Consoles can't match power of PCs, says Nvidia exec

SVP of content and technology Tony Tamasi says "it's no longer possible" for a console to match or exceed graphics capabilities of PC.

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Dedicated game consoles can no longer match the power of PCs for performance, Nvidia SVP of content and technology Tony Tamasi told PC PowerPlay in a new interview.

Tamasi said Nvidia spends about $1.5 billion per year on research and development into graphics, totaling around $10 billion over the course of a console's lifecycle. Platform holders like Microsoft and Sony simply cannot afford to spend that kind of money, Tamasi said.

"It's no longer possible for a console to be a better or more capable graphics platform than the PC," Tamasi said. "I'll tell you why. In the past, certainly with the first PlayStation and PS2, in that era there weren't really good graphics on the PC. Around the time of the PS2 is when 3D really started coming to the PC, but before that time 3D was the domain of Silicon Graphics and other 3D workstations. Sony, Sega, or Nintendo could invest in bringing 3D graphics to a consumer platform. In fact, the PS2 was faster than a PC."

"By the time of the Xbox 360 and PS3, the consoles were on par with the PC," he added. "If you look inside those boxes, they're both powered by graphics technology by AMD or NVIDIA, because by that time all the graphics innovation was being done by PC graphics companies."

The second reason why consoles can't match PC is because "everything is limited by power these days," Tamasi said, noting that faster machines require more efficient design or a bigger power supply.

"The most efficient architectures are from Nvidia and AMD, and you're not going to get anything that is significantly more power efficient in a console, as it's using the same core technology," Tamasi said. "Yet the consoles have power budgets of only 200 or 300 Watts, so they can put them in the living room, using small fans for cooling, yet run quietly and cool. And that's always going to be less capable than a PC, where we spend 250W just on the GPU. There's no way a 200W Xbox is going to be beat a 1000W PC."

Tamasi further explained that in the current market, "nobody can build anything bigger or more powerful than what is in the PC at the moment." He said in theory, an Xbox One or PlayStation 4 could be equal to what is possible on the best PC at the time, but this won't last.

"A year later it's going to be slower, and it still wouldn't be possible due to the power limits," Tamasi said.

Overall, Tamasi said PCs and consoles like the Xbox One and PS4 "look alike these days," pointing out that both next-generation consoles have an x86 CPU and a PC-style GPU. "It's a giant integrated graphics PC," he said.

This is a positive for the gaming landscape overall, Tamasi said. If developers are spending time optimizing for PS4 and Xbox One, then a "good portion" of that research will benefit the PC, because "they're basically doing PC architecture optimization," he said.

"It's good for everyone--the developers don't have all these crazy architectures they have to sort through. 80 percent of their work is now applicable to all platforms," Tamasi said. "It's great for gamers, as games can be better on all platforms. And it's great for PC, as there's less weird divergence between consoles and PC, which means a lot more leverage for devs to raise the bar. If there were technological reasons that games weren't ported to the PC in the past, there are a lot less of those reasons come next-gen."

Discussion

3726 comments
puppeteer
puppeteer

The argument of a game costing $60 for it ending quickly. Well go to a movie it's cost is easily $20+ for Movie ,Drink & popcorn 2 hours. A game $60 average single player game is 8-15 hours. that's still more entertainment for the dollar than what it costs to see a 1.5 to 2 hour movie.

get more entertainment per dollar for a video game than a movie.

puppeteer
puppeteer

Let's not forget PC is the reason Call of Duty is on console. PC is the Father of FPS game.

Twiztid-Maddox
Twiztid-Maddox

PC is only good for MMO's. Every good game coming to PC other than MMO's are also coming to consoles!

samdam3
samdam3

Well no fucking shit, but it's not that consoles can't match PC, they are built not to, because of the price, so it sells well, that's pretty much it.


I play on both PC and PS3, but for most online stuff I prefer PS3 as the online communities are way bigger for most games.

lfclee80
lfclee80

Depends on what Pc you have .

shreddyz
shreddyz

Another stellar job reporting by captain obvious.

