Japanese technology firm Digital Media Professionals said today that it is the designer of the graphics chip for Nintendo‘s 3DS, which stole the show last week when it was unveiled at the E3 video game conference.
The 3DS can display stereoscopic 3D images without requiring users to wear glasses. As such, it’s a technical marvel that could set Nintendo apart from the competition.
DMP’s design is called the PICA200. Founded in 2002, DMP creates graphics chip designs that it licenses to other companies to manufacture, using a business model that is similar to Imagination Technologies, which supplies graphics chip designs to Apple’s iPhone.
Nintendo has been experimenting with stereoscopic 3D for more than 15 years, dating back to its failed Virtual Boy experiment. DMP managed to beat out much bigger companies including Advanced Micro Devices, Imagination Technologies, Nvidia, and ARM. Nintendo selected DMP more than a year ago and has been testing it for some time, according to Jon Peddie Research. The chip combines both high-quality graphics, small size, and low power consumption. Earlier rumors suggested that Nintendo would use the Tegra chip from Nvidia.
Back in 2005, DMP chief executive Tatsuo Yamamoto described what he called the Ultray architecture for a graphics chip. It allows real-time photorealistic rendering with physically correct lighting and shadows. Translation: It can display cool 3D graphics, including details such as clouds, smoke, gas, and other fuzzy objects. It can render hair, skin and other cool effects.
“We had a very ambitious goal in the realization of naked-eye 3D stereo vision, and video game console style high quality graphics rendering, whilst maintaining low power consumption. I am delighted that we were able to contribute with ‘Maestro technology’, which we have developed over several years at DMP”, said Yamamoto, in a press release (in Japanese). Below is a video demo of DMP’s technology.