2016 may well go down as the year VR finally takes off for real. Sony and Microsoft have both been making progress towards VR and augmented reality while Oculus and HTC are set to launch the Rift and Vive respectively. Given the efforts and lengths AMD has gone to push VR, it should come to no surprise that a report has revealed that the company has a massive 83% lead in providing the hardware for VR capable systems.
Hardware wise, it is not surprising to see the lead over Nvidia. While PC hardware is a large segment of the VR market, only higher end systems are capable of producing the frames necessary for VR at 90fps and enough resolution for both eyes. Because of this, the PS4 is a viable candidate for VR adoption and with the APU inside it being AMD, Nvidia stands no chance in terms of sheer hardware market share for VR.
As noted many times during the Capsaicin event, AMD has been working with many developers in both gaming and other forms of media with LiquidVR and GPUOpen. AMD has also been on the forefront with developments like VR cafes and partnering with Oculus and HTC to ensure that the Rift and Vive work seamlessly with Radeon. There is even a Radeon VR Ready Premium program to ensure consumers are informed.
With the VR market still in it’s growing stages, AMD has seen an opportunity to get in before it’s competitors have a chance and secure a bastion of developer support and integration. Considering the price of VR capable hardware, AMD stands a good chance to reap a windfall when VR takes off. This can only bode well for AMD as for once they are ahead and hopefully will be able to leverage their position to help the rest of their business grow.
JPR is reporting that Nvidia is growing its lead over rival AMD in shipping discrete GPUs. The Q1 2015 data showed Nvidia continuing to show dominance, snatching up 77.5% of all discrete GPUs shipped. That’s significantly higher than AMD which is sitting at 22.5%, meaning for every 40 GPUs sold, only 9 are AMD, the other 31 are Nvidia. This spells continued trouble for AMD as the firm only just recently held 35% share last year but had slipped to 24% already last quarter. Nvidia has managed to grow from 64.9% in the same time frame.
One of the key reasons for Nvidia’s grow is the release of its latest generation Maxwell architecture cards. The GTX 980 and 970 among others have helped boost sales as owners of previous generations have done their upgrades. On the other side, AMD has largely been selling cards launched back in 2014 or earlier, in some cases rebrands that are based on cards from 2013. This has not helped things along as fans of the Red Team haven’t been offered new stock that might spur upgrades. One bright spot for AMD is that they appear to be on the cusp of launching their new Rx 300 series of GPUs. Combined with new HBM technology, AMD has a chance to strike back and reclaim its much needed lost ground.
One sobering note for both firms is the continued decline of overall GPU shipments. The whole GPU market has shrunk by about 19.4% in shipments, meaning they are struggling against each other for a slice of an ever smaller pie. While this can partly be explained by AMD fans holding back, the real killer is the improving integrated graphics solutions offered by Intel and AMD. As more and more casual gaming can be done without discrete cards, one wonders if one day, all gaming can be done with integrated graphics and what that will mean for AMD and Nvidia.