DirectX Installation Base
Of course, the market shares show the dynamics of the company. But to be the leader, you also have to have your solutions installed in user PCs – this is the parameter considered by game developers to determine the platform or platforms to create new games for.
Talking about high-performance DirectX 9.0 solutions, those that don’t have DirectX 9 support just for show, but do provide an acceptable level of performance, ATI shipped about 85% of them from August 2002 to September 2003, while NVIDIA – about 15%. As the calculations were based on open as well as closed info (no one kept track of DirectX 9 graphics cards in the market until the second quarter of 2003), some fluctuations are possible, but anyway the trend is clear – ATI has gained superiority in shipments of high-performance DirectX 9.0 GPUs.
As for inexpensive DirectX 9.0 accelerators, where DirectX 9.0 support is mostly for marketing reasons, rather than a real option (I mean graphics cards of GeForce FX 5200 and RADEON 9600 SE classes as well as inexpensive cards on the GeForce FX 5600 and RADEON 9600), NVIDIA is on top having shipped 72% of such devices, while ATI – only 28%.
If we summed up the numbers (low-cost and expensive DirectX 9.0 GPUs), NVIDIA would have 59%, while ATI – 41%.
The numbers suggest that the enthusiastic users all around the world have liked the produce of ATI Technologies with partners and have got some scruples about NVIDIA. It’s no secret it’s very hard to develop a new graphics processor, but it is even harder to convince the potential buyer to become an actual one. NVIDIA has to make up leeway, which is going to be a daunting task, as it was the GeForce brand that helped the company much in the previous year rather than technical superiority. The third player, XGI, is going to have an even harder time competing with both ATI and NVIDIA. While ATI enjoys the customers’ trust, and NVIDIA is repairing it by releasing the automatic shader optimizer, XGI won’t be able to offer either. It is also unlikely to offer high speeds, comparable to the leaders.