaves the hardware business.

It's nice to see Nvidia so enthusiastic about Switch, maybe even more than Nintendo.

Also, Nintendo contributing to the gaming income lends credence to that rumour about Nvidia having a big fab contract with TMSC that they were trying to get rid of and that driving a good deal for Nintendo.
That was speculation, not a rumour (I should know, I was the one who speculated it). I don't think it tells us anything about that, though, just that Switch is earning Nvidia a non-trivial amount of revenue.

If you're to take "a fair amount" of the growth to be 25% (an entirely arbitrary number) then their quarterly revenue from Switch would be ~$115 million, or about equal to the revenue of their entire Automotive division, two quarters before the hardware even launches. Granted "a fair amount" could be a much smaller number (or even a bigger one), but we're potentially looking at Nvidia making hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue a year from Nintendo, and if they're confident of being able to keep that going for twenty years I can certainly see them being enthusiastic about it.

"Today we would like to announce our new product with AMD, The Nintendo Change".

Then Nvidia goes on to develope the Fun Center console on their own and sells 150 million units.
Nvidia's prior attempt at their own console would suggest you're off by three or four orders of magnitude on sales of the "Fun Center" there.

Yeah, unfortunately. This is also what happened to IBM's PowerPC line, Nintendo was the only one left keeping it alive. Though in this case Tegra being 'less popular' isn't really that big of an issue as it is still just an ARM CPU housed with an NVidia graphics core. I could even see Nvidia design Tegra chips just for Nintendo if they pulled them out of retail.
It seems to be the case that the old Tegra division has been effectively split in two. One half is now grouped in with the Gaming division and seems to be solely responsible for working with Nintendo, and the other half has been spun off into the new Automotive division, which is responsible for Parker, Xavier, etc. I don't really see any general-purpose Tegra SoCs going back on the market, or any new Shield devices. I think their contract with Nintendo has basically eliminated the need for them.
 

KingSnake

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Jan 9, 2013
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That was speculation, not a rumour (I should know, I was the one who speculated it). I don't think it tells us anything about that, though, just that Switch is earning Nvidia a non-trivial amount of revenue.
Right, that was speculation. My point is that Nintendo traditionally use their own manufacturers for the chips so to get them from Nvidia there must have been some strong incentive. And why would Nvidia give Nintendo a better deal for the chips than for licensing? That could be a good reason for both.
 

Genio88

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I guess Nintendo finally understood it, Microsoft ans Sony already did that, from now on they'll all stick with one common architecture, they'll upgrade it after a few years like Sony did with PS4 Pro and Microsoft will do with Scorpio, that means no more backwards compatibility problems for the future and faster technological progress.
I guess that's what Nintendo wants to do too, Switch successor will be another Nvidia chip based device, compatible with all Switch games, and the old Switch will still be able to run newer games too for a while, even if with lower resolution/frame rate.
That's the future and to me it makes perfectly sence, it's time to stop having to start from the scratch every gen, technology allows that now
 

Oregano

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Nintendo will continue to produce hardware long after they stop making dedicated devices so this doesn't surprise me.
 

Quasar

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I don't really see any general-purpose Tegra SoCs going back on the market, or any new Shield devices. I think their contract with Nintendo has basically eliminated the need for them.
Which would sadden me given they make the best media centre box on the market in the ShieldTV. With a new one going through the FCC a while back I hoped it was X2 based.
 

MrCunningham

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Not that I expect Nintendo to do so, but there's nothing theoretically stopping them from re-entering the home console arms race with a custom Nvidia chip. Modern ARM cores are more than competitive with what AMD & Nvidia are using, and they can use as powerful a GPU as they're willing to spend the money on.
Oh yeah, I can agree with that. They could build a pretty awesome game console with an up-clocked ARM CPU and a solid Nvidia core. But they are more interested in keeping the specs lower to accommodate for longer battery life (even though the Switch Battery life is being reported as poor).

It seems to be the case that the old Tegra division has been effectively split in two. One half is now grouped in with the Gaming division and seems to be solely responsible for working with Nintendo, and the other half has been spun off into the new Automotive division, which is responsible for Parker, Xavier, etc. I don't really see any general-purpose Tegra SoCs going back on the market, or any new Shield devices. I think their contract with Nintendo has basically eliminated the need for them.
Ah, I didn't know that this already happened. I don't really keep up with what is happening within Nvidia.
 

Thraktor

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Interesting. Hope this goes smoothly if it is the case.
I shouldn't expect any issues. Nintendo had the same arrangement with IBM (buying the final chips from them) for the past three generations, so it's not entirely outside the ordinary for them.

NVidia has an awful history within the console market, an it goes guther back than the original Xbox. They were riding off the success of the Sega Saturn with their first graphic's chip, but it was a failure. Their second graphics chip was being designed for the successor to the Sega Saturn. But was killed by Sega. Maybe this time things will be difference when teaming up with Nintendo?
I think there are a few differences between Nvidia's involvement in Switch and their involvement in past hardware from both business and technical points of view. From the business point of view, they're entering a market which their main competitor owns 100% of the market share, so they're likely willing to take much more modest margins to get a foot back in the door. From a technical point of view, Nvidia is selling Nintendo a known, mature architecture, whereas in previous cases they were perhaps over-promising on incomplete and unproven designs.

