Last week, we had the chance to talk with Roy Taylor about how Nvidia works with developers under its The Way It’s Meant To Be Played developer relations programme. In addition, we talked about some of the games that are coming out in the near future and also touched on where PC gaming is heading in the future.
Roy was previously Vice President of worldwide GPU sales at Nvidia and in September 2006 he moved to become Vice President of Content Relations. He is now responsible for the development and support of third-party PC games along with Nvidia developer tools and publications.
He spends most of his day liaising with developers, talking about next-generation PC games and, of course, playing them too. If there’s anyone that knows about what games are worth playing later this year, Roy’s our man.
G80 and Vista:
Almost eight months ago now, the GeForce 8800 GTX launched with a heap of praise from many of the world's top tech publications, including ourselves of course. It took AMD almost seven months to respond with the Radeon HD 2900 XT, which didn’t challenge the GeForce 8800 GTX’s crown, so Nvidia remained on its own at the top of the performance tree – and still does.
Since then the company announced an even faster card, the GeForce 8800 Ultra. However, in a situation where the company has no competition at the high-end, it can almost price it where it wants. Thankfully, we learned at Computex that it is going to get a little cheaper.
Roy told us that the launch had been a success for Nvidia – in fact, he went onto say that the whole GeForce 8-series has been a success. He pointed out that Nvidia is in a dominating position with DirectX 10-class hardware, as the company has already shipped millions of DirectX 10 parts shipped in the first eight months. While we were discussing numbers, Roy mentioned that Nvidia had shipped over 500 million GPUs in ten years and, based on Nvidia’s research, he believes that there are currently around 200 million active GeForce users.
Many end users have been disappointed with Nvidia’s Vista drivers and we had our fair share of problems in the first few months. Nvidia was simply too quiet about the problems it was having and it was almost as if representatives from the company were sitting in an air raid shelter waiting for a bomb to drop.
We asked Roy how he felt the transition to Vista had gone for the company, and whether it could have handled the situation any better. “We really did the best we could with the transition. Of course, there were some hiccups along the way but there are many other companies in the same position as us – in that the launch was long expected, but went through many changes before its final launch. Vista changed quite a lot during its development, and of course we had to support those changes.
“As the only manufacturer with DirectX 10 hardware, we had more work to do than any other hardware manufacturer because there were two drivers to develop (one for DX9 and one for DX10). In addition to that, we couldn’t just stop developing XP drivers too, meaning that there were three development cycles in flight at the same time.”
He then went onto point out that Nvidia decided that the best course of action was to be very open about its Vista driver situation – the company opened a Vista Quality Assurance bug reporting page for end users to submit bugs in Nvidia’s Vista drivers. “I think there has been a lot of over-exaggeration in the press regarding the issue.
“Given how many copies of Vista are in use, a surprisingly small number of people came back to say they were not happy with our Vista drivers when we launched Vista Quality Assurance. Within a month the number of reported problems had been halved.”