On March 20th, it was announced that Stadia would be using chips from AMD (Advanced Micro Devices) for powering its Stadia systems. Naturally this confidence caused the share price for AMD to rise quite considerably, but by the end of the day things had cooled off and AMD’s gains from the news had faded.
Currently AMD is known for supplying the custom APUs (accelerated processing units) in Microsoft’s Xbox One and Sony’s Playstation 4. These are designed to merge both the CPU and the GPU for the systems onto a single die, which has the effect of making the production process more cost effective and efficient.
AMD has now confirmed that Google Stadia will be using custom-built Radeon GPUs and x86 CPUs (the latter not being supplied by AMD), described as a “custom 2.7GHz hyper-threaded x86 CPU with AVX2 SIMD and 9.5MB L2+L3 cache“. While the use of Intel has not, as of yet, been officially confirmed, the Intel trademarked “Hyper Threading” has been referred to in the description of the CPU system and so it is highly likely that Intel is indeed involved in the CPU building process.
On the surface, this all looks like a very good setup for AMD Gaming with a new client on a (hopefully) highly popular system. However, the answer in this case is not so simple.
The nature of cloud gaming means that less CPUs will be required and by now, both Sony and Microsoft have hinted that their next consoles will be based on the concept of cloud gaming. The real question here should thus be, “can the increasing sales of GPUs for cloud data centers make up for the loss of sales on CPUs”.
That, of course, will be a problem for the AMD investors to think about and tackle carefully. Because if cloud gaming does take off and change the market, the future for AMD Gaming may not be quite as bright as it is now after all.