Kooken58
Kooken58

I completly forgot about the whole power supply thing. Microsoft and Sony are limited to 300w? That is a pathetic amount, not even my video card can run on that low amount of watts.

lonesamurai1
lonesamurai1

Consoles are such limited boxes their awful for the wallet, I mean you spend $60.00 a game and it's over unless you BUY dlc and then that's over then do the same with the next game and again and again. Next Gen consoles release and all the money you spent on last gen is over with not much to show for it. The hardware dies in a couple of years and then if you want to play last gen again you BUY it on the dreaded horrible Xbox Store or PSN for what? $15.00 it's such a money grab. Console gamers talk about the price of building a quality PC, It's like they forget that it is a PC unlike a silly console you are free to do a million tasks on a PC there is no more open platform than PC. There are advancements in PC Gaming being done right now as I type, while next gen consoles are playing catch-up to PCs in every way I can load up a game from 15 or 20 years ago can you? wait I'll answer that NO!! Bottom line there is value in PC Gaming console gamers you upgrade when you want if that's every 3 or 4 years that's your choice and the advantage is at this point it while always look better than the upcoming consoles no matter when you choose to upgrade your PC hardware.

Rayjay864
Rayjay864

Hmmm lets see here, build a super computer for a couple of grand  and sit at a desk or have a precarious wireless keyboard/mouse set up in my living room...

Orrrr buy a system for 1/4th of the price, have a larger gaming library, sit my ass on a couch and control everything with my thumbs, drink beer and play games with my friends under the same roof....

I have no idea what is better?!?! F it....where is my tamagotchi.

Batmanager
Batmanager

Who cares?
PC's can't match the sortiment of console games. Games > graphics.

suren1998
suren1998

the thing is, more people prefer consoles, coz its gamer friendly, the console was a built around the focus of games. i know pc's are more powerful if u bother to buy a high end one but many people just love consoles, and thats not gonna change

mAniaCinBLACK
mAniaCinBLACK

First off I'd like to say what an interesting article I just read. Its almost all true except pc gaming wasn't as supported back then as it is now. Coming from the thoughts of a true gamer. I believe ones' natural will is to be free and then grows out of console gaming. The reason I most use my console, is for console exclusive titles. Such as, "Red Dead Redemption (although I wish it was on pc).' I'm not trying to be a fanboy but I dont think consoles should be #1 anymore simply because I have 16gb 2133mhz system ram an i7 and something  to the likes of a gtx titan. Imagine the possabilities. 

b09h
b09h

the only reason why consoles are more popular and has the majority of the market is because developers make more money on those systems. Its not because consoles are better, just look at how much more you pay for games on a console, there is your answer, you don't get the better deal, period. Most fanboys are too stubborn to realize their precious consoles are becoming more and more like pc. If people think this is all about graphics, then you are all a bunch of idiots.The entire xbox one fiasco was a huge wake up call, but fanboys will be fanboys

NaNoSQDX
NaNoSQDX

Yea yea i get it....I HAVE KNOWN THAT PC IS MORE POWERFUL AND WILL ALWAYS BE FROM THE START.....and yet....i am wayyyyyy more inclined to get what i pay for and not have to worry about "upgrading" or adding on to my console for 6 to 8 years. I have always had consoles to game on. since i first layed my 2 year old hands on a SNES. NEVER LOOKED BACK SINCE. I am 21 with a wife and a one year old.....i don't need to spend over 1,000 bucks just to have better graphics and have a mouse/keyboard. (controller feels waaayyyy better) and i still enjoy great exclusives and games that more people will play online than pc. (some games on PC are hella nice and awesome like starcraft) but i just don't see any REAL benefit to owning a PC FOR ME

KeviNOlighT
KeviNOlighT

I really liked the last three paragraphs, I was hoping for that on this new generation of consoles :).

JustWingin_IT
JustWingin_IT

Let's see, spend 400 on a ps4 and 500 on an xbox  one so I can get a few exclusives... or spend 900 dollars on one heck of PC and have different exclusives and eventually have them all... plus emulate all the systems of the past and have room to upgrade whenever I want...hmmmm

masta_js
masta_js

A Power pc don't mean crap for me if it doesn't have my favourite games on it. Besides i'm already use to my gaming community on playstation, i really enjoy everything about PS. As i can imagine PC guys do too with what they like on pc's.

hatieshorrer
hatieshorrer

Duh, the two next gen. consoles are still being built around a standard gaming PC.  Console gamers dont want to deal with the problems of gaming PCs.

chopsbenedict
chopsbenedict

Not interested in the forum fighting ive read below...my question is:  when is someone going to design and market a console for those of us (generally in the main game market anyway- males 25-30) who will spend more on a badass box than our badass TV?  there are certainly issues that would need to be overcome, dont get me wrong...but if i can spend $1,000 on a console every generation rather than $500 and have twice the power in it......I suppose what im driving at is that there is a market, albeit a smaller one, for upgraded versions of the current consoles that would essentially be game dedicated PCs for your TV

MrJskilet
MrJskilet

It's a true statement. But I bet you anything if Nvidia got the deal over AMD Nvidia would probably be saying that the "PS4 and Xbox One are very powerful".

