December 8, 2004 – Sony Computer Entertainment Inc. (SCEI) and US chipmaker NVIDIA Corp. said Tuesday they are jointly developing a custom graphics processor for SCEI’s successor to the “PlayStation 2” game machine. The collaboration is under a broad, multiyear and royalty-bearing agreement, the companies said, according to the Nihon Keizai Shimbun.
“We will first use the processor for our next-generation computer entertainment system,” said a spokeswoman at SCEI, a game business unit of Sony Corp. The chip may also be used in Sony’s other digital consumer electronics products, she added.
SCEI has yet to reveal when it will introduce its new game machine, dubbed “PlayStation 3,” or “PS3,” by the media. Analysts expect SCEI to launch the machine around spring 2006.
“Our collaboration includes not only the chip development but also a variety of graphics development tools and middleware,” Sony executive deputy president Ken Kutaragi said in a statement.
The custom chip is the graphics and image processing foundation for a broad range of applications from computer entertainment to broadband applications. The graphics processor will be manufactured at Sony’s Nagasaki chip factory in southern Japan, as well as at a fabrication facility jointly operated by Sony and Toshiba Corp. in Oita, southern Japan.
SCEI has already said the new game machine would use as a central processing unit a powerful microchip called “CELL,” which Sony, Toshiba, and IBM are jointly developing.