The chipmaker began rolling out its RTX lineup in late 2018, and early returns have looked sluggish so far. In its February earnings call, Nvidia executives said that sales of the higher-end RTX models released late last year were lower than expected, which was one concerning aspect of an overall disappointing earnings report. Nvidia shares were down 0.75% on Wednesday.
On that call, Nvidia CEO Jensen Huang was nonetheless upbeat about the RTX technology, which includes the graphics cards and a development platform that makes visual effects like ray tracing easier.
"It is true that everybody was hoping to see more games with RTX on day one," Huang admitted at the time. "But it's such a new technology with ray tracing and AI for image processing that it's only really possible to make available with new games, which is tied to the schedules of new games."
In January, Nvidia released a lower-cost RTX card, the $349 GeForce RTX 2060, that could boost sales. And at GDC, Nvidia executives had a chance to show off the technology to its main target audience: Game developers as well as players. The ability to play games that feature real-time ray tracing is one of the key selling points of the RTX lineup, and at a separate Nvidia event in San Jose, Calif. on Wednesday, a panel of executives discussed how to make the "holy grail" of real-time rendering a reality.
Meanwhile, more games with RTX support are hitting the market -- and that will go a long way in getting the technology to a wider audience, according to Martin Stich, a director of engineering at Nvidia.
Speaking to an audience at GDC, Stich showcased several demos that encapsulated the technology's ability to deliver hyper-realistic scenes.
Showing off the games' arresting visual effects, which included flames reflecting off shimmering pools of water and more natural-looking shadows, he explained in fine detail how the visual features were added in each instance. Remedy Entertainment's Control also made an appearance, along with Quake II, a classic title re-created with RTX support. Metro Exodus was released in mid-February, Battlefield V was out late last year, and Control is due out in the third quarter of 2019.
"We'll also start seeing games that are authored from the ground up with ray tracing...so that's going to make a big difference as well," he said, also pointing out that Unity and Unreal, the world's two most popular game engines, recently added ray tracing support. That, too, is expected to give the RTX lineup a boost.
"It becomes a turnkey solution; it's essentially a check box. A tiny bit more complicated than that, but not much," he added.
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