In the last week, both Microsoft and Sony have had some interesting information leaked regarding their next home consoles. The only problem with leaked information is the legitimacy of it, and in this case, the possible conflict of interest they raise. With both supposed specification sheets listing AMD as the supplier of both the CPU and GPU in both Sony and Microsoft’s next generation consoles, people started questioning things. On top of this, AMD is also the GPU supplier for Nintendo’s latest console: The Wii U.
In an interesting turn of events, the industry may have confirmation of these supposed specification sheets from a rather obscure place. In a recent injunctive filed against multiple ex-AMD employees, information regarding AMD contracts with all three major console manufactures; Nintendo, Sony and Microsoft have come to light.
AMD has filed suit against four ex-employee’s; Robert Feldstein, Manoo Desai, Nicholas Kociuk, and Richard Hagen, for allegedly stealing thousands of confidential documents before being hired to work for AMD’s top competitor, Nvidia.
The complaint states:
"He [Feldstein] transferred sensitive AMD documents, and in the next six months, the three defendants either did the same thing, violated ‘no-solicitation of employees’ promises, or both — all obvious violations of common law, statute, and/or contracts with AMD.” AMD claims to have forensic evidence that three of the four defendants transferred more than 10,000 confidential files in total, with the names of the files in question matching “either identically or very closely to the names of files on their AMD systems that include obviously confidential, proprietary, and/or trade secret materials related to developing technology.”
The most important character in this case would have to be Robert Feldstein, as he has head AMD’s console program since the acquisition of ATI during the development of the Xbox 360, and more recently acquired contracts for the Nintendo Wii U, Sony Playstation 4 and Microsoft Xbox Durango.
This is the possible smoking gun when it comes to all three of these platforms utilizing AMD based technology. No words yet on Nvidias possible involvement or incentive behind any of this (it is rather odd that all four perpetrators left right after they stole information), but be sure to check back later for any updates on this case.
So what does this mean for next generation consoles as of now? It could be interesting to see if either Sony or Microsoft makes any hardware changes or contractual changes based on any leaked information they may have gotten their hands on regarding competitors prospected hardware plans. More importantly for Nintendo, AMD being responsible for the GPU technology in both Sony and Microsoft’s next generation hardware would make cross platform development (and downscaling) onto the Wii U great for the consoles third party support.
What are everyone’s thoughts on this? Think it will have an effect on either Sony or Microsoft’s (still in development) projects? Let me know by subscribing to me here and following me on twitter @NicholasGigante.