ATI and nVidia have shown that they consider mobile gaming important by announcing major steps forward in the field. Both companies seem to be engaged in a race to secure as many developers as possible on their platform, trying to get the edge over their rivals before their products even become commercially available. nVidia have released an extensive hand-held SDK for developers, promising to make everything easy, while ATI promise a way to easily port PC games to the mobile gaming platform, therefore opening the door for classic games to move to next-gen cell phones.
nVidia, announced it's Developer Program for hardware accelerated 3D applications on cell phones and other handheld devices and the immediate availability of the handheld software development kit (SDK). nVidia will work closely with game developers and middleware providers to drive the proliferation of 3D content onto the cell phone platform.
The nVidia handheld SDK is designed to allow established game developers access to its technology, familiarizing themselves with the architecture in order to take advantage of all the features of nVidia media processors, and to be able to bid for and secure development projects for nVidia-based cell phones.
The company's handheld SDK will include a library of code samples including but not limited to basic rendering, multitexture and atmospheric effects. It also includes a custom framework for handheld development in Microsoft Visual Studio.NET. Developers who join nVidia's handheld developer program will also have access to a variety of nVidia libraries including the Company's OpenGL ES driver library, fixed point math library and the nVidia DXT texture loading library. Participants will also receive the source code for nVidia's current handheld demos and have access to NVIDIA technical support. nVidia will be recruiting developers for its hand held developer program at the Game Developers Conference (GDC) in San Jose, Ca.
ATI, on the other hand announced a deal with QUALCOMM, world leader of Code Division Multiple Access (CDMA) digital wireless technology, to create the next-generation wireless 3D gaming platform. As part of the collaboration, QUALCOMM's industry-leading Mobile Station Modem (MSM) baseband solutions will include ATI's IMAGEON architecture to provide a fully featured, high-performance 3D gaming solution for 3G CDMA2000 and WCDMA (UMTS) devices.
QUALCOMM will license and integrate the IMAGEON technology for its next-generation MSM7xxx family of chipsets, and will enable ATI to interface IMAGEON Application Specific Integrated Circuits (ASICs) to QUALCOMM's MSM6xxx chipsets - providing QUALCOMM's manufacturing partners with a fully tested 3D multimedia hardware solution. This collaboration creates a rich 3D graphics and development environment which includes QUALCOMM's BREW solution, industry standard APIs, ATI's PC-level performance, and well established developer programs. This enables the development of value-added games for the mobile environment and easy porting to mobile devices, of some of the world's most popular PC and console-based games, resulting in new revenue generating opportunities for wireless operators and content providers.
Both graphics companies seem extremely eager to get their claws into the mobile gaming market and it's not surprising considering that IDC estimates that wireless gaming revenue could generate USD 1 billion by 2006 for wireless carriers in the United States alone.