Just yesterday we’d reported on an interview Forbes had with AMD’s Robert Hallock where he’d mentioned Nvidia’s GameWorks is harmful to the PC gaming marketplace as a whole. There were numerous reasons cited, including the lack of optimization on GPU’s that weren’t from Nvidia (in other words, Intel or AMD graphics performance suffers) and also exclusive effects.
John McDonald, a former Nvidia employee went on the offensive on Twitter, claiming “…that in the six years I was in devtech I*never*, not a single time, asked a developer to deny title access to AMD or to remove things that were beneficial to AMD.”
RedGamingTech reached out to AMD’s Robert Hallock in an attempt to clear this up. Robert said “Rather than play “he said, she said,” I’m going to point you to the comments of three game developers that confirm the “black box” or “secretive” nature of Gameworks”
He then provided a few links to various developers from Ubisoft and DICE.
Bart Wronski starts off by saying “still,if nvidia keeps secrecy they will shoot themselves in their feet… libraries and dlls with only parameters to pass,no source code.Intel is much better!”
Johan Andersson responds by saying “Nvidia has lost huge amount of respect w/ the unusable black box GameWorks”
Michael Drobot then says “can’t understand a $$$ model-pay to hack games with ‘features’-blasphemy;)”
This does back up some of what Robert said during the Forbes interview, and additionally the frustrations of many gamer’s over technology such as Hardware Physx. It’s a tricky situation – do you go ahead and give rivals (AMD) access to your technology (Hardware Physx) so it takes away one of the selling points of your cards? Well, from that point of view, it’s hard to say yes – but from the point of view of the good of the PC platform, the answer is yes. It means we’d actually get more titles using Nvidia’s hardware Physx – of course much of this would still be then down to AMD to figure out how their technology would work with their drivers – which likely wouldn’t be completely simple.
AMD’s TressFX does work on Nvidia graphics cards, despite initial performance issues Nvidia’s drivers have improved so users are no longer experiencing a large performance penalty for using GeForce GPUs. Despite this, Nvidia are not willing to embraced AMD’s Mantle API and instead are focusing their attentions on low level GPU access and optimisation, through OpenGL and Microsoft’s DirectX 12 APIs.
Either way, Nvidia’s GameWorks is great for Nvidia owners – as they get extra effects, but it also isn’t so great for AMD owners or likely the platform as a whole. It’s a very tricky situation, and with DX12 being a ‘lower level’ API it also means that in theory there’s a greater scope for optimization on a single platform, which is somewhat worrying.