AMD GPUs could power all three next-gen consoles


— 2:10 PM on July 11, 2011

Even today, AMD enjoys a rather privileged position in the console world, with its graphics processors powering two of the three current-gen consoles—Microsoft's Xbox 360 and Nintendo's Wii. As it turns out, AMD might end up with fingers in even more pies come the next generation. We already know the Wii U will be Radeon-based; HardOCP now reports that Microsoft's and Sony's next consoles will also feature AMD graphics.

Neither Microsoft nor Sony has gone on the record to elucidate the matter quite yet, but HardOCP received purportedly reliable intel from tipsters roaming the halls of the Electronic Entertainment Expo last week. Based on their information, the site says AMD's future console dominance is already a "done deal." There will be room for Nvidia, but only in the handheld space, where its Tegra 2 system-on-a-chip lacks a direct competitor from the AMD camp. (Future Fusion APUs might do a decent job in tablets, but I doubt they'll be able to squeeze into something like a Nintendo DS or PSP.)

AMD might even score a win on the microprocessor side of things with the next PlayStation, HardOCP says, although IBM could just as well retain its current dominance. All three of today's major consoles are packing Power-based processors—even the PlayStation 3, whose Cell chip has a PowerPC component sharing die space with SPE co-processors.

Now, when can we expect the next Sony and Microsoft consoles? A DigiTimes story posted earlier this month suggests PlayStation 4 production will kick off "at the end of 2011" in preparation for a launch some time in 2012. The picture seems a touch murkier on the Xbox front, though Boy Genius Report received word last month that Microsoft plans to unveil its new console at E3 2012. That doesn't tell us when the device will be out, but I do recall Microsoft officially unveiling the original Xbox 360 about six months before the retail release.

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