NVIDIA Acquires Game Porting Group & Tech From Transgamingby Ryan Smith on June 13, 2015 12:30 AM EST
While NVIDIA’s core businesses and gaming have been inseparable since the start, it’s only relatively recently that NVIDIA has become heavily involved in game creation itself, and not just supplying the hardware that games are played on. The launch of the company’s Tegra ARM SoCs, their SHIELD product lineup, and the overall poor state of the Android gaming market has led to the company investing rather significantly in bringing higher quality games over to SHIELD and Android devices. This has culminated in NVIDIA paying for the Android ports for a number of games, some of the most famous including the Android ports of Valve’s Half-Life 2 and Portal.
Meanwhile with the launch of the SHIELD Android TV, NVIDIA is essentially doubling-down on Android gaming as part of their efforts to become the premiere Android TV set top box. And now as part of those efforts, the company has announced that they are acquiring the Graphics & Portability Group (GPG) from game tool developer Transgaming.
Transgaming is best known for their work developing Cider, a WINE-derived Windows compatibility layer used to quickly port Windows games over to OS X. With the rise of Apple’s fortunes and the move to x86, Transgaming has been responsible for either directly porting or supplying Cider to developers to bring a number of Windows games over to OS X. However in a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it moment, back in March of this year the company announced that they were also going to get in to using their technology and expertise to port games over to architectures, partnering with NVIDIA to bring Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance to SHIELD Android TV.
NVIDIA's SHIELD Console: The Reason For The Acquisition
Now just 3 months later NVIDIA is acquiring the GPG outright from Transgaming. This acquisition will see the group open a new office in Toronto, while structurally they are folded into the NVIDIA GameWorks division. And although NVIDIA doesn't state what precisely they intend to do with the group and its technology beyond the fact that the “acquisition will enrich our GameWorks effort,” it’s a safe bet that NVIDIA intends to do more game ports for their SHIELD devices. Given their existing (if short) relationship, the acquisition is not too surprising, however it is a bit interesting since the bulk of the group’s experience is with porting games among different x86 OSes, not porting games to new architectures entirely.
As for Transgaming, having sold the GPG to NVIDIA, the company has retained their SwiftShader (software 3D rendering) technology and their GameTree TV business. Transgaming has indicated that they are going to focus on providing apps for the Smart TV market, which they see as a greater growth opportunity than porting games.
Games Published By Transgaming GPG On the Mac App Store
Finally, while this acquisition will undoubtedly be a big deal for NVIDIA’s efforts to bring more major games to SHIELD, perhaps the more profound ramifications of this deal will be what it means for Mac gaming. Though NVIDIA doesn’t definitively state what they will be doing with Cider, the fact that they have their own platform to worry about certainly gives pause for thought. There are a large number of games that have received native Mac ports over the years, but Cider has still been used in everything from Metal Gear Solid to EVE Online. If Cider becomes unavailable to developers, then this may cut down on the number of Windows games that get ported to OS X, especially those games where marginal sales may make a native port impractical. In either case with this acquisition NVIDIA seems to have co-opted a lot of the technology and relationships behind Mac game porting, which should be a boon for their SHIELD platform.
Source: Transgaming (via Beyond3D)
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WorldWithoutMadness - Saturday, June 13, 2015 - linkNow, If you were to port old games like Uncharted Waters from Koei or Sid Meier's oldies. I'm pretty much sold!
StevoLincolnite - Monday, June 15, 2015 - linkI bought a cheap chinese 7" 720P "gamepad" with a Rockchip+Mali 400 soc, 2Gb of ram and... Dual analogue sticks etc'.
I am running Windows DOS based games like Master of Orion 2, Dungeon Keeper, Sid Meier's Civilization...
Shame I cannot get a similar device that runs a full-blown copy of Windows, I would be all over that like flies to poop... All those Windows games!
