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Apple's bionic ARM to muscle advanced gaming graphics into iPhones

post #1 of 47
Thread Starter 
The next generation of iPhone appears set to claim exclusive access to advanced graphics core and video decoding technology, thanks to a secret licensing deal between Apple, mobile graphics leader Imagination Technologies, and Samsung, the iPhone's ARM "system on a chip" manufacturer. The result may be an ideal platform for handheld gaming and high definition video playback.

Imagination's New 3D SGX Core

The current iPhone model and most other mobile devices use a version of the PowerVR MBX graphics processor core developed by Imagination. Mobile processor manufacturers such as Intel, Marvell, Samsung, and Texas Instruments have licensed this core and include it on their SoC or "system on a chip" designs, which pack multiple processing cores, memory, and interface components into a single, tightly integrated package.

The PowerVR MBX graphics core used in Apple's iPhone, the Nokia N95, and other popular phones supports the features of OpenGL ES 1.1. Many mobile chip manufactures have a design license to modify and develop their own SoC parts, which include Imagination's MBX graphics core.

Imagination's next generation graphics core, the PowerVR SGX, introduces OpenGL ES 2.0 support, along with a Universal Scalable Shader Engine that provides mobile devices with highly efficient, shader-based 3D graphics. SGX is not only backwards compatible with code developed for MBX, but also actually runs it with better performance and efficiency.

HD Video with the PowerVR VXD Core

Imagination has also developed VXD decoder codec components capable of playing back high definition video from a mobile device either directly or output to an external display.

The VXD core specializes in highly power efficient decoding, making it possible to handle HD video content with comparable power consumption to existing audio playback chips.

Imagination licenses both its VXD codec cores and the new SGX graphics processor core designs to chip manufacturers, but access to the latest generation of its intellectual property has been negotiated in a new way.

Samsung's Manufacturing License for SGX and VXD

In a press release issued earlier today, Imagination announced signed a licence agreement with Samsung "with respect to certain POWERVR SGX graphics and VXD video IP cores."

The release noted that the license "enables Samsung to manufacture semiconductor devices which integrate these IP cores from Imagination." According to a source familiar with the agreement, this deal is unique in that it is only a manfacturing licence, and is the first time Imagination has issued one on such terms.

The source reports that Samsung does not have a license to design chips that include the cores, only to produce them. This is different from previous licensing agreements related to the MBX graphics core, for which Samsung does have a design license.

The Mysterious Licensee

Last July, Imagination announced a deal to license its "next generation graphics and video IP cores to an international electronics systems company under a multi-use licensing agreement." The electronics system company was not named.

The release stated that "the SoCs to be developed under this license agreement will be produced for this new partner by Imaginations existing semiconductor partners and/or new chip manufacturing partners."

The fact that this "electronics system company" was both a "new partner" and not itself a chip manufacturer strongly suggests that the international electronics mystery company was in fact, Apple, Inc., which stands among very few other companies as new to mobile graphics core licensing yet dependent upon third party manufacturers who are already Imagination partners.

Combined with knowledge that Samsung is now licensing the next generation SGX and VXD designs for manufacturing, this indicates that Apple has secured unique Imagination technology for its own exclusive use, and is using Samsung to manufacture the new SoC parts for future models.

On page 2 of 2: PA Semi Brings Custom SoC Expertise In House; Graphics are for Gaming.

PA Semi Brings Custom SoC Expertise In House

This also helps explain why Apple recently acquired a fabless chip design company. As a recent article indicated, Apple wanted to expand its in house chip design expertise. The company is taking on its own mobile processor designs that incorporate the latest graphics technology and pairing these with the most appropriate processor cores.

As illustrated in the past, that currently means the use of processors based on the ARM architecture. But the door is open for Apple to incorporate future versions of Intel's Atom line of mobile processors, which also incorporate Imagination's PowerVR graphics cores.

By licensing Imagination's graphics technology directly, Apple can keep itself flexible to adopt any mobile processor architecture while retaining a competitive edge in graphics performance. The processor agnostic design of OS X allows Apple to outmaneuver existing mobile operating systems, which are often closely tied to specific hardware.

Custom chip development is nothing new at Apple. By gaining access to exclusive new generations of mobile graphics technology, Apple can differentiate its products from other smartphones and mobile Internet devices with an edge in performance while offering full support for industry standard OpenGL ES graphics.

Graphics are for Gaming

Apple's push to build a consumer friendly App Store to deliver mobile applications on demand, combined with the reality that games are a top draw in mobile software products and Apple's recent moves in acquiring custom chip development expertise add up to a new gaming strategy.

Interestingly, the iPhone and iPod touch already exceed the performance of existing handheld gaming devices such as the Nintendo DS and Sony PlayStation Portable.

A flight simulator game demonstrated at Apple's March iPhone roadmap event.

Of the half dozen new iPhone applications Apple demonstrated at its SDK unveiling, half were video games. Artificial Life, Aspyr, Electronic Arts, Feral Interactive, Freeverse, Gameloft, id Software, Pangea, THQ, and Namco Bandai have all confirmed an intent to deliver games for the platform, with Gameloft announcing plans for fifteen titles by the end of the year.

