It’s Computex week, which means one thing: it’s time to talk tech. Computex is the largest technology trade show and vendor conference in the world, running for five days across various buildings, conference halls, VIP rooms and hotel suites throughout Taipei, Taiwan.
But this week’s particularly important for gamers, because it marks the launch of the first generation of graphics cards on new manufacturing process. For NVIDIA, that means talking about Pascal. And for it’s CEO Jen-Hsun Huang, that means talking about PC games.
At the GPU giant’s regular pre-Computex press briefing — Computex proper doesn’t start until tomorrow — Jen-Hsun Huang praised the Maxwell generation of GPUs for being the most successful in the company’s history. The GPUs helped NVIDIA’s gaming business double over three years, according to the NVIDIA chief executive and co-founder.
“PC gaming has really flourished,” Huang told the room full of journalists. “It’s not just gaming anymore. It’s also sports, spectator sports.”
NVIDIA focus is largely concentrating around high-performance products for three pillars: PC gaming, virtual reality, and artificial intelligence. The latter was the topic that the GPU maker — or manufacturer of computers, as Huang kept stressing — was most excited about.
“It came together about 4 years ago, about 4-5 years ago, when some researchers took advantage of our GPUs … to make it possible to use this enormous amount of data to create a computer that writes its own software,” Huang went on.
It’s a grand vision and the NVIDIA CEO mentioned a few times about how the company could best make a contribution to society — largely through self-driving cars and a reduction in road accidents. But the more intriguing element for gamers, apart from the jump in performance from the Maxwell generation to Pascal, is Project Ansel.
“The other thing we did was to recognise that video games are so beautiful, and there are so many people who are using their video games as a way to express and tell their story. It’s a form of art, we call it in-game art.”
Ansel currently only supports a handful of games, but Huang said in a Q&A afterwards that he was very proud of the API NVIDIA’s engineers had created. Certain features will have to be hardcoded into their games, however — such as a free-camera mode — although there was no timeframe on how long it would be before NVIDIA’s in-game photography suite was more widely supported.
The CEO finished with a rallying cry to PC gamers, emphasising it was one of the core pillars of NVIDIA’s business. “Video games for PCs is larger than it’s ever been before; I believe video games isn’t just about playing games, it’s also an art form,” he said.
“So people who don’t play video games can use this art form to enjoy the video games, expanding the size of the market. I believe these things simultaneously, and video games becoming more beautiful, not to mention VR, all of these things simultaneously is going to make Pascal the most successful generation we have ever done.”
The author travelled to Computex 2016 as a guest of Intel.