LONDON – ARM is set to fight the established order in the games console market, which means variants of PowerPC, according to market research company Semicast Research. Semicast forecasts that Microsoft will increasingly focus on being an ARM house from mobile devices through games consoles as part of a convergence strategy and could use Nvidia Corp. as its ARM chip provider of choice for the next Xbox games console.
ARM Holdings plc (Cambridge, England) has been specified as the provider of the architecture within the next handheld Sony PSP, displacing MIPS Technologies Inc., and Nintendo's DS and 3DS have been based on ARM from inception. Now that ARM has the handheld games market wrapped up it is well placed to move into the consoles, Semicast said.
The current generation of games consoles consists of Microsoft's Xbox 360, Nintendo's Wii and Sony's Playstation 3. Sony also continues to produce the Playstation 2, selling approximately five million units in 2010, although Semicast expects production to cease in 2012. The main processor for all three of the current generation of consoles is based on Power Architecture, with Microsoft and Nintendo using chips developed by IBM, and Sony using its Cell processor which is based on the Power Architecture.
"Semicast judges it unlikely that x86 will be used in any of the next generation of consoles, so the question is can ARM break the current dominance of Power Architecture," said Colin Barnden, principal analyst at Semicast Research, in a statement.
Barnden said that Sony will continue to use its Cell Broadband Engine in the Playstation 4 console. He added that Nintendo will continue to use Power-based processors from IBM for its follow up to the Wii console.