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AMD has considered buying Ageia

AMD has considered buying Ageia

Ageia may find itself at the centre of a bidding war, as interest in game physics is on the increase.

At an event in Poland last week, AMD said that it has considered buying Ageia, the company that really raised the awareness of in-game physics when it released its PhysX PPU add-in card in May 2006.

Richard Huddy, AMD’s head of worldwide developer relations, said that “we’ve had that discussion, yes,” when asked about the possibility of buying Ageia. “It’s a discussion that goes around every three months – someone turns to me and says ‘why don’t we buy Ageia?’ and I go through the arguments about why we should and why we shouldn’t.”

The problem for AMD is that Ageia will probably command quite a high asking price, and given the fact that AMD is still heavily in debt following the $5.4 billion purchase of ATI last year, the company probably won’t be able to afford it. It’s likely to not be the only company involved in a potential acquisition and Huddy said he wouldn’t be surprised if the same discussion had gone on at other players in this market, including archrivals Nvidia.

Ever since Intel announced its intentions to buy Havok, we have been asking AMD, Intel and Nvidia what they each think will happen to GPU physics. Intel told us that it didn’t expect things to change once the acquisition was completed, but AMD seems to think otherwise, as it was widely reported yesterday that the company believes GPU physics is dead.

“From Intel’s point of view, there is no reason why they would want to have that physics supported on the GPU any further, so all those conversations [with Havok] have ground to a halt,” said Huddy in an interview with CustomPC.

This came as a surprise to us, especially considering the fact that Valve’s Source engine is using GPU-accelerated physics in some capacity in Half-Life 2: Episode Two. This is a game that AMD is backing, as the game comes free with many AMD ATI Radeon graphics cards today, and there’s ATI logos plastered through the game’s options menu, which state that the game plays better on ATI hardware.

Do you think this would be a good move by AMD, or even another company in the market? Maybe one of the console vendors could snap up Ageia, since its SDK is currently freely available to all platforms. Let us know your thoughts in the forums.

12 Comments

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Zurechial 22nd November 2007, 13:18 Quote
Is AMD trying to go bankrupt?
simosaurus 22nd November 2007, 13:33 Quote
i just hope nvidia buys them out and kills them, it hasn't been a success, it needs integration with those GPUs and an install base that size to take off

I would rather a GPU based Havok solution, from what ive seen of ageia physics they are very buggy (ut3 stretching limbs etc), havok isn't great either, nothing i've seen has touched the Karma physics in UT2004, but best of a bad bunch i guess.
DeXtmL 22nd November 2007, 14:02 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Zurechial
Is AMD trying to go bankrupt?

Not really.

They( Intel, amd, nvidia...) have already found out that the physics effect is doing a increasingly significant job in gaming, and such importance would inrease faster in furture together with the increasingly powerful hardwares.
AMD would never want to lose a a big tech advantage, especially about gaming currently.
BlackMage23 22nd November 2007, 14:52 Quote
I jokingly said to a friend that AMD would do that and intergrate it into the fusion project.
I didn't think I was that close to the truth.

I think AMD may try to do this as it would be helpful in the long term and may leave Nvidia out in the cold (AMD and intel will be able to do CPU+GPU+PPU+Chipset, and Nvidia can only do GPU+Chipset)

Short team though is the bigger problem as I think it would be hard for them to go into bigger debt at the moment.
Icy EyeG 22nd November 2007, 15:59 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by simosaurus
i just hope nvidia buys them out and kills them, it hasn't been a success, it needs integration with those GPUs and an install base that size to take off

My thoughts exactly.
p3n 22nd November 2007, 19:42 Quote
Nothing another cpu core cant be doing (ala source engine)
willyolio 22nd November 2007, 20:45 Quote
oh come on. buying ATI was very risky and i can see why they did it. buying Ageia? that's just dumb.
DXR_13KE 22nd November 2007, 22:19 Quote
buying ageia is dumb if you are in a tight squeeze..... now if only they could pull their collective heads out of their collective asses then they could have a chance.....
Tyinsar 22nd November 2007, 23:02 Quote
If AMD could integrate these functions into the CPU as extentions (like MMX, 3DNow!, SSE, ...) they might stand a chance of making a go of this.

However, the last time they tried that (3DNow!) the uptake was less than spectacular.

Personally I think it's not a good move for them at the moment and thus unlikely.
Havok154 23rd November 2007, 03:42 Quote
I've always said that the physics chips will never catch on until they get integrated into a cpu or gpu. So it's a good idea for them to buy the technology, but it's a really stupid idea at that price. Especially considering that I don't see Ageia surviving another 1-2 years on their own.
Woodstock 23rd November 2007, 05:49 Quote
wouldn't game developer's have to pay to use the software physics engine
Sparrowhawk 23rd November 2007, 06:14 Quote
What bothers me is the potential for one company or another (either one) buying the technology, then locking everyone else (and half of the consumer market) out. Much like the current split over SSE4a vs. SSE4.1, I fear market fragmentation.
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