If we assume design started in January 2015, then Maxwell (which Pascal is largely a shrink of) had been around for almost a year already, and Maxwell-based Tegras (i.e. the TX1) were already in production. Nintendo would have been able to get an extremely good idea of the performance and capabilities of the hardware they were being promised, because for the most part it already existed. Granted there's the question of the benefits from a shrink to 16nm (if they have done so), but that's a matter for TSMC, and Nintendo would have had plenty of experience in knowing what to expect when it comes to die shrinks.

Conversely when Nintendo initially chose Tegra 2 for the 3DS they were likely doing so on the basis of nothing more than Nvidia's claims of performance and power draw, without any actual hardware to base their expectations off. Once the hardware arrived it seems that it wasn't up to Nintendo's requirements and they dropped it in favour of their custom PICA-based SoC.

Right, that was speculation. My point is that Nintendo traditionally use their own manufacturers for the chips so to get them from Nvidia there must have been some strong incentive. And why would Nvidia give Nintendo a better deal for the chips than for licensing? That could be a good reason for both.
As mentioned above, Nintendo have used both IP licensing (Wii U's GPU) and chip purchasing (Wii U's CPU) quite recently, so it's not really that out of character for them to go this route with Nvidia. It may simply be the way Nvidia prefers to do business, or Nvidia's relationship with TSMC may allow them to get a better deal on the fabrication than Nintendo would if they went the IP licensing route.
 
Jun 27, 2015
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I guess Nintendo finally understood it, Microsoft ans Sony already did that, from now on they'll all stick with one common architecture, they'll upgrade it after a few years like Sony did with PS4 Pro and Microsoft will do with Scorpio, that means no more backwards compatibility problems for the future and faster technological progress.
I guess that's what Nintendo wants to do too, Switch successor will be another Nvidia chip based device, compatible with all Switch games, and the old Switch will still be able to run newer games too for a while, even if with lower resolution/frame rate.
That's the future and to me it makes perfectly sence, it's time to stop having to start from the scratch every gen, technology allows that now
What do you mean finally? You mean Sony and Microsoft finally understand this. Nintendo has been doing this since 2001 with the GC
 

Genio88

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What do you mean finally? You mean Sony and Microsoft finally understand this. Nintendo has been doing this since 2001 with the GC
Not really, cause Game Cube couldn't play Wii games, and Wii couldn't play WiiU games, instead being the same architecture Xbox One will still play Scorpio games, like PS4 already play PS4 Pro games too. Also those console had backward compatibility cause they integrated their predecessor CPU inside, like the first PS3 model did too, which is pretty different than being able to play old games cause they actually run on the new architecture, since that architecture is the same as the old one but more powerful
 

Thraktor

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Ah, I didn't know that this already happened. I don't really keep up with what is happening within Nvidia.
Well, I can't speak for their internal organisation, but it would seem likely that it's the case. Over the past couple of years they've dropped the Tegra division from their financial reports, and added in an Automotive division instead. With their only new Tegras from that division being quite explicitly targeted at the automotive industry (Parker and Xavier), and with Switch coming in under the Gaming division instead, it would certainly seem like they've split the old Tegra team in two in order to move in two different directions.
 
Jun 27, 2015
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Not really, cause Game Cube couldn't play Wii games, and Wii couldn't play WiiU games, instead being the same architecture Xbox One will still play Scorpio games, like PS4 already play PS4 Pro games too. Also those console had backward compatibility cause they integrated their predecessor CPU inside, like the first PS3 model did too, which is pretty different than being able to play old games cause they actually run on the new architecture, since that architecture is the same as the old one but more powerful
You do realize the Xbox and Scorpio aren't the same generation. Why would the GC be able to play future games?

The next Xbox will not have games playable on the XBO or Scorpio. Same with the PS4/Pro and the PS5. What you're saying is you want Nintendo to start doing incremental upgrades as well?

Anyway, there were some GBC games that you could play on the GB.
 

bman94

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I wonder how the Switch upgrades will go. Switch Pocket, Switch Ultra, Switch 2s, Switch Edge.
2020: "The newest Nintendo Switch console, the Switch Note has recently been banned from all commercial airlines due to concerns of recent reports of its battery catching on fire."
 

CrispyBoar

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Dec 31, 2015
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Expected - future Switch devices will be based on the current architecture to maintain full BC to previous generations and hardware.
I wouldn't be surprised. Nintendo is supposed to keep Switch architecture for the years to come. Makes sense they stick with Nvidia for a while.
Agreed. Nvidia is far superior to AMD.

If the Switch fails, Nintendo will exit the hardware business.
Nintendo will go 3rd party in two decades.
LOL if you believe that. There's a higher chance of Sony & Microsoft exiting the gaming industry before Nintendo will.
 