By commoditizing mobile video gaming into the powerhouse that is iTunes, Apple can team its new smartphone and WiFi mobile platform business with the high volume software sales related to gaming. Apple quietly began developing its downloadable gaming business for the iPod in 2005, and earlier this year released a signed software platform for the iPhone and iPod touch that follows the business models of existing video game consoles developed by Nintendo and duplicated by Sony and Microsoft.
post #2 of 47
5 years from now, perhaps, the rest of the industry will grasp what has happened, and again attempt to copy Apple.

Get your stock while you can. sweet mercy.
post #3 of 47
I refer you to something I said at Mac Rumors a while back ..

http://forums.macrumors.com/showpost...0&postcount=87

Quote:
Normally I don't post as someone usually mentions what I want to say .. but not this time.

As a hard core gamer I think you're all missing a bit of the bigger picture .. I have a 24" iMac, which I bought a couple of months ago. I love OSX but I still use bootcamp for WinXP. Why? To play games. What games do I play? Anything on Steam. What's Steam? It's an online gaming distribution platform for games like Half-Life 2, Call of Duty 4, Quake Wars and the number of games on it is increasing all the time.

Now, we've already read that Apple have approached Valve (The owners of Steam) on more than one occasion to ask them to develop Steam for the Mac platform. I believe a figure of 1 million was mentioned. Apple didn't want to play. But hang on a minute, doesn't Apple already have an distribution platform of their own? Which could be used for gaming? Yes, it's called iTunes!!

If Apple really wanted to get into games on the Mac, it really wouldn't take much. They just need to get developers on board, which haven't they already done with id and EA. Increase the number, add to iTunes and away they go!!

Oh, and improve the gfx hardware a little bit too

I think once Apple get into Mobile delivery of games .. it will only be a short amount of time when they start to look at the Mac platforms too
post #4 of 47
Oh .. and I include Apple TV within "Mac platforms" by the way .. before anyone asks
post #5 of 47
"Imagination announced a deal to license its 'next generation graphics and video IP cores to an international electronics systems company under a multi-use licensing agreement.' "

Granted, evidence does suggest that Apple may have licensed the technology. However, the article says that Apple has an exclusive license. I haven't had a chance to read all of the many links in the article, but where is the evidence that this is an exclusive deal?
post #6 of 47
I've literally been waiting years for 2 things. One is the ARM Cortex-A8, the successor to the ARM11. The other is the PowerVR SGX. I thought the best thing Apple could do was contract Texas Instruments for their next-gen OMAP3 application processors, since TI seems to be the most invested in the A8/SGX platform. What a masterstroke it would be if Apple could create an exclusive platform that outperformed the OMAP3!
post #7 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by AdiFish View Post

I refer you to something I said at Mac Rumors a while back ..

http://forums.macrumors.com/showpost...0&postcount=87



I think once Apple get into Mobile delivery of games .. it will only be a short amount of time when they start to look at the Mac platforms too

I've been saying for a long time that Apple should, and likely would, get into gaiming on the iPod platform, along with its other functions. We will now see that with the itouch. As we now also have the iPhone, I thought that it was obvious it too would be there.

Some people think that having several different functions will compromise all of them, but I don't agree with that. Different functions are merely a click on the menu, now, icon.

With software control over what the GUI and controls will be, everything can have its ideal interface, and we can all be happy.

Just like this
post #8 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by AdiFish View Post

I refer you to something I said at Mac Rumors a while back ..

http://forums.macrumors.com/showpost...0&postcount=87



I think once Apple get into Mobile delivery of games .. it will only be a short amount of time when they start to look at the Mac platforms too

You're wrong, they were said to approach Valve about doing Half-Life (2) for Mac, not Steam.
post #9 of 47
My god, it's all happening.

I just knew it in my gut that they would try their hand at portable gaming when the iPod touch was unveiled. You can only whack so many gametypes onto a click-wheel device with multiple screen sizes.

Behold: the sweet-spot 3.5" multitouch 160dpi platform with OpenGL support.
post #10 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by labrats5 View Post

I've literally been waiting years for 2 things. One is the ARM Cortex-A8, the successor to the ARM11. The other is the PowerVR SGX. I thought the best thing Apple could do was contract Texas Instruments for their next-gen OMAP3 application processors, since TI seems to be the most invested in the A8/SGX platform. What a masterstroke it would be if Apple could create an exclusive platform that outperformed the OMAP3!

ARM replace A8 with A9 since A8 has some design, err, 'issues' and wasn't a popular core to embed.

Since I'm having posting issues tonight here as well, I'll potentially repeat myself, but Intel is using both the graphics and video decoding core in this story within the Atom's Paulsbo chipset. However this is only fabbed on an ancient 130nm process, so if Samsung are doing it on 65nm or less, it will be like night and day.
post #11 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by AdiFish View Post

I refer you to something I said at Mac Rumors a while back ..

http://forums.macrumors.com/showpost...0&postcount=87



I think once Apple get into Mobile delivery of games .. it will only be a short amount of time when they start to look at the Mac platforms too

I really hope so. Hopefully, once they start programing for the iPhone they will realize that they are half way to develop for Mac OS.
post #12 of 47
Good. Today, building an optimal mobile computer (like iPhone) requires comprehensive, SoC design. Bringing it in-house is a no-compromise solution, and will reduce the negotiation and project init time typically required in partnerships.
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post #13 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by eAi View Post

You're wrong, they were said to approach Valve about doing Half-Life (2) for Mac, not Steam.

