Will NVIDIA Lead the Emerging Virtual Reality Market?
Where tech stocks are concerned, NVIDIA (NVDA) is likely the best in class. With the chipmaker having a presence in many growing markets, and given its record of success, without doubt, the company will succeed in the future as well. Even though NVIDIA’s valuation is a little rich, the company’s presence in the virtual reality market makes it worth it.
NVIDIA outperformed the stock market last year, and while shares of its primary rival Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) have performed better, NVIDIA is, arguably, still a better investment.
Nvidia’s Leadership of the GPU Market as a Driving Force
NVIDIA is in a robust position in the GPU market, having extremely diversified business its model. Aside from its mobile graphics processor, NVIDIA is a burgeoning force in the driverless car segment with its Drive PX2 platform and the latest release of the DGX-1 supercomputer further fortified its position. The company is other hand, also using its existing line of graphics processors to usher in the approaching virtual reality drive.
NVIDIA has the advantage in the virtual reality division over its foremost rival AMD, considering that they are already the prominent provider of desktop graphics processor units required to power high-end Virtual Reality devices like the HTC Vive and Oculus Rift.
Currently, less than one percent of PCs in the market are capable of handling the strong graphics processing requirements of the Vive and Rift. NVIDIA however considers that small percentage as an enormous region for development. TrendForce predicts that the Virtual Reality market will surge to $70 billion from around $6.7 billion by 2020, comprising 171 million active Virtual Reality consumers just after two years from today.
Information gathered from PCGamer.com indicates that, for users to experience Virtual Reality, a strong PC with powerful GPU is compulsory, and NVIDIA has introduced the superior graphics processors in the market. The company has already established partnerships with 100 PC manufacturers to make Virtual-Reality ready desktops. Currently, its GeForce GTX 980 GPUs can be found on the only VR-ready notebooks in the market.
Aside from this, NVIDIA’s GPUs features Direct Mod, which proposes plug-and-play compatibility amidst the Virtual Reality devices and the GPU. Whilst NVIDIA is not the only firm in the VR segment, it easily accounts for over 76 percent of the discrete desktop GPU market, compared to its foremost rival, AMD, with less than 24 percent.
Because of NVIDIA’s presence in the VR industry, investors can still be bullish on the stock in the foreseeable future.
The Role of Nvidia in VR Tech
Virtual Reality (VR) is about to change the way we play and experience games by placing us directly in the game’s action, with an immersive 3D world all around us. Your view changes as your head moves, and as you use special VR controllers in compatible games, your avatar reaches out to accomplish tasks as directed. It sounds like a gimmick until you’ve experienced the unprecedented immersion and realism that VR delivers, at which point, you’ll ‘get’ it, and you’ll instantly want your very own VR headset.
A considerable amount of GPU processing power is required for VR to deliver that immersive experience. For instance, the upcoming Oculus Rift will run at 2160×1200, at 90 frames per second, which is more than three times as demanding as a 1920×1080 monitor running at 30 frames per second. The game will stutter and input lag will occur If a consistent 90 frames per second isn’t achieved, ruining the experience, straining eyes, and potentially causing headaches and/or motion sickness.
NVIDIA has, to this end, been working to increase performance and improve the VR experience and has come up with solutions as follows:
GeForce GTX GPUs
2nd Generation NVIDIA Maxwell-based GeForce GTX GPUs are designed to deliver the raw frame rates and high resolution essential for demanding VR experiences. With complete support for next generation DirectX 12 graphics API, and a Maxwell multi-projection architecture that allows new rendering techniques for VR, GeForce GTX GPUs are built with amazing VR experiences in mind.
To help improve the VR experience, Nvidia created”NVIDIA VRWorks™” a software development kit (SDK) for VR headsets and game developers that is designed to improve performance, reduce latency, and improve compatibility.
An innovative new rendering technique for VR whereby each part of an image is rendered at a resolution that better matches the pixel density of the final ‘warped’ image (VR images are an oval instead of a rectangle, as seen on a desktop monitor). By using Maxwell’s multi-projection architecture to render multiple resolutions in a single pass, substantial performance improvements are seen in VR games.