Jensen Huang, CEO of Nvidia, said in an interview with VentureBeat that he shaved Nvidia’s expectations for graphics and AI chip revenue in the current quarter because the coronavirus could affect the company’s supply chain.
Citing the coronavirus outbreak in China, Huang said the company is watching the situation closely. So the company shaved the revenue estimate for the first quarter out of caution. But he also said the effect is mitigated in part because a lot of Nvidia’s production (via contractors) is based in Taiwan.
A third of Nvidia’s gaming business is in China, and the lockdown on the country’s citizens means they aren’t going to be doing a lot of shopping, he said. But it may also mean that people will stay at home and play more games.
Because of the coronavirus, Nvidia and other companies pulled out of Mobile World Congress, the big mobile tech trade show in Barcelona, Spain. As a result, the organizers of MWC decided to pull the plug on the show.
For the fourth fiscal quarter ended January 26, Nvidia reported that it beat earnings expectations, with earnings per share more than doubling from a year ago and revenue growing 41% to $311 million.
Huang said that he was happy that Nvidia was working with Tencent on a cloud gaming service, but he said the transition to the cloud will be a long-term journey in gaming. The GeForce Now cloud gaming service has launched in the West with an open platform, with several hundred games available.
Huang said that Nvidia’s GeForce RTX graphics cards have now hit the sweet spot, with cards priced at $299. Huang said he is confident that PC gaming with RTX graphics, which have real-time ray tracing, will become more popular as the next-generation game consoles arrive this fall. Those consoles will have real-time ray tracing, and they will raise the bar for graphics, Huang said.
Meanwhile, he said AI is the “primary growth driver” for Nvidia, with record sales of datacenter graphics processing units (GPUs).