.. and you don't think that Valve would want to deliver HL2 via Steam??? Of course they would ..
post #14 of 47
Now we need a joypad / joystick in the phone as 3d games are not that good with a touch screen.
post #15 of 47
The first gaming iDevice was mostly ignored or dismissed by those few that had heard of it, but among those that grew to love it, there was nothing else like it that even came close. It was called the iFrell.

The second iDevice was built on everything that made the first unforgettable, but sexed up so as to make it more enticing to a wider target audience. It was called the iFrack.
post #16 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by Joe_the_dragon View Post

Now we need a joypad / joystick in the phone as 3d games are not that good with a touch screen.

Which touch screen devices have you played 3D games on?
post #17 of 47
I think this speculation fits pretty nicely with Apple's recent purchase of the PA semiconductor company. Apple appears to be increasing its in house development of products that use these type of components heavily following the relative success of the iPhone. They should have the expertise/license to continue to innovate a that pace and with the same success that they have been. One small point briefly touched on the article, is that the a large advantage of using more advanced graphics processors is the support for HD decoding. So while games may be a revenue stream for them, including this level of functionality into an iTouch will help them to stay competitive in a market that is surely going to try to out do them. I think with there recent acquisitions and purchases, they have carved themselves out a strong advantage going forward.
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post #18 of 47
3G iPhone with HD streaming capabilities, a Microvision micro-projector, OLED touchscreen, video chat and thousands of applications.

Perhaps next year?
post #19 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by Appleinsider

Interestingly, the iPhone and iPod touch already exceed the performance of existing handheld gaming devices.

That is very interesting. I always thought that dedicated gaming devices would be faster than generic computers. Since the iphone/ipod is almost the same price as PSP/DS and is also a touch screen mobile PDA with ipod and in the case of the iphone, a phone, it starts to look like great value for money even considering the phone contract pricing.

I still don't think it will be a great gaming device until Apple starts building better relationships with gaming studios though. Still, I'll be getting rid of my PSP soon due to a severe lack of games in favor of somethin' that suits me better. These days, I don't really have time for games any more so I may just get an iphone after all. With the SDK, I should be able to put apps onto the device just like a PDA.
post #20 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by Joe_the_dragon View Post

Now we need a joypad / joystick in the phone as 3d games are not that good with a touch screen.

The touch screen has nothing to do with control. The iPhone is its own controller.
post #21 of 47
Whoa, I maybe slow, but it just struck me, reading these two articles today.

Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

By commoditizing mobile video gaming into the powerhouse that is iTunes, Apple can team its new smartphone and WiFi mobile platform business with the high volume software sales related to gaming. Apple quietly began developing its downloadable gaming business for the iPod in 2005, and earlier this year released a signed software platform for the iPhone and iPod touch that follows the business models of existing video game consoles developed by Nintendo and duplicated by Sony and Microsoft.

and

Crytek, Epic lost billions of dollars because of piracy

This is what they have been doing all the time, ingenious, create secure delivery system with volume, and they will come. Guarantee them piracy freedom, and big game houses will run to you.
post #22 of 47
These iPhone rumors are all over the place.

I think there is someone(s) at Apple who is(are) disseminating bogus info.
post #23 of 47
The article's primary point is that Apple has been able to obtain an exclusive license on Imagination's new tech including the SGX 3D graphics core, however, they present ZERO evidence that the licensing is an exclusive one!!

look at the following quotes:

Quote:
"The next generation of iPhone appears set to claim exclusive access to advanced graphics core and video decoding technology, thanks to a secret licensing deal"

Quote:
"Combined with the fact that Samsung is now licensing the next generation SGX and VXD designs for manufacturing, this indicates that Apple, the current front runner in mobile internet devices with the iPod touch and iPhone, has secured unique Imagination technology for its own exclusive use, and is using Samsung to manufacture the new SoC parts for future models. "


And yet the only statements even related to the relationship with Imagination in NO WAY imply an EXCLUSIVE license. All that it is saying is that Samsung doesn't have a design license for the new tech --- meaning it can only manufacturer designs produced by other companies with the proper license, AKA Apple:

Quote:
"Imagination licenses both its VXD codec cores and the new SGX graphics processor core designs to chip manufacturers, but access to the latest generation of its intellectual property has been negotiated in a new way....

....The source reports that Samsung does not have a license to design chips that include the cores, only to produce them. This is different from previous licensing agreements related to the MBX graphics core, for which Samsung does have a design license."

Besides just the article, Wikipedia reports that the very next-gen SGX graphics core that Apple supposedly has an exclusive on, is already licensed to other companies like Intel, TI, NEC, Sigmatel, and others that have already designed and released products based on the SGX technology.


List of products including Imagination SGX 3D graphics core:

- NEC auto GPS/car information center
- Renesas "SH-Mobile G3"
- Texas instruments OMAP 3000 series cellphones SoC (system-on-a-chip)
- Intel Canmore (SoC for TVs, set-top boxes, other embedded consumer electronics )
- Intel Moorestown (second generation, Intel Atom/Silverthorne x86 platform (SoC for cell phones and mobile internet devices - coming 2009)

The only thing I can think of is that there are different versions of the SGX 3d graphics core with a progressive level of performance. Maybe Apple has an exclusive on just one tweaked version of the core?? Or maybe there are actually two generations of the SGX GPU core, albeit with the same name, and Apple has an exclusive on the new one?

