Nintendo Chooses Japan's Pica 3D Engine Over AMD, Nvidia

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Nintendo's 3DS portable game console will uses a graphics processing engine designed by a Japanese company, which was selected over technology from graphics heavyweights like Nvidia and Advanced Micro Devices, an analyst said.

Digital Media Professionals (DMP), of Tokyo, announced on Monday that its PICA200 graphics technology was being used by Nintendo, ending speculation over who developed the graphics engine for the new game console. The 3DS, which Nintendo first showed off during the E3 games conference last week, is the successor to the company's popular Nintendo DS handheld gaming console.

Like the DS, the prototype 3DS shown off at E3 had two screens, one measuring 3.5 inches on top and another measuring 3 inches below. But the console's principal feature is the ability to display 3D graphics that don't require the user to wear special glasses -- a feature that's made possible by DMP's graphics engine.

The deal with Nintendo gives DMP a big boost.

Nintendo chose the company's graphics technology after considering technology from AMD's ATI division, which designed the graphics chips used in Nintendo's Wii console and Microsoft's Xbox 360 console, wrote graphics analyst Jon Peddie on his blog. Other companies that Nintendo considered include Nvidia, which designed the graphics chips in Sony's PlayStation 3, as well as Arm, the developer of the graphics technology used in the Nintendo DS.

Another company that Nintendo considered in its three-year search for the right graphics technology was Imagination Technologies, a U.K. developer of graphics technology that counts Apple as a shareholder, he wrote.

Nintendo selected DMP last year, Peddie said. Since then, the company has been working to integrate DMP's technology into the 3DS, working to make sure the graphics engine could be integrated with other components and offer the combination of power efficiency and performance that the device requires, he said,

"The bottom line is that amazing high-end graphics functions in a low-cost handheld device with stereovision is not only possible, it has arrived. The 3DS graphics has a lot of head room to be further exploited and we're expecting to be really thrilled to see and play with what Nintendo and its partners have at launch," Peddie wrote.

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