Phatjam98
Phatjam98

I'm a hardcore PC gamer... But I love my 360.  There is one reason consoles own the game market these days.  A PC can be much more powerful than a console, however to get comparable graphics on a PC you have to spend 500-600 bucks to build a rig.  Why not just go pick up a console that costs half that and is still a very enjoyable experience on a TV in your living room?  I just built a new 4th gen i7 based monster to game and program on and it cost me a little over 1200, not including a video card(brought over my GTX 560 ti until I get some more cash to upgrade).  Sure it ROCKS and I can and will expand and add to it over the coming months and years.  But I would never spend that kind of money simply for a gaming PC when I can get a very nice enjoyable experience out of a console that costs a fraction of that.

Because I am a developer I have productivity reasons to justify spending that kind of money on a Rig.  So this dude states the obvious but ignores the reason consoles are king of gaming.  Don't you love one sided articles that don't inform at any level?

Leignheart
Leignheart

@Twiztid-Maddox your a real idiot, mmos are certainly not only good for mmos, which means your probably not a real gamer and just a world of warcraft nerd. you can not play quality strategy games on a console, they have tried many times and most are horrid failures, without pc you wouldn't have games like company of heroes, or the total war series, or many other great series of games because they cant be played well on consoles, that also goes for simulation games like airplane or train or whatever. your pretty ignorant to say only mmos are good on pc. wise up boy.

JustWingin_IT
JustWingin_IT

@lonesamurai1 Sound logic... Time for Sony and MS to do like Sega and focus their efforts on making great games, they are already using PC companies and parts to make watered down PC's (personal consoles) inside of mini cases, optimized for profits not performance, let Nintendo do the console thing, stop wasting time and resources and get the games out here...

Leignheart
Leignheart

@Rayjay864 you wont get a super computer for 2 grand, you will need a lot more, but you will build a very nice gaming machine for 2 grand, my pc is a super computer at 10k.

acrashingwave
acrashingwave

@Rayjay864 newsflash: there are controllers for pc also. and most tvs now have usb ports where you can plug a pc ...or laptop in, and with steam's big picture mode. gg.  the only advantage consoles have, which you hinted at, is simplicity.

Kooken58
Kooken58

@Rayjay864 Over exaggerating much? 700/800 dollars can get you a pretty fast machine overall...you save by being able to buy cheaper games, dont have to pay for xbox live or PSN. It may not be cheaper up front but in the long run it does save you money.

Leignheart
Leignheart

@suren1998 yes your right, consoles are built for idiots, just like apple products, I love consoles but they are vastly inferior to pcs, while I could live without all my consoles It would be very hard for me to give up the desktop.

Leignheart
Leignheart

@DrWonderEyes NVidia shield can be good for those who just wanna game on a couch. though I don't want it.

nemesis9632
nemesis9632

@b09h

I understand what you are trying to say however, you yourself are coming off as one of those PC fanboys unfortunately.

It is also a well known fact and does not have to be stated every single time PC's are mentioned, is that PC's will always surpass consoles shortly after the release of a new console.  WE ALL KNOW THIS

I am excited that consoles internal architecture is becoming more like a PC, this makes development of games (which everybody knows is done on a PC) a much smoother transition. The selection of games that I have enjoyed in the years of past, ones that have made my fondest memories in gaming, were games that would never see the light as a legitimate PC release, I mean you could emulate but there is always something lost in the experience.

What I am attempting to get at is that it will always boil down to the same argument us "true" fans of gaming have been trying to get across is that the platform on which you play is a preference and that what matters is the experience that you have with the game itself.