However you cut it, This is a poorly written article that leaves out a lot of critical information to understanding what Apple has really achieved here.
post #24 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by backtomac View Post

These iPhone rumors are all over the place.

I think there is someone(s) at Apple who is(are) disseminating bogus info.

I would if I were Apple marketing.

Quote:
Originally Posted by winterspan View Post

The article's primary point is that Apple has been able to obtain an exclusive license on Imagination's new tech including the SGX 3D graphics core, however, they present ZERO evidence that the licensing is an exclusive one!!

Nice research.
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post #25 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by Marvin View Post

That is very interesting. I always thought that dedicated gaming devices would be faster than generic computers. Since the iphone/ipod is almost the same price as PSP/DS and is also a touch screen mobile PDA with ipod and in the case of the iphone, a phone, it starts to look like great value for money even considering the phone contract pricing.

Well, to be fair, the Playstation portable first came out in Japan in December 2004, which means the hardware design was probably finalized at some point in early 2004. Considering how fast technology moves, it's not really surprising that the iPhone is more powerful.

Which brings up something interesting. Most gaming machines, portable or not, maintain nearly the same hardware, overall performance, and compatibility over the lifetime of the machine, even if some unimportant components are swapped or the main processors see a die shrink. I figured the iPhone would remain the same way, at least for the first two models. This keeps it easy for developers who do not then have to worry about supporting two different performance profiles and optimizations for their game or other software. It appears if this article is correct, and they are referring to the 3G iPhone, then this will not be the case, with it getting the new SGX graphics core.
post #26 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by Project2501 View Post

Whoa, I maybe slow, but it just struck me, reading these two articles today.

and

Crytek, Epic lost billions of dollars because of piracy

This is what they have been doing all the time, ingenious, create secure delivery system with volume, and they will come. Guarantee them piracy freedom, and big game houses will run to you.


That's actually a GREAT point. Although I'm not naive enough to think that piracy will be completely prevented on the iPhone, there are many natural barriers to widescale piracy that I think will provide a great environment for game developers, which obviously is becoming VERY important after seeing piracy numbers like the ones in that tgdaily article.

1) Software for the iPhone is only available through one source, the iTunes Store.
2) It looks as though mobile phone software is much cheaper than PC equivalents, with most games probably selling for less than $10.
3) All the security features/components including encrypted firmware, digitally signed applications, etc.

I bet Apple will eventually find a way to not necessarily stop the firmware cracking, but to encourage end-users not to do it through some system. Maybe they will institute a system that only makes certain features available if the iPhone is recognized as having "genuine firmware" by itunes, such as keeping people from being able to download apps or blocking multiplayer gaming or something.
Although, again, I'm sure most of these ideas can be hacked as well. But I still do think they'll come up with a "carrot and stick" method of discouraging cracking and piracy.
post #27 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by winterspan View Post

The article's primary point is that Apple has been able to obtain an exclusive license on Imagination's new tech including the SGX 3D graphics core, however, they present ZERO evidence that the licensing is an exclusive one!!

look at the following quotes:


And yet the only statements even related to the relationship with Imagination in NO WAY imply an EXCLUSIVE license. All that it is saying is that Samsung doesn't have a design license for the new tech --- meaning it can only manufacturer designs produced by other companies with the proper license, AKA Apple:



Besides just the article, Wikipedia reports that the very next-gen SGX graphics core that Apple supposedly has an exclusive on, is already licensed to other companies like Intel, TI, NEC, Sigmatel, and others that have already designed and released products based on the SGX technology.


List of products including Imagination SGX 3D graphics core:

- NEC auto GPS/car information center
- Renesas "SH-Mobile G3"
- Texas instruments OMAP 3000 series cellphones SoC (system-on-a-chip)
- Intel Canmore (SoC for TVs, set-top boxes, other embedded consumer electronics )
- Intel Moorestown (second generation, Intel Atom/Silverthorne x86 platform (SoC for cell phones and mobile internet devices - coming 2009)

The only thing I can think of is that there are different versions of the SGX 3d graphics core with a progressive level of performance. Maybe Apple has an exclusive on just one tweaked version of the core?? Or maybe there are actually two generations of the SGX GPU core, albeit with the same name, and Apple has an exclusive on the new one?

However you cut it, This is a poorly written article that leaves out a lot of critical information to understanding what Apple has really achieved here.

Whatever the accuracy if this article, PLEASE don't ever use Wikipedia for a reference about Apple's plans, or licensing. They know no more about that than anyone here.
post #28 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by melgross View Post

Whatever the accuracy if this article, PLEASE don't ever use Wikipedia for a reference about Apple's plans, or licensing. They know no more about that than anyone here.

