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CPU and GPU giants like Intel and Nvidia need to lay off Arm

CPU and GPU giants like Intel and Nvidia need to lay off Arm

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From Nvidia and Arm to Microsoft and Activision Blizzard, there’s been a lot of talk of mergers and acquisitions in the gaming and tech industries lately. After all, integration is expendable, and the bigwigs are gobbling up studios until they end up being one giant, amorphous tech conglomerate. When will it end?

Earlier this year, we saw Take-Two Interactive announce its intention to acquire Zynga, a Farmville company. We’ve also seen Microsoft acquire Mojang and its Minecraft IP separately in 2014, merge with Bethesda’s parent company Zenimax in 2020, and most recently, the tech giant responsible for Windows bought Activision/Blizzard for $68.7 billion.

For now, there’s no reason to suggest that Microsoft’s acquisition of Call of Duty/World of Warcraft/Overwatch studios won’t go ahead, but there may be some roadblocks ahead. We’ve seen this happen when Nvidia recently pulled out of a $40 billion merger with chip company Arm. The trouble started from the start, when big customers like Google, Samsung and Qualcomm were unhappy with the GPU group, which has a much-needed component supplier. It now appears that Intel wants to succeed where Nvidia failed. But everyone needs to leave Arm alone.

Now, to be fair, Intel has said it wants a consortium rather than an outright acquisition of Arm, but the reality is that any big hardware company that wants to power over the chipmaker could have consequences for the average gamer. It may not seem like it, but the opportunity for tech companies to partner with the Cambridge-based company has the potential to spark a ripple effect that affects gaming. To understand this, we need to know what Arm is and to whom it supplies.

In short: Arm Ltd is a British semiconductor company that develops processors. Its products are used in the technology hardware we use every day, including smartphones, tablets, laptops, and more. Its customer base includes some of the world’s largest tech companies, such as AMD, IBM, Huawei, Microsoft, Apple, as well as Nvidia and Intel; two giants that show a vested interest in the company.

As you can imagine, looking at such a large list of licensees, it’s clear that Arm is a formidable force when it comes to computer technology, including gaming. As one of its own rivals, Intel stands to gain a lot from a consortium with Arm, especially given that the former’s profit margins are expected to decline this year. It’s probably no coincidence that the CPU group is interested in partnering with one of the world’s largest chip companies at a time when revenue appears to be falling.

Consider what would happen to the game if one of Arm’s competitors had some control over it, or even bought it outright. When looking at what’s happening in the gaming industry, we know exactly what happens when a publisher powerhouse owns a smaller studio. Horror fans are grieving the loss of the Dead Space franchise after the third installment proved fatal to its developer Visceral Games.

Arm could end up like Dead Space 3 developer Visceral Games if swallowed by bigwigs

EA’s insistence on making a ton of “flavor of the month” changes resulted in the demise of Dead Space 3 and the closure of the studio behind it. It shows how unstoppable some of the biggest names in the industry are. Those at the top of the ivory tower won’t suffer consequences for the game’s unpopularity. Who knows how the structure of game development will change over the years as more and more studios are annexed.

But that’s software. How did Intel, who owns a hardware company, get into it? Well, there is no doubt that the world is still in a technology shortage. Things that are expected to continue into next year. Anyone trying to buy an AMD or Nvidia graphics card, or even a current-generation console, will know that it’s either not available or has to pay more than retail for the privilege.

Shortages aside, Intel is also launching its own line of GPUs, so the opportunity to partner with a key chipmaker makes sense. But imagine what this could lead to in the long run. That’s not to say Intel will deliberately block its own rivals, but given the backlash Nvidia faced when it tried to merge with Arm, it’s possible that Pat Gelsinger and his colleagues could turn the market in its favor, although it doesn’t call it for “merge”. At least not yet.

Given that both the Xbox Series X|S and PS5 use AMD processors for their CPUs and GPUