Doom 3 and Nvidia

Doom 3 came out last week. It looks really nice, gameplay is the same old, and the multiplayer is laggy as crap over broadband. Its release has wider implications though. The short of it is that now looks to be a good time to pick up NVDA shares.

Remember a couple years ago, how Nvidia was the darling of the video card industry and ATI was the red-headed step child? Now remember how those sentiments reversed themselves practically overnight when the NV30 (GeForceFX) cards were released? There’s no consumer loyalty in this industry, and being made up of predominantly teen and pre-teen males, they are strongly succeptible to peer pressure.

It was hard for anybody to understand how Nvidia could charge so much for a card that was late, an underperformer, took up two slots and had a cooling solution as loud as a vacuum. It got so bad that their marketing people even released an unofficial video making fun of themselves.

Well it all makes sense now. Turns out that John Carmack requested certain Doom 3 features be implemented in hardware, which Nvidia agreed to do, architecting the NV30 with his requests in mind. They were then left holding the bag for about 18 months, the length of time that Doom 3 was late coming to market. I guess you could say NV30 was ahead of its time.

Well it’s paying off in spades now. You see, Doom 3 should really be looked at as a technology demo for its game engine. Since Quake, id has been licensing their engines to third party developers, and Doom 3’s engine is no exception. Their only other real competitor in this respect is Epic, with their Unreal Engine 3. However, the first game based on UE3 isn’t expected to be released until 2006.

Which means that the majority of “next-generation” games that will be released in the next couple of years will be based on the Doom 3 engine. Good for Nvidia, bad for ATI. Just skimming review sites and forums, I already feel the rumblings of the tide turning against ATI, which is why I picked up some NVDA shares on Monday @ $9.55. We’ll see how that goes.


  1. Russian CO-OP says:

    I would say it is better to invest in ATI when it hits low, because you know it WILL recover. 🙂

  2. Dave says:

    I dunno, Carmack seems to give preferential treatment to NVDA, which is dangerous for ATI. It means NVDA gets inside information, and ATI can’t can’t come out with a card that outperforms until the next hardware refresh. They only win when it’s near the end of life for current game engines, and Carmack is late delivering the next generation.

    So you’re right if you think ATI’s engineering team is stronger than NVDA’s, and that NVDA only dominates because they get that inside info. If so, then yeah, the best time to buy ATI is when NVDA is the industry darling (say about 6-12 months from now).