I'm going to have to disagree with you here. I did NOT use Wikipedia to reference ANYTHING about Apple's plans or licensing. I simply used wikipedia to gather a list of devices currently using the technology that the article is claiming to be an exclusive of Apple. In addition, the list of products have URL references to their respective manufacturers for more information, which I then confirmed.


side note: Acknowledging the problems and imperfections related to a quasi-public collaborative environment, Wikipedia is actually an excellent source of general information if you understand how the process works. In the true "open source" style, everything that is contributed from the public HAS to have a citation/reference, and all the information is checked and rechecked by other members. Through the extensive content history and change log, false, misleading information is quickly spotted and removed. Similarly, information without references, and information using unofficial/inappropriate references is also quickly flagged, discussed, and removed and/or corrected.
post #29 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by winterspan View Post

I'm going to have to disagree with you here. I did NOT use Wikipedia to reference ANYTHING about Apple's plans or licensing. I simply used wikipedia to gather a list of devices currently using the technology that the article is claiming to be an exclusive of Apple. In addition, the list of products have URL references to their respective manufacturers for more information, which I then confirmed.

Ok, your explanation is understood.

Quote:
side note: Acknowledging the problems and imperfections related to a quasi-public collaborative environment, Wikipedia is actually an excellent source of general information if you understand how the process works. In the true "open source" style, everything that is contributed from the public HAS to have a citation/reference, and all the information is checked and rechecked by other members. Through the extensive content history and change log, false, misleading information is quickly spotted and removed. Similarly, information without references, and information using unofficial/inappropriate references is also quickly flagged, discussed, and removed and/or corrected.

Unfortunately, there have been more than a few scandals over this. A large number of pages have been altered, and took a while before anyone noticed. Numerous other articles have been shown to have incorrect information.

Governments and corporations, as well as individuals, continually alter articles to remove negative statements, information, etc.

Wikipedia is anything but reliable.

It isn't that a vast number of alterations, or just plain incorrect information resides there, but the uncertainty caused by what is continually being done, lowers the expectation that anything is correct, unless something you are using for a reference is something that you already know to be true.
post #30 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by winterspan View Post

Well, to be fair, the Playstation portable first came out in Japan in December 2004, which means the hardware design was probably finalized at some point in early 2004. Considering how fast technology moves, it's not really surprising that the iPhone is more powerful.

Only 3 years though and the iphone was not designed for gaming. In the desktop space, it took about 5 years for low end desktops to match a PS2 and even then, the cost was still a factor of 4 higher. The iphone costs the same amount, is faster and the time frame is 3 years as well as exceeding the gaming devices in terms of features and usability. Technology does move quickly I agree but I still think it's impressive.

Quote:
Originally Posted by winterspan View Post

It appears if this article is correct, and they are referring to the 3G iPhone, then this will not be the case, with it getting the new SGX graphics core.

When they said about the iphone being faster than the PSP though, don't they mean the current iphone? If that's the case, all that'll happen is that games can run in different modes so the newer phone can run with better textures or whatever. If the games can match the quality of the PSP on the original iphone then there's nothing to worry about regarding compatibility.

Quote:
Originally Posted by winterspan

which obviously is becoming VERY important after seeing piracy numbers like the ones in that tgdaily article.

Piracy numbers are always greatly exaggerated. The numbers quoted count access times using illegal codes, which is a ridiculous statistic - no more reliable than an online poll that uses session ids. Check out any piracy site and you can see the most people downloading a popular file is about 100,000 at most and it drops down to a few thousand after a month or so. Assuming that a game of typical size as Crysis takes 2 days to download, the numbers are way less than the organizations want you to believe. Nowhere do they take account of gamers who buy the game after trying it or people who bought the game and lost the disc or it broke or was stolen.

Piracy is not a major issue. What is a major issue is the irrationality surrounding piracy amongst developers and this is what is helped with tighter security over game distribution. However this method of distribution is not without its headaches. The amount of trouble I had with steam put me off that kind of system for good. Not only that, you can't sell your games second-hand in a lot of cases.

There's no way I will ever pay £40 for a video game and this is typically what new games cost. Portable devices tend to be slightly lower but my average buying price was always £15 per game. Forcing me to always buy new games is just going to put me off altogether and secured downloads typically always prevent second-hand sales. In a way digital downloads will always prevent this because there's not really such a thing as a second-hand digital copy as there is no quality loss.

The only solution is lower prices for online content. Judging by the pricing of online movies, this has not been the case.
post #31 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by melgross View Post

Ok, your explanation is understood.

Unfortunately, there have been more than a few scandals over this. A large number of pages have been altered, and took a while before anyone noticed. Numerous other articles have been shown to have incorrect information.

Governments and corporations, as well as individuals, continually alter articles to remove negative statements, information, etc.

Wikipedia is anything but reliable.

It isn't that a vast number of alterations, or just plain incorrect information resides there, but the uncertainty caused by what is continually being done, lowers the expectation that anything is correct, unless something you are using for a reference is something that you already know to be true.


Yeah, it's definitely not perfect, but its the most comprehensive resource for general information on the net. Just like everything else on the internet, you have to be skeptical, and especially so on ANY type of controversial topic. Like, I wouldn't recommend finalizing an opinion on the Arab-Israeli conflict from the content at the wikipedia page. That said, It is very informative and as a general rule, again not including controversial topics or political topics, most of the information can be assumed to be accurate.
post #32 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by Marvin View Post

Only 3 years though and the iphone was not designed for gaming. In the desktop space, it took about 5 years for low end desktops to match a PS2 and even then, the cost was still a factor of 4 higher. The iphone costs the same amount, is faster and the time frame is 3 years as well as exceeding the gaming devices in terms of features and usability. Technology does move quickly I agree but I still think it's impressive.

