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PC gaming is experiencing the beginning of a multi-year growth cycle as gamers migrate to the PC, Nvidia chief executive Jen-Hsun Huang said today in an earnings call. The cause? Better graphics than the aging five-year-old game consoles.
The high-end desktop graphics processing unit (GPU) revenue was higher than expected at $644.8 million of Nvidia’s total quarterly revenue of $1.07 billion. Nvidia’s high-end desktop business benefited from strong demand as gamers upgraded their computers to play Battlefield 3 and Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. Battlefield 3, which was designed for high-end PCs rather than the consoles, is one of the best-looking titles being released this fall, and it will compete with some of the top games of the holiday season for gamers’ attention.
As we noted earlier, it’s quite possible that Battlefield 3 will sell some high-end PC hardware. Valve’s Steam product, a digital distribution service, recently conducted a survey of gamers. It found that only 16 percent of its customers have computers capable of running Battlefield 3 at the recommended hardware specification, which requires an Nvidia graphics chip at the level of the GTX 460 or better.
Nvidia believes a new cycle of revival for PC gaming products is at hand because the PC’s graphics are racing ahead of the five or six-year-old game consoles on the market.
Nvidia also launched a new version of its 3D Vision stereoscopic 3D glasses during the quarter. Today, about 550 PC games are 3D Vision ready. There are 100 3D-ready movies as well, and many 3D photos and 3D videos on sites such as YouTube.
“This is likely to be a multi-year cycle driven by advances in PC games,” Huang said in a conference call with analysts.