AMD has just talked about its recent earnings with investors, where the chipmaker teased the existence of the next-gen Xbox, as well as the upcoming beefier PlayStation 'Neo' console from Sony - oh, and the next-gen Nintendo NX console. AMD is everywhere when it comes to custom chips powering next-gen consoles.
Lisa Su, the CEO of AMD, said during the earnings call that the semi-custom contract wins were in the gaming sector. Su continued, saying that "semi-custom business and gaming" will be the "larger driver" of Q2's revenue growth. She told reporters: "If you think about the semi-custom business in the past few years, the third quarter is always the peak. It will be the peak this year, as well, but we're starting some of the ramping in the second quarter as we build to the stronger third quarter".
Now, ramping up in Q2 for a stronger Q3 could mean that we see next-gen consoles revealed at E3 2016 (which takes place in late Q2) while the release of these consoles would happen in the holidays - closer to Q3. Su was asked who was purchasing the semi-custom designs, to which she said: "I don't believe we've gone through any detail about what those wins are. I'd prefer to let that come out as our customers are ready to launch".
We know that Sony's new PlayStation 'Neo' console will be powered by something capable of 1080p 60FPS, with 4K output. AMD's new Polaris architecture is capable of that, even with just 85W power consumption. We saw it happen during their RTG event last year in Sonoma, and at the time I actually asked AMD if we would see Polaris in next-gen consoles - and only received a smile, and a reply of something along the lines of 'we can't talk about that right now'.
The more interesting thing here is that we could see Microsoft reveal a next-gen console, powered by AMD technology. We haven't had any confirmation or even many rumors on a next-gen Xbox, so this will be the thing to watch for at E3, in my opinion.
AMD winning these design wins with semi-custom chips makes sense, as they have the APU solution - not just the GPU like NVIDIA does. AMD have been heading towards more power efficient solutions, with Polaris steered towards a course in that direction. 85W while pumping 1080p 60FPS is pretty damn good, so we should expect all three next-gen consoles to be power efficient, and at least 1080p 60FPS in the performance side of things.