With many people heralding Kronos’s new Vulkan API as the pathway to a games industry free of operating system and platform exclusives, backing Direct X 12 into a corner of its own exclusionary desires, is a new era of exclusives soon to be upon us? More importantly, could Nvidia or AMD theoretically fund games which would only run on their brands of graphics cards?
Now, the games industry has been a battle of exclusivity pretty much from its inception, whether you were rubbing it in your mate’s face that only you could play Pud Pud in Weird World on your ZX spectrum or Sonic on your Genesis, blood has been spilt and fortunes made depending on which developers you could get to take an oath of allegiance.
Despite the eden like possibilities that Valve software developer Dan Ginsburg says Vulkan is taking us towards (and that we should drop DX12 like a 2nd hand condom), are just a new set of companies going to move in and kidnap Banjo & Kazooie?
To be fair there are a number of reasons that could potentially indicate that graphics cards might be the new battlefield. With Nvidia already dipping its toe in murky depths of exclusives. Games like Carnival VR, an Nvidia-exclusive Fallout 4 mod, and the notorious Nvidia Gameworks features. Perhaps these are a portent of things to come.
Will AMD retaliate? Picture this for a second. Rockstar takes to the stage and announces Grand Theft Auto 6 is coming to PC. Only, there's a twist. The familiar green banner of Nvidia unfurls and CEO Jen-Hsun Huang takes to the stage to sensationally reveal it will only only work for PC gamers with a GeForce graphics card. A horror show, to be sure, and the level of frothing outrage would bring the internet tumbling to its knees. But here's the important bit - would you still end up making sure your next graphics card was a GeForce so you could play GTA 6? Come on, you know you'd be tempted.
But then imagine needing to have two PCs set up at the same time. One to play GeForce games, the other play an AMD exclusive DOOM sequel. In essence it's no different to what Oculus is trying with its Rift exclusives.
Would that be a blunder or business genius? Could it even ever happen? And what graphics card exclusive would you get to switch to Nvidia or AMD? Let us know!