AMD Designing Chip for 2016 Games Console?

Well, isn’t this news going to get the rumour mills going?  Apparently, Devinder Kumar of microchip maker AMD has announced that the company is working on a chip for a console that’s due to be released in 2016.  A quote:

The design wins are interesting because the funding, the R&D dollars for customizing the parts for the products to our customers is precisely pre-funded by the customer and like I said the workload is started and we are spending the money and the resources and the work to go ahead and design the parts to be introduced sometime in 2016.

We didn’t say at which space it is in. I’m not going to give too much detail. I’ll say that one is x86 and one is ARM, and atleast one will be on gaming, right. But that’s about as much as you going to get out me today, because the customers from the standpoint to be fair to them. It is their product. They launch it. They announce it and then just like the game console or the parts you find out that its AMD’s APU that’s been used in those products.

That’s interesting enough, but look at the facts a minute.  What companies already use AMD chips in their consoles?

Sony and Microsoft.  Chips by this manufacturer can be found in the PS4 and Xbox One.

XBOX ONEPS4 PS4-Console-wDS4

Which one doesn’t?

Nintendo.  This opens up a few intriguing possibilities for what hardware the chip could be used for.  Here are some possibilities:

1. Nintendo is releasing a Wii U replacement in 2016

First up, the obvious.  Nintendo knows the Wii U is failing, they know the third parties like to use different console hardware as a reason to not support the Wii U… so they’ll just gonna replace the old system with one that’s more on par with the PS4 and Xbox One.

WiiU_CaptainToad_scrn03_E3

It’s an interesting idea, but it’s hard to tell how likely it’d all be. On the one hand, we don’t really know of many Wii U games planned for 2016 and beyond, do we?  So on that front, it’s possible that development of games beyond Zelda U and Xenoblade Chronicles X has been shifted to a new system and Wii U development tossed aside in the process.

One issue does arise with the idea of Nintendo giving up on a console platform in just a few years or so (the argument being that less than about 5-6 years will cause a lack of faith in the company and their products), but I’m not sure that’s a massive issue.  I mean, the Virtual Boy got scrapped in way less time than the Wii U did… and no one gave up on Nintendo because of it.

And while four years would be a bit short for a generation, it’s not that ridiculous.  I mean, add another year or two of minimal support (like the DS or Wii got while the 3DS or Wii U was being first sold) and you’ve got a fairly standard console lifespan, especially in these days of quicker moving hardware upgrades and what not.

So that’s possibility 1.  That the Wii U’s successor is being introduced in 2016 and will use this chip.  But that’s not the only possibility…

2. Their new Quality of Life product involves the chip

The other main possibility people are considering are that this chip is being made for Nintendo’s Quality of Life ‘system’ or platform or whatever.  It’s certainly possible (if the device is actually a console like piece of technology that runs its own unique applications and things), but I have to wonder; would Nintendo bother with a different manufacturer and hardware just for this?

Couldn’t a QoL device be made using Wii/3DS/Wii U tech and hence without potentially breaking the bank (so to speak)?  It’s not like most applications related to their Quality of Life idea would require gen 8 level technology, or would require much custom hardware at all.

3. A new handheld uses the AMD chip

newnintendo3ds1

Above: The New 3DS is okay, but it’s an obvious stopgap before a new handheld system.

vita

Above: The Vita may as well call it quits now.  A replacement in 2016 is practically required to keep the brand relevant at this point.

Another possibility is that this isn’t for a home console at all, but for a new handheld system. I mean, look at the 3DS and Vita; they’ve both been around a while now, and come 2016, their normal lifespan is pretty much over.

So perhaps the truth is that Nintendo or Sony is planning on using AMD hardware for their upcoming handheld games consoles and is hoping to have their level of tech match the Wii U or PS4/Xbox 360. Is that level of technology doable in a handheld by 2016?  I guess it could be…

And either way, a new handheld is definitely due out within a year or two, so new hardware would make sense on that front.

Well, those are my ideas about what this new chip could be used for.  Are they accurate?  Is all this speculation just going overboard?  I guess there’s only one way to find out…

http://seekingalpha.com/article/2739835-advanced-micro-devices-amd-2014-raymond-james-systems-semiconductors-software-and-supply-chain-conference?page=2&p=qanda&l=last

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