Don't get me wrong, I agree as well -- it is impressive. I'm not sure about the desktop analogy, since you used "low-end desktops" and the iPhone is certainly in the high-end of cellphones. Either way, it looks like future versions with that new Imagination core will even be significantly faster than the iPhone now!
I can't believe that it contains a full universal shader architecture in hardware! Pixel, Vertex, and Geometry shaders with support for OpenGL ES 2.0, Directx10, and shader model 4. That is incredible!

If I'm not mistaken, even Intel's integrated graphics for computers COULDN'T SUPPORT SHADERS until the last revision!


Quote:
When they said about the iphone being faster than the PSP though, don't they mean the current iphone? If that's the case, all that'll happen is that games can run in different modes so the newer phone can run with better textures or whatever. If the games can match the quality of the PSP on the original iphone then there's nothing to worry about regarding compatibility.

Yes, the current iPhone is faster than the PSP. The article does not mention if the Imagination SGX chip will be going into the soon-released 3G iPhone or a future variant. Either way, the SGX chip is indeed backwards compatible with the MBX chip on the original iPhone.

The issue i raised was that if the 3G iphone has a new graphics chip, then developers will have to independently optimize their games for two different hardware performance profiles (assuming the resolution stays the same).
This is not a huge deal, but it does add complexity and ultimately additional cost to the development process. That is the reason why the Playstation portable continues to use the same primary hardware throughout it's multiple revisions.


Quote:
Piracy numbers are always greatly exaggerated. The numbers quoted count access times using illegal codes, which is a ridiculous statistic - no more reliable than an online poll that uses session ids. Check out any piracy site and you can see the most people downloading a popular file is about 100,000 at most and it drops down to a few thousand after a month or so. Assuming that a game of typical size as Crysis takes 2 days to download, the numbers are way less than the organizations want you to believe. Nowhere do they take account of gamers who buy the game after trying it or people who bought the game and lost the disc or it broke or was stolen.

Piracy is not a major issue. What is a major issue is the irrationality surrounding piracy amongst developers and this is what is helped with tighter security over game distribution. However this method of distribution is not without its headaches. The amount of trouble I had with steam put me off that kind of system for good. Not only that, you can't sell your games second-hand in a lot of cases.

There's no way I will ever pay £40 for a video game and this is typically what new games cost. Portable devices tend to be slightly lower but my average buying price was always £15 per game. Forcing me to always buy new games is just going to put me off altogether and secured downloads typically always prevent second-hand sales. In a way digital downloads will always prevent this because there's not really such a thing as a second-hand digital copy as there is no quality loss.

I agree that piracy and especially the losses due to piracy are both greatly exaggerated. All I am saying is that If the perception of the developer is that piracy is a big deal, then I'm sure they'll see the iTunes "single-point-of-installation" to be a good thing for the iPhone platform. Hopefully that is the case, and we see a large community of development for the iPhone and iPod Touch
post #33 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by Marvin View Post

Piracy numbers are always greatly exaggerated. The numbers quoted count access times using illegal codes, which is a ridiculous statistic - no more reliable than an online poll that uses session ids. Check out any piracy site and you can see the most people downloading a popular file is about 100,000 at most and it drops down to a few thousand after a month or so. Assuming that a game of typical size as Crysis takes 2 days to download, the numbers are way less than the organizations want you to believe. Nowhere do they take account of gamers who buy the game after trying it or people who bought the game and lost the disc or it broke or was stolen.

Piracy is not a major issue. What is a major issue is the irrationality surrounding piracy amongst developers and this is what is helped with tighter security over game distribution. However this method of distribution is not without its headaches. The amount of trouble I had with steam put me off that kind of system for good. Not only that, you can't sell your games second-hand in a lot of cases.

You are correct there, that the numbers companies give are always exaggerated, but I think that the access times with illegal codes is still the most accurate way of measuring piracy. You talk about people who might actually own legal version, but have lost or broken their disk, and that for downloads copy, but why wouldn't they use their legal serial number with it? Or people who try before buying, isn't that illegal in your books either? I don't think using piracy site statistics is really any more presentative, because people have also many more channels to get their hands on software. In the era of digital media, concept of second-hand doesn't really work any more, because there really isn't anything to sell forward. Digital media companies aren't selling you physical goods, but experiences, and those you really aren't yours to give away. Because of piracy developers have slowly changed towards subscription based games. So now we come back to my original idea, if Apple creates secure and hassle free channel for developers to monetize their creations, Apple certainly becomes very interesting partner. Additional to sell channel, Apple could also provide developers stabile platforms, not only iPhone, but mac and tv platform as well.
post #34 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by Marvin View Post

O
Piracy numbers are always greatly exaggerated. The numbers quoted count access times using illegal codes, which is a ridiculous statistic - no more reliable than an online poll that uses session ids. Check out any piracy site and you can see the most people downloading a popular file is about 100,000 at most and it drops down to a few thousand after a month or so. Assuming that a game of typical size as Crysis takes 2 days to download, the numbers are way less than the organizations want you to believe. Nowhere do they take account of gamers who buy the game after trying it or people who bought the game and lost the disc or it broke or was stolen.