Peichen - Monday, June 15, 2015 - linkYes, Uncharted Waters: New Horizons aka Daikoukai Jidai II, the best game ever.
chizow - Saturday, June 13, 2015 - linkThis makes complete sense. Android gaming wasn't progressing as Nvidia would've liked even though they've put quite a bit of resources into it before (Tegra/Shield Zone), so they figure they will have to do the heavy lifting like they did with Portal and HL2.
Also starts tying into their GameWorks efforts. It makes you wonder how long it will be before they start looking at 1st party titles on any one of their gaming platforms (PC, Android, GRID streaming).
prieye - Saturday, June 13, 2015 - linkIt's completely non-sense from the get-go with Tegra/Shield crap. Why Nvidia goes through all the trouble to port old/low-quality/out-dated PC games and Android games that designed for mobile to Shield crap. Isn't Ouya and many cheap chinese STB already done that?
Isn't much easier to ask Intel or AMD for a helping hand with their low power/cost APU and put it in mini-box or mini-PC, then call it something like mini-Shield. In that way, not PC games port necessary, Android ready, streaming, run Win10, linux, productives work, and many more. And it probably end up a lot cheaper that Tegra/Shield crap.
chizow - Saturday, June 13, 2015 - linkYes you obviously don't get it. Nvidia doesn't want to rely on AMD or Intel as that defeats the entire purpose of creating their own platform. The fastest/easiest way to get there was to use Android, but Android's gaming ecosystem is devoid of traditional gaming titles, its flash/mobile games. They want to bridge this gap and Android/Shield provides them the platform to do this, as they can leverage both their existing PC dominance with GameStream, while offering a new feature and revenue source with GRID streaming, with the 3rd avenue they need to develop which is native Android gaming.
You can buy a Shield Android TV that comes with EVERYTHING you need for $200 that offers far more than you can with anything Intel/AMD based, even a Celeron based NUC, I know this for a fact because I've actually built one. The best value you'll find is something like the Alienware Alpha but that starts at $400 with a coupon discount.
TheJian - Sunday, June 14, 2015 - linkMost games haven't sold >20mil units total (most far below this, even popular titles), and there are a BILLION users on mobile. This should be simple math for you. Nearly a billion people have probably never played some of the greatest games of all time and a LOT of them aged quite well and run great on android today (especially as everyone moves to 14nm and X1 level gpus, or at worst 10nm Q1 2017+). Shortly you will have a billion+ users capable of running games without much optimization effort on these devices.
Even if NV makes their ports TEGRA only for say a year, then allows others to get them as 10nm comes (for example) they can still easily make back whatever they invest now to push their shield/grid platform devices (and a cheaper platform for GPU discrete sales). The whole point IMHO is to get a huge catalog over there to at some point put out a 50-100w soc in a FULL PC like box with options for discrete NV cards. NO WINTEL at all, and running Vulkan etc games. They will be able to charge a mild premium for their socs then, but seriously undercut Intel/AMD and sell more gpus to a market that can't afford the INTEL/WINDOWS fees. At some point along the way in android's life we'll see REAL apps follow the game devs over to android 64bit and then the full fruits of this "Android/Linux PC BOX" come to life. Developing countries (and everyone else) would be able to buy the full PC box like experience with no $100 windows fee and no Intel $200-350 chip fee (drop this from $50-200 for low to high-end instead of $100-350). NV isn't alone in coming for this box either, just in the best position with the gpu side for top end gaming already covered.
This would not have been possible just 5-10yrs ago (look at linux, no UNITS so no devs). With the success of android and now Vulkan coming up (and new engines easily ported, and valve doing the legwork on linux ports massively) you have a perfect opportunity to migrate from mobile to full desktop with all the fun you'd expect in a PC experience but without the $200+ premium for a WINTEL box. They are going to do on android what LINUX versions on a WINTEL box couldn't do themselves. The sheer unit sales of 1.5B+ on mobile (and growing) yearly already have gotten 1/2 of the devs to commit already. See GDC 2014/2015 surveys, only PC tops mobile and BARELY, consoles are FAR behind mobile/pc support. So we'll have two competing platforms soon (apple will just remain where they are, ~10% of PC, but even they are trying to DROP Intel).
