NVidia purchases gaming physics processor maker PhysX

Graphics card producer NVidia confirmed late yesterday it is purchasing Ageia Technologies, the first producer of so-called "physics processors" for 3D gamers, for an undisclosed amount.

Ageia Technologies is best known for its PhysX processor, which is supported by popular games such as Gears of War, the Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon series, and Unreal Tournament 3. Working under NVidia's wing will help the company properly implement PhysX into future product launches, which should result in a broader target market.

"Both Ageia and NVidia share the same commitment and passion for making the gaming experience dynamic and vivid," said Marti Miernik, Ageia spokesperson, in a statement to BetaNews this afternoon. "The combination of graphics and physics impacts the way a virtual world looks and behaves, thus driving the end-user experience. By combining Ageia's powerful PhysX technology with NVidia's industry-leading GPU architectures, we will ensure that gamers and developers alike take advantage of the most compelling physics on the market." Currently, the PhysX chip is utilized in all three next-gen game consoles available on the market today: the Microsoft Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and Nintendo Wii. More than 140 game titles currently shipping support PhysX.

NVidia's purchase will set up a competition with Intel, which purchased Havok last September, although Havok's processor is geared more toward professional applications such as high-quality animation.

BFG Technologies has yet to comment on the deal; it produces OEM graphics cards for NVidia as well as its own PhysX-based physics card, and may or may not be impacted. Ageia also declined comment on future OEM products. NVidia will hold a phone conference later this week to discuss its purchase.

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