Officials from NVidia have annouced that the company is collaborating on graphics technology for Sony’s PlayStation 3. Little information has previously been forthcoming on the graphics chip for the new console, compared to the torrent of press releases relating to the IBM-designed 'Cell' processor.
NVidia provided the core graphics technology for the current Xbox, but famously lost the contract to work on the next generation Xbox to rivals ATi. Unsubstantiated rumors of the company’s possible collaboration with Sony surfaced in 2003, but were dismissed by many.
NVidia president and CEO Jen-Hsun Huang has indicated that the two companies have been working together for the past two years, developing a custom graphics processing unit (GPU). The two companies have apparently signed a broad, multi-year, royalty-bearing agreement.
The GPU technology will also be used on a range of other applications "from computer entertainment to broadband applications", including future Sony digital consumer electronic products. This is rumoured to include high definition television sets, and perhaps sequels to the PSX DVD burner devices.
"In the future, the experience of computer entertainment systems and broadband-ready PCs will be fused together to generate and transfer multi-streams of rich content simultaneously. In this sense, we have found the best way to integrate the state-of-the-art technologies from NVIDIA and SCEI," said Ken Kutaragi, the so-called Father of the PlayStation. "Our collaboration includes not only the chip development but also a variety of graphics development tools and middleware, essential for efficient content creation."
The custom GPU will be manufactured at Sony Group’s Nagasaki Fab2, as well as at OTSS (a joint fabrication facility owned by Toshiba and Sony). The PlayStation 3 is expected to go on sale in Japan in the spring of 2006, with its first public unveiling at E3 next May.