NVIDIA CEO: GeForce Now Has Hundreds of Thousands of CCUs, But Cloud Will Never Replace PC; There’s No Need for a New Portable Shield

Jan 14, 2019
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NVIDIA CEO Jensen Huang, just like his counterpart Lisa Su (CEO of AMD), joined the press for a roundtable Q&A at CES 2019 after revealing the RTX 2060 during the press conference.

GamesBeat has the full transcript, a massive wall of text group interview. Huang talked about everything from cryptocurrencies to 5G and autopilot cars, but he also provided an update on the GeForce Now cloud-based game streaming service that is currently in free beta. The NVIDIA CEO said it’s doing great and it will grow the market, but it can never really replace PC as a platform due to the inherent lightspeed limitations.

Related NVIDIA Shield TV Updated Model May Be in the Works with Improved Performance and Google Stadia Support

It’s fantastic. We have hundreds of thousands of concurrent users. Our strategy is ongoing. First of all, if your question is, “How long before streaming can be as good as a PC?” the answer is never. The reason for that is because there’s one problem we haven’t figured out how to solve, and that’s the speed of light. When you’re playing esports, you need the response in a few milliseconds, not a few hundred milliseconds. It’s a fundamental problem. It’s just the laws of physics.

However, we believe in it so much that we’ve been working on this for a decade. Our strategy is this: we believe PC gaming is here to stay. We believe everyone will at least need a PC, because apparently knowledge is still important. You can’t do everything on TV. You can’t live with TV online. But you could live with a PC alone. PCs are used by young people all over the world. It’s their first computing device, or maybe second after a mobile device. Between those two devices, those are the essential computing platforms for society. We believe that’s here to stay.

When people buy their games for PC, on Steam or Uplay or Origin or Battle.net, what we want to do with GeForce Now is take that experience, checkpoint it, and take it somewhere else, wherever they happen to be. If they’re in front of a TV, fantastic. If they’re in front of a mobile device, fantastic. But our core starts with PC. That’s our center point. That’s why GeForce Now plays PC games. That’s why GeForce Now allows you to take the PC games you’ve purchased and play them anywhere. That’s why GeForce Now runs every game that’s available. No porting is necessary.

Our strategy is very different. There are other strategies around streaming games, like Netflix or something like that. I think that’s terrific. The more expansive the gaming market is, the better. It will never replace the PC.

The NVIDIA CEO then briefly touched upon the Shield console. Huang said he doesn’t believe there’s a need for a new portable Shield currently, especially since the Tegra-powered Nintendo Switch already fills that niche.

As you know, Shield TV is still unquestionably the best Android TV the world makes. We’ve updated the software now over 30 times. People are blown away by how much we continue to enhance it. There are more enhancements coming. We’re committed to it.

On mobile devices, we don’t think it’s necessary. We wouldn’t only build things to compete for share. If you’ve been watching us over the years, Nvidia is not a “Take someone else’s market share” company. I think that’s really angry. It’s an angry way to run a business. Creating new markets, expanding the horizon, creating things that the world doesn’t have, that’s a loving way to build a company. It inspires employees. They want to do that.

It’s really hard to get people — if you say, “What we are as a company, we’re going to build one just like theirs, but we’ll sell it cheaper,” it’s a weird sensibility. That’s not our style.

Only if the world needs it, or if the customer is underserved. At the moment I just don’t see it. When we first built it — I still have the original Shield portable. Every so often I pick it up and I think, “The world needs this.” But I don’t think so. Maybe not yet. I think Nintendo’s done such a great job. It’s hard to imagine doing that. I love what they did with it.

The NVIDIA CEO didn’t completely shut the door for a future NVIDIA Shield iteration, though. Would you like to see that at some point?

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