WaterAstro

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Nvidia have built video cards that can see in the future, and they are at a low price of $999,999,999,999
 

oti

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LOL if you believe that. There's a higher chance of Sony & Microsoft exiting the gaming industry before Nintendo will.
Exiting the hardware business is not the same as exiting the gaming industry. Where is Nintendo supposed to go if Switch fails? As much as some people seem to want that, they can't compete with Sony and MS in the premium segment and I'm not so sure there are even interested in that. Other than that the only thing that is left are phones. You really believe Nintendo is going to compete with either super cheap Android phones or with Apple? No way.
 

Donnie

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Dedicated consoles will go on for as long as the human race still games. Be it an 'era' or otherwise, there will always be a market for dedicated gaming consoles.
Of course they will, the whole "mobile phones will take over" thing is a right laugh. There will always be room for premium/expensive AAA titles and you'll only ever get them on a dedicated games machine.
 

antonz

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Its an easy progression for Nintendo. I mean Xavier is expected to come out around the beginning of 2018 if it stays on track and I am sure they have work in progress on whatever comes after Xavier.

Nintendo can eventually sell an Xavier Dock or something to go with the Original Switch and at the same time release an updated switch itself based on Xavier etc. just have a constant chain of upgrading available over the years
 

ShadowFox08

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Its an easy progression for Nintendo. I mean Xavier is expected to come out around the beginning of 2018 if it stays on track and I am sure they have work in progress on whatever comes after Xavier.

Nintendo can eventually sell an Xavier Dock or something to go with the Original Switch and at the same time release an updated switch itself based on Xavier etc. just have a constant chain of upgrading available over the years
What the hell is Xavier and how powerful is it compared to the competition?
 

Hero

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This definitely helps me to believe even more so that there will be a family of Switch devices down the road that will tailor to different parts of the market like a home-only model that is more powerful or a handheld first model where the battery is bigger and the screen is bigger(or smaller) and better.
 

ggx2ac

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I'm having a good laugh because a two decade relationship sounds like Nintendo will have a great partnership.

Why I'm laughing is because of the NX speculation days, "But Nintendo wouldn't go with Nvidia, they have such a great relationship with AMD/DMP. They would be able to get such a great deal for a powerful console from AMD/DMP. Nvidia would swindle Nintendo, that's why Nintendo is not using Nvidia for NX."

Haha
 

MoonFrog

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That's pretty big talk...but I guess they did do GCN style architecture for...what? 15, 16 years when Switch hits?
 

Thraktor

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Tegra business increased by ~60% Y/Y in the last quarter for NV, based primarily on automotive sales.
I assume they're talking about the consumer Tegra business, which I'd imagine Nvidia are happy enough to drop now that they've got Nintendo's business. (They've also said their Automotive revenues are mostly consulting fees at the moment, so it's not as if actual sales in that area are anything to shout about just yet).

Its an easy progression for Nintendo. I mean Xavier is expected to come out around the beginning of 2018 if it stays on track and I am sure they have work in progress on whatever comes after Xavier.

Nintendo can eventually sell an Xavier Dock or something to go with the Original Switch and at the same time release an updated switch itself based on Xavier etc. just have a constant chain of upgrading available over the years
They won't be using Xavier (it's an automotive SoC, and any future Nintendo devices would get custom chips in any case), but I also doubt that we'll see an upgraded Switch so quickly (or a special dock, for that matter). I think we're going to see a few different form-factors before they come back around to release a new hybrid. A more compact portable-only device (which could probably use the same SoC as Switch) is a safe bet, and there's a decent chance to see a dedicated home console at some point, too.

It seems likely that we won't have to wait too long to find out, though. If Nvidia do have contracts for another Nintendo device already, then it should hit the market sometime in 2018.
 

Litri

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Could this means iterations of upgraded mobile HW tech and shorter lifespans (like 3DS and new 3DS)? That would be interesting.
 

michaelius

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Not that I expect Nintendo to do so, but there's nothing theoretically stopping them from re-entering the home console arms race with a custom Nvidia chip. Modern ARM cores are more than competitive with what MS & Sony are using, and they can use as powerful a GPU as they're willing to spend the money on.
Yep - technically with Switch being in 0,5TFlop range (more or less since we don't know) it would be really easy to make 4K capable home only variant for very reasonable price in 2018-2019 (after jump to new semiconductor node)

Also if for example Switch has 720p in portable mode and 1080p in docked mode then next iteration could be powerful enough to run 1080p in portable mode.

Normally I wouldn't count on Nintendo to think so far forward but deep Nvidia involvement gives me a lot of hope for really great hardware.
 

Negotiator

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- The fact that Nvidia are including Nintendo's business in their Gaming division, rather than their IP licensing division, would indicate that Nvidia are handling manufacturing and selling the final chips to Nintendo, rather than Nintendo licensing the design and handling manufacturing themselves (which was their arrangement with AMD for Wii U's GPU).
Interesting. Hope this goes smoothly if it is the case.
Isn't that what fucked up OG XBOX?

Remember when Nvidia didn't want to pass the cost savings (die shrunk chips) to Microsoft? Rumors say that Sony wasn't exactly happy with RSX (PS3 GPU) either...

So, why is this supposed to be "good news"? I hope I'm wrong, but Nvidia has set a bad precedent in console hardware.