After Nvidia kicked off its very first GeForce Lan event last month, we sat down with Vishal Dhupar, managing director for Nvidia, South Asia and spoke to him at length about gaming in India, graphic cards, the PC vs. Console debate and lots more.
How does NVIDIA intend to promote gaming in India? What other tournaments is NVIDIA a part of?
Our products and technologies have seen a tremendous pick-up in India and we are convinced that India has a latent potential for gaming to really take-off. In order to cultivate gaming here and engage with enthusiasts we have initiated various platforms.
In the summer of 2011, NVIDIA kicked off the NVIDIA Gaming League. This tournament had gaming afficionados battling it out against each other in 25 gaming cafes across India including the cities of New Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Chennai, Indore, Rajkot, Jaipur and Chandigarh. The winner at each of the cafes in these cities including participated in the Grand Finale that was organised at BYOC in June and stood a chance to win Rs. 1 Lakh worth prizes from NVIDIA!
Getting their game on at NVIDIA's GeForce lan
And, this winter, NVIDIA is back with a bang! For the first time ever, NVIDIA has expanded the GeForce LAN gaming tournament beyond US shores. India was the obvious choice because of the explosion in gaming’s popularity and the market’s preference for PC gaming. We received an overwhelming response. More than 600 gamers from not only India but also Sri Lanka, Malaysia and Singapore battled it out to be the ultimate gamer. Another interesting trend that we saw is the enthusiasm growing amongst female gamers. In fact, 10 percent of all registered participants were girls. The response we received for the maiden edition of GeForce LAN is overwhelmingly positive and we will continue to look for opportunities to engage with gaming fans.
Do you think people can make money through competitive gaming in India the way they do in the West?
Gaming has begun to be seen as a sport in its own right –an ‘e-sport’ if you will. Like athletes, professional gamers rely not only on their skill in winning tournaments but also on sponsorship to make a living. Even in the West, gaming tournaments with big cash prizes are not too numerous and most professional gamers supplement this income with sponsorship deals and public appearances. Being a professional gamer is not just a case of having outstanding gaming skills – hopefuls need to market themselves to potential sponsors. It’s just a matter of time before charismatic gamers in India succeed in doing this and we begin seeing sponsored teams and individuals making their mark on local and international tournaments.
SRK unveiling the Ra.One themed card at the GeForce lan
What tournament/event plans does NVIDIA have for the future?
NVIDIA proactively innovates and ideates events and tournaments for gamers across the globe. The NVIDIA Gaming League in India and GeForce StarCraft II Pro/Am online tournament were two such events which NVIDIA organized earlier this year. And, we have now extended the GeForce LAN format to India for the first time in 6 years, since it was launched in the US. We had a fabulous response from gamers across India and even from other regions in Asia.
We continuously look forward to engaging with gamers and providing them with great hardware and software support. We intend to make gaming leagues and events an annual affair for constantly liaising with gamers across the globe for the development of the gaming community.
Is 3D the future of gaming? Do you have tie ups with 3D monitor manufacturers?
When you think about it, 3D Vision is a no-brainer – so far, we’ve put all this technology into making games 3D then projected them back into 2D for the player! It just doesn’t make sense, so we’ve fixed it. NVIDIA brought 3D Vision technology to the Indian market this year and the reception has been fantastic – the level of immersion and engagement it brings to gaming has made it a must-have for enthusiasts.
NVIDIA has always believed in creating an ecosystem to provide for gamers with the best graphics experience. For this, we closely collaborate with our OEM partners including Acer, ASUS, Samsung, LG, ViewSonic to deliver the latest 3D product offerings. We have always attempted to expand these partnerships for 3D monitors to 3D-enabled desktops, notebooks, HDTVs and projectors.
Do you your games in 3D?
What's the cheapest graphics card that will allow gamers to experience games in 3D?
Most of the graphics cards in NVIDIA’s GeForce series are 3D-enabled and offer a wide variety of configurations to its users. This helps consumers decide on price-performance ratio they require for their gaming rigs. Keeping this in mind, NVIDIA has recently launched two graphics cards within the range of INR 9,500 to 15,000. The NVIDIA GTX 550 Ti and the GTX 560 Ti are highly recommended for gaming to gamers since they support technologies like 3D Vision Surround, CUDA, DirectX 11, PhysX and SLI. Moreover, both these Blu-ray 3D-ready cards have fared ‘excellence’ in 3D gaming and are additionally ideal for 3D Picture viewing and web-video streaming.
When does the next generation of GeForce cards arrive? Will it be called the GeForce 600 series?
After inventing the GPU, the ‘Fermi’ architecture by NVIDIA was an entirely new design from the gound-up. It is the foundation for the world’s first computational graphics processing units (GPUs), delivering breakthroughs in both graphics and GPU computing. ‘Fermi’ delivers a feature set that accelerates performance on a wider array of computational applications than ever before.
Why the sudden shift to the mobile platform? Do you think gaming on the tablet is the way to go? Does this mean your focus is shifting away from the PC?
Recently there has been immense growth in the amount and variety of content that is available on the internet. Consumers expect their mobile devices to not only deliver long battery life but also provide the same full high definition experience that they get from a PC. Today, gaming isn’t confined to desktops or consoles. The scope of playing games has widened to other gadgets like tablets and smartphones. Consumers have already started tapping on the ‘mobility’ factor while looking out for their gaming needs. In India, NVIDIA Tegra 2 processor is integrated in devices like the LG Optimus 2X, Motorola XOOM and Acer ICONIA Tab A500. With the Tegra Zone Android app for NVIDIA Tegra-powered mobile devices, users can find games that are optimized to exploit the full potential of the Tegra mobile processor.
In fact NVIDIA’s engagement with mobile devices is just an extension of our fundamental commitment to gamers, regardless of platform or hardware. We want to reach as many gamers as possible to ensure they have an outstanding experience whether they’re gaming on a PC, a notebook, a phone or a tablet.
Will consoles ever replace your beloved PC?
What is your stance on console gaming? Do you think it has the potential to kill off PC gaming?
There is always talk about consoles killing of the PC, but right now it’s stronger than ever! The current generation of consoles has been around for a while and the next batch is still years away. That gives the PC a technological advantage which will just grow and grow, since console technology remains static while the PC continues to evolve. That means gamers who want the latest features, graphics and advantages will start migrating to the PC platform, while PC developers and publishers will increasingly chose the PC as the lead platform for their flagship titles. Console gaming certainly has its place, but for gamers looking for the crème de la crème, the PC will always be first choice.
Thank you for your time.