Piracy is not a major issue. What is a major issue is the irrationality surrounding piracy amongst developers and this is what is helped with tighter security over game distribution. However this method of distribution is not without its headaches. The amount of trouble I had with steam put me off that kind of system for good. Not only that, you can't sell your games second-hand in a lot of cases.

There's no way I will ever pay £40 for a video game and this is typically what new games cost. Portable devices tend to be slightly lower but my average buying price was always £15 per game. Forcing me to always buy new games is just going to put me off altogether and secured downloads typically always prevent second-hand sales. In a way digital downloads will always prevent this because there's not really such a thing as a second-hand digital copy as there is no quality loss.

The only solution is lower prices for online content. Judging by the pricing of online movies, this has not been the case.

You're certainly wrong about that.

You're not including the vast number of times people who do download those games (and other programs) give them away to their friends as well. And that repeats itself numerous times.

And just how many of these piracy sites are there? I've seen estimates that there could be thousands. I wouldn't be surprised.
post #35 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by winterspan View Post

I can't believe that it contains a full universal shader architecture in hardware! Pixel, Vertex, and Geometry shaders with support for OpenGL ES 2.0, Directx10, and shader model 4. That is incredible!

If I'm not mistaken, even Intel's integrated graphics for computers COULDN'T SUPPORT SHADERS until the last revision!

Yeah, even the iphone's going to be faster than the Mac Mini now. I see what you are saying with that, with those features the backwards support could suffer - that's been the case with a few games that support advanced shader engines like Splinter Cell. Imagine Playing Splinter Cell with a gesture based interface though. Online play with other games should be easy with 3G.

Quote:
Originally Posted by project2501

I think that the access times with illegal codes is still the most accurate way of measuring piracy.

As long as it's using unique IPs.

Quote:
Originally Posted by project2501

why wouldn't they use their legal serial number with it?

'Illegal' apps can let you play without the CD in the drive (less lag, less noise). If you compare even PSP games, there are comparisons online showing how much faster a game loads and runs if you do it from the SD card vs UMD. You can actually do this using a copy you own. This is one thing that's always irritated me about methods that companies use to secure intellectual property. They almost always degrade the quality of the experience for legitimate buyers instead of the people who stole the product.

People who steal PSP games get free games, early releases as they get US titles, faster gameplay, access to cheats and mods whereas legit buyers like me get stuck with noisy, slow UMD discs, expensive games and I have to wait months for a title to come out in Europe vs the US and I get no access to a cheats system. Until companies start focusing on customer experience instead of profits, crime will always pay.

If you get a better experience for free, why would you pay for a worse experience? Guilt isn't enough.

Quote:
Originally Posted by melgross

You're not including the vast number of times people who do download those games (and other programs) give them away to their friends as well. And that repeats itself numerous times.

True but it's also the fact it's counted as a lost sale when it may not be. Take for example GTA 4. It costs £45. If I stole it, it assumes that I stole it rather than bought it, which is false because I wouldn't have bought it at that price so it's not a lost sale. The games companies can make up whatever numbers they want because they have no real information about how much damage is caused. As movie makers have said, all the actors still get paid, all the technical staff get paid so who is losing out? The faceless corporation who could've make $125 million profit instead of $120 million? Nobody really knows - the stats are simply used as a way to incite hate-mongering against theft, which I'll admit isn't necessarily a bad thing but it leads to irrational behaviour.

Quote:
Originally Posted by melgross

And just how many of these piracy sites are there? I've seen estimates that there could be thousands. I wouldn't be surprised.

Nah, I'd say hundreds at most. Plus they tend to share common stats. So 100,000 downloaders on one site is a lot of the time the same ones on another and like I say, that number is pretty rare. Typically, you're talking about a few thousand. I added up total downloads of Crysis from a site and the number is around 400,000 since the release.

Assuming there are 5 sites with similar popularity (which is a reasonable estimate), that makes 2 million downloads. Other less popular sites will get downloads that are a fraction of that. Decentralized P2P apps like Limewire aren't that significant here because they are not popular for large downloads due to reliability.

Stats of 2 million also don't take account of people who downloaded more than once as one particular copy might not have worked. Not to mention downloads due to the game not being available such as in some eastern countries.

My estimation is that companies exaggerate their claims by an order of magnitude at least and as I say, nobody knows what percentage of those people wouldn't have bought the game in the first place so you can't count it as a lost sale.

So while I think that it's great to discourage software theft, I don't want to see it at the expense of a good customer experience, which it so often is. The main issue for me is no second-hand sales and no competing sales to drive down prices. One store might sell less than the RRP on some titles than others. By shopping around, you get a better deal. A single store means that Apple as always are in control of everything. What do they care if their computers and BTO options are overpriced? No one can have a competing service to drive down prices.

Since iphone app downloads are exclusive to itunes, Apple control the pricing.
post #36 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by Marvin View Post

Yeah, even the iphone's going to be faster than the Mac Mini now. I see what you are saying with that, with those features the backwards support could suffer - that's been the case with a few games that support advanced shader engines like Splinter Cell. Imagine Playing Splinter Cell with a gesture based interface though. Online play with other games should be easy with 3G.



