As nVidia has decided to cause a big fuss over its deal with Sony on the PS3, some details regarding the timing have come up which are not doing the graphics giant any favors, even though nVidia shares rose sharply following the announcement.
The first piece of news to surface, following the announcement, has to do with the timing of the PS3 launch and confirms suspicions that no PS3 will appear until we are well into 2006.
The details confirm that PlayStation 3 will appear in Japan in spring 2006 while the U.S. will get its dose of Cell in fall 2006 with Europe likely to to have it by holiday 2005 or Q1, 2006. This also means that nVidia's boards which will support the PS3 are unlikely to appear before then.
As all this was happening, Microsoft announced that its developer's kits for XBox 2 are on schedule to be delivered by Q1, 2005. What this means is that MS must already have the units and testing has to be under way. As we do know that the new kit will finally include a R500 rather than the current 9800, this, in turn, means that R500 development is almost done.
Most people have had their fun with the fact that Microsoft developer's kits are based on Mac G5's but you can't help but wander if this time round Microsoft's console may make it since it will be based on a RISC CPU and not on Intel x64 architecture.
The whole point of the new kits is the change of the graphics card, as it will allow developers to work with SM 3.0 and other nifty tricks which the 9800 does not support. So this may give ATI a, short-term at least, advantage over its rival, unless nVidia has some secret up its sleeve.
The next generation console wars are likely to spill over into the graphics war since cell support and the R500 are potential hotbeds of competition between all parties involved. Things are going to get far more interesting very soon.