I'm sure NV and the rest of ARM soc vendors wouldn't mind taking a chunk of Intel's $60B revenue and charging $150-200 for top end 50-100w socs, at least for a while until they control more share and up the price...LOL. They have a LOT of friends helping out here too. Google, Samsung, Valve (hates windows/directX), Qcom, ARM etc (all pushing android/linux & ARM in some way), not to mention game devs who like easy porting. You could have a box with 3-4 free operating systems in a multi-boot giving the user a ton of software options on ARM's side. Think SteamOS (ported to arm), Linux (pick one, Ubuntu?), Android etc on one box with all the software they bring and with discrete cards from NV is desired. Nvidia will of course try to push gameworks titles as much as possible all along the way to differentiate their products from the rest of ARM's armada.
2300+ steamos+linux games. Again growing fast.
Was a mere 700 ~1yr ago..WOW.
One more link, basically laying out what I'm saying. Valve laying the groundwork for new platform. GABE is a long term thinker (so is Jen Hsun). Check out Frozenbyte's comments etc.
Linux up from 200 games just a few years ago and everyone thought it was stupid then (now top titles coming on it, witcher 3, wasteland2, AOW3 etc). Do the same thing on android for the most popular games from any other platform (console/pc etc) and you can have a very desirable box right? NV just needs to port every popular game they can as fast as they can while making sure to break even or so, then let the market take over making new IP on unreal4/unity5 etc that fully uses their hardware.
You don't seem to get the BIG picture. Think 5-10yrs out. Cuda might have seemed stupid in year ONE also. But 8yrs later they own 80% of the workstation market, are in 200+ major apps, taught in 500+ universities etc and has led to major profits for NV over that time (while AMD lost $7B in the last 15yrs, 6 of it in the last 12yrs). OpenCL is light-years behind.
One more point, ouya etc is MILES behind X1, which is 2x faster than xbox360/ps3 basically overall. The quality of games that will be made to FULLY take advantage of X1 and forward (14nm version coming in mere months for xmas stuff) will blow away old Xbox360/ps3 titles. Port like mad until everyone amps up some more and you are selling 1B+ units that are ALL far more powerful than xbox360/ps3. Think about the next gen using HBM for this Billion+ units. It's a 10-15yr plan to destroy WINTEL, not nonsense. The boxes you're talking about don't have much of a gaming experience which is why they're basically dead (ouya being sold off, can't survive).
prieye - Sunday, June 14, 2015 - linkMake your wall of text summary....As node shrink (<10nm + HBM), there isn't a needed for the Shield device or platform, as high-end x86 SoC no longer handicapped in power limitation. Think of PS5/XB-two can fixed in a tablet, mini-box or even smartphone. Why port when PC, Consoles, Android, Linux game and many can run native?
Cuda was great as proprietary, but that was history. Today, I can't find a single Nvidia GPU in the world most popular company, APPLE. The last time I looked, the world greenest super computer, isn't have any of Nvida product in it. And, the world most powerful GPU in single/double precision isn't make by NV.
Speaking of history....here is some achievement regrading Tegra SoC.
...Tegra was entered smartphone market then called it quits after a few years
...Tegra made noise in WindowsRT then silently exited without explanation.
...Tegra + Icera combo promised to unseat Snapdragon then JHH shutted it down called it quits
...Tegra again made noise in Google Tango Project then called it quits
...Now again, Tegra is making noise with the Shield platform...You see the patterns here....will call it quits and let poor customers holding a bag.
Ranger101 - Tuesday, June 16, 2015 - linkEverything Nvidia does would make complete sense to those who are paid by them.
jjj - Saturday, June 13, 2015 - linkNot very sure your assumptions about this are correct.
Nvidia is selling next to nothing in mobile and right now it seems that TX1 is too hot for even tabs. The TV box won't sell well at all and Nvidia seems to have given up on Android outside cars for at least the next few years.
Now if this is to port games for w/e they are using for GRID or for a Linux on ARM desktop OS ( guess that one could even be Android based), it would seem more likely.