The organizers of the Game Developer Conference 2016 this week for the first time brought a virtual-reality track to the show, and Advanced Micro Devices was among several companies that used it to establish their presence in the emerging market.
The chip maker used the conference to announce that it is partnering with Toronto-based startup Sulon Technologies to build a headset for virtual-reality (VR) and augmented-reality (AR) applications and will use such AMD technologies as its Radeon GPUs and LiquidVR platform. The Sulon Q all-in-one headset would rival such offerings as the Occulus Rift.
AMD officials also used the VR track to demonstrate its forthcoming Polaris 10 graphics card that they said will have an array of use cases, from VR to laptop games.
Also at the show, the chip maker unveiled its Radeon Pro Duo, a dual graphics card that company is specifically aiming at the VR space. The water-cooled graphics card is essentially two of its Radeon R9 Fury X GPUs—built on the Fiji architecture—brought together, with as much as 16 teraflops of compute performance and a price tag of $1,499. It’s due to be released early in the second quarter.
It includes AMD’s LiquidVR software-development kit (SDK) and is aimed at both VR creators and consumers, according to officials. They said the powerful dual-GPU board will help reduce latency in developing VR applications. To highlight AMD’s efforts in the VR creation effort, officials noted that the Radeon Pro Duo is the first product in what is AMD’s VR Ready Creator lineup of products, and is also being used by Crytek in its VR First project, which is aimed at bringing new people into the VR development space by powering VR labs in universities worldwide.
“More powerful computing platforms are rapidly leading to greater immersive experiences,” Raja Koduri, senior vice president and chief architect for AMD’s Radeon Technologies Group, said in a statement. “This is most evident with VR which demands ever higher compute performance with rock solid consistency.”
AMD officials have tagged immersive computing, gaming and VR as cornerstones in the company’s product roadmap, believing that the company’s graphics expertise gives it an edge against rivals. And there will be plenty of competition. Intel and Nvidia both view VR as a growth industry, and Qualcomm this week introduced its plan for a VR SDK that will enable programmers to more quickly build VR software with the Snapdragon 820 system-on-a-chip (SoC) for smartphones and upcoming VR headsets running Google’s Android operating system.