Nvidia provides 'PhysX' for Nintendo Wii

Graphics chipmaker announces that its PhysX technology is now available to Wii developers, after a similar announcement regarding the Sony PlayStation 3 on Wednesday.

Nvidia announced that its PhysX technology is now available to Wii developers. This follows a similar announcement Wednesday, when Nvidia said it has become a PhysX tools and middleware provider for Sony's PlayStation 3.

Nintendo Wii
Nintendo Wii Nintendo

In Thursday's Nintendo-related announcement, Nvidia said it has been approved as a third-party tools solution provider for the Wii console. As a result, Nvidia's PhysX technology software development kit (SDK) is now available to registered Wii developers, the graphics chip supplier said.

Nvidia's PhysX technology, based on the laws of physics, enables game objects to respond dynamically to physical events in a game. Typically, Nvidia trumpets the performance of PhysX on its graphics chips. But this applies only to PCs, according to Nvidia spokesman Bryan Del Rizzo. In the case of game consoles, the PhysX processing is done by the CPU, not the GPU--even if a GPU is present. (CPU stands for central processing unit. GPU for graphics processing unit.)

"Based on all the processing cores in the GPU, we can do a lot more processing on the GPU than the CPU. That doesn't mean the CPU isn't a great place to do processing, but we can just take more advantage of an Nvidia GPU," Del Rizzo said.

The Nintendo Wii uses an PowerPC-based "Broadway" CPU and an AMD-ATI "Hollywood" GPU. The Sony PlayStation 3 uses an IBM Cell processor and an Nvidia GPU.

"Adding a PhysX SDK for Wii is key to our cross-platform strategy and integral to the business model for our licensed game developers and publishers," Tony Tamasi, senior vice president of content and technology at Nvidia, said in a statement. The Nvidia PhysX SDK consists of a full-featured application programming interface (API) and physics engine.

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