Leignheart
Leignheart

@NaNoSQDX okay well if you don't care about pc's or pc gaming, then why the hell are you on here telling us about it, go play your consoles and enjoy your life.

kylealan
kylealan

@NaNoSQDX Or maybe it's because you are 21 with a wife and kid that you can't afford it. I play my PC in my living room with a controller just like a console...I spent $750 two years ago and it is still a beast. I can upgrade if I want to (don't have to) and won't be stuck with an out-dated box. GIve it a try. You might end up never looking back. BTW I own a console too

aeterna789
aeterna789

@NaNoSQDX A $600-700 PC Build is enough to play most of the latest video game releases this year. You don't have to upgrade ever year and the capability of a PC to swap out its parts means that you don't have do discard the whole machine if one hardware breaksdown unlike what happens with consoles. As for the mouse and keyboard, well you do know that you can just plug in a 360 controller on a PC and play right?

Godokuno_Dan
Godokuno_Dan

Bullshit you knob. PC cant even emulate Sega's model 3 Arcade board games like Virtua Fighter 3 and Star WArs arcade, and those games are 16 years old. PC cant even emulate Original Xbox games like SHenmue 2, APnzer Dragoon Orta , or Ps2s.God of WAr.  PC has superior graphics but NO good exclusives, just nerd sh*t like Starcraft and WoW.   Lets see you play God Of WAr 3, Uncharted 2, or The Last of Us for PC, smart ass.

You cant. PCs are not for games. they are for business ,science and productivity.  A PC is not a toy.  Using a PC  tgo play games is like using a telescope to play whiffle ball.  

Ravenlore_basic
Ravenlore_basic

@chopsbenedict The problem is that Developers will only make games to sell to as many people as possible.  That is why most AAA games go to consoles.  Only a few companies make games for Wii, and a couplefor  High power PCs.

If a $800.00 Steam box can sell to more than 20 million people then it would have many games, that get more than graphic and Rez updates. 

midnitereaper
midnitereaper

@Phatjam98 yup in the same boat here.  I spend a good couple thousand on my pc's but I also use them for programming and graphics.  When I was younger and shelling out double the money on a pc compared to a ps or xbox was when I started to think that maybe I should do more with my pc than just play games!  I love pc and programming but hate gaming on them.  Always errors or downloading patches and forget just plugging in a mic and talking.  Console makes gaming easy, just turn it on and play.

santinegrete
santinegrete

@Phatjam98 yeah, makes me feel better with myself and the fact that I shell money on PS3 (still loving it).

kylealan
kylealan

@nemesis9632 @b09h These "Next-Gen'' systems can barely hit 1080p with more than 30fps. I think console gamers are in for a shock this time around IMO

Lpedraja2002
Lpedraja2002

@aeterna789 @NaNoSQDX I hate that "upgrade every year" fallacy.  If you're doing this then the only explanation is that you like to waste your money or that you're completely ignorant when it comes to hardware performance gain.

Lpedraja2002
Lpedraja2002

@Godokuno_Dan You keep writing can't like if a PC actually couldn't play those games ever.  You know the people who make emulators and the collaborators do it out of their free time and work on that extensive project for nothing or maybe slight donations?  It's not that PC's can't do it, its just that the programmers haven't found ways to successfully implement it or just got bored with the project and moved to something else.  

 PC's are for everything you need to use them for, gaming included.  

JustWingin_IT
JustWingin_IT

@Godokuno_Dan Considering most of the stated games in that list were most likely created on a PC I have a hard time with your logic... Emulating God of War? Lol that's easier than you think... God of War 3 you might be right can't say for sure... but PS2 games aren't a problem... Ya got Titanfall coming for PC and Xbox but the focus is on Xbox version, ya had Crysis3 for PC and consoles and focus was on PC version, the same companies make games for consoles that make them for PC and most likely on a PC... Wake up dude... The PC will do whatever you tell it to do if you know how to tell it...

Kooken58
Kooken58

@Godokuno_Dan Our exclusives are mods that keep games interesting and fun for much longer periods of time. Team Fortress 2, I bet nobody plays that game on the xbox anymore. Yet there are still 100,000s of players that play it daily on PC thanks to mods.

There are many exclusives. Many of them are also free and have tons of replay value, unlike the pick up and play once types of exclusives you mentioned there.

Leignheart
Leignheart

@Ravenlore_basic @chopsbenedict your a dope, almost all AAA games on consoles are on pc, and there are tons of game makers who make pc games only, you sound like someone who has zero experience with pcs. so wise up.