AMD ships 50 millionth Wii GPU

Written by Ben Hardwidge

March 11, 2009 | 16:44

Tags: #50 #chip #gpu #hollywood #million #millionth #sold #wii

Companies: #amd #ati #nintendo

With its unfortunate moniker and so-so graphics, not to mention the disappointing sales of the GameCube, many people laughed at Nintendo’s Wii when it first surfaced, but the diminutive console has turned out to be the a major success story in the gaming business. So much so, in fact, that AMD has just announced that it’s shipped the 50 millionth ‘Hollywood’ GPU for the console.

In January, Nintendo confirmed that it had sold 44.96 million Wii consoles since its launch, and it looks as though this is going to hit the 50 million mark very shortly. AMD also pointed out that “with 50 million units delivered, the ATI graphics processor code-named ‘Hollywood’ becomes the most successful AMD game console chip to date in terms of unit sales.” ATI also produced the Flipper chip inside the Nintendo GameCube, as well as the Xenos GPU in the Xbox 360, which was the first gaming GPU to feature a unified shader architecture.

However, it looks as though the serious volume sales have come from the lowly graphics chip in the Wii. Commenting on the shipping of the 50 millionth Hollywood chip, AMD’s senior vice president and general manager, Rick Bergman, said that AMD was “proud to provide the ATI ‘Hollywood’ chip as the cool and quiet graphics engine that factors so prominently in the overall enjoyment for Wii owners. AMD counts Nintendo as a valued customer and we continue to work together to make console entertainment a growing phenomenon worldwide.”

Meanwhile, Nintendo’s general manager of integreated research and development, Genyo Takeda, confirmed that “Nintendo values its ongoing relationship with AMD.” He added that “AMD’s graphics technology expertise as displayed in the ATI ‘Hollywood’ chip is a great part of the momentum of Wii. Our combined efforts help deliver entertaining experiences to create many smiling faces in living rooms around the world.”

Although Nintendo has successfully blocked any concrete information from being leaked about the specifications of the ATI Hollywood chip, the graphics on even top-end Wii titles suggest that it’s not much more powerful than the GameCube’s Flipper GPU. What’s more, a patent filed by Nintendo in 2006 recently revealed that even the Wii controller was originally supposed to be a GameCube add-on, but later became the focus-point of the new console.

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