As long as it's using unique IPs.



'Illegal' apps can let you play without the CD in the drive (less lag, less noise). If you compare even PSP games, there are comparisons online showing how much faster a game loads and runs if you do it from the SD card vs UMD. You can actually do this using a copy you own. This is one thing that's always irritated me about methods that companies use to secure intellectual property. They almost always degrade the quality of the experience for legitimate buyers instead of the people who stole the product.

People who steal PSP games get free games, early releases as they get US titles, faster gameplay, access to cheats and mods whereas legit buyers like me get stuck with noisy, slow UMD discs, expensive games and I have to wait months for a title to come out in Europe vs the US and I get no access to a cheats system. Until companies start focusing on customer experience instead of profits, crime will always pay.

If you get a better experience for free, why would you pay for a worse experience? Guilt isn't enough.



True but it's also the fact it's counted as a lost sale when it may not be. Take for example GTA 4. It costs £45. If I stole it, it assumes that I stole it rather than bought it, which is false because I wouldn't have bought it at that price so it's not a lost sale. The games companies can make up whatever numbers they want because they have no real information about how much damage is caused. As movie makers have said, all the actors still get paid, all the technical staff get paid so who is losing out? The faceless corporation who could've make $125 million profit instead of $120 million? Nobody really knows - the stats are simply used as a way to incite hate-mongering against theft, which I'll admit isn't necessarily a bad thing but it leads to irrational behaviour.



Nah, I'd say hundreds at most. Plus they tend to share common stats. So 100,000 downloaders on one site is a lot of the time the same ones on another and like I say, that number is pretty rare. Typically, you're talking about a few thousand. I added up total downloads of Crysis from a site and the number is around 400,000 since the release.

Assuming there are 5 sites with similar popularity (which is a reasonable estimate), that makes 2 million downloads. Other less popular sites will get downloads that are a fraction of that. Decentralized P2P apps like Limewire aren't that significant here because they are not popular for large downloads due to reliability.

Stats of 2 million also don't take account of people who downloaded more than once as one particular copy might not have worked. Not to mention downloads due to the game not being available such as in some eastern countries.

My estimation is that companies exaggerate their claims by an order of magnitude at least and as I say, nobody knows what percentage of those people wouldn't have bought the game in the first place so you can't count it as a lost sale.

So while I think that it's great to discourage software theft, I don't want to see it at the expense of a good customer experience, which it so often is. The main issue for me is no second-hand sales and no competing sales to drive down prices. One store might sell less than the RRP on some titles than others. By shopping around, you get a better deal. A single store means that Apple as always are in control of everything. What do they care if their computers and BTO options are overpriced? No one can have a competing service to drive down prices.

Since iphone app downloads are exclusive to itunes, Apple control the pricing.

I don't want to see it at the expense of good customer experience either, but I think you are clearly underestimating the impact. As I said, the original download isn't the end of it. That download gets shared any number of times. your number could easily be off by an order of magnitude.
post #37 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by melgross View Post

I don't want to see it at the expense of good customer experience either, but I think you are clearly underestimating the impact. As I said, the original download isn't the end of it. That download gets shared any number of times. your number could easily be off by an order of magnitude.

And in addition, programs, and games, also end up on the newsgroups where anyone can download them. There's no way to count those downloads, but I'm willing to bet, because of the lack of the need for a password, those numbers are high.
post #38 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by Marvin View Post



As long as it's using unique IPs.



'Illegal' apps can let you play without the CD in the drive (less lag, less noise). If you compare even PSP games, there are comparisons online showing how much faster a game loads and runs if you do it from the SD card vs UMD. You can actually do this using a copy you own. This is one thing that's always irritated me about methods that companies use to secure intellectual property. They almost always degrade the quality of the experience for legitimate buyers instead of the people who stole the product.

People who steal PSP games get free games, early releases as they get US titles, faster gameplay, access to cheats and mods whereas legit buyers like me get stuck with noisy, slow UMD discs, expensive games and I have to wait months for a title to come out in Europe vs the US and I get no access to a cheats system. Until companies start focusing on customer experience instead of profits, crime will always pay.

If you get a better experience for free, why would you pay for a worse experience? Guilt isn't enough.

My point was that assuming we are using those access times with illegal codes as a measure, then the company clearly has lost potential money there, because someone clearly was interested in trying out the game, true they maybe wouldn't have paid the full price. And if someone has legit code, but still downloads an image for gaming, it shouldn't show up in the illegal access code list anyway, so it wouldn't count as a lost sale.

I'm with you that enhancing end user experience is the best way to combat pirates, but thinking that as long as actors and other parties get paid it doesn't matter, those same greedy companies have to also take hit from the other flopped products. Predicting what is going to be a hit, is really not straight forward.
post #39 of 47
I find it amusing Apple would put a chip on its iPhone that has hardware HD video decoding, when Apple doesn't bother to use hardware for HD (though its non-integrated video chips support it) on Macs.
post #40 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by randian View Post

I find it amusing Apple would put a chip on its iPhone that has hardware HD video decoding, when Apple doesn't bother to use hardware for HD (though its non-integrated video chips support it) on Macs.

It may seen funny. But, don't forget that Apple's other machines don't need this chip, while their small handheld devices do. This is also used for higher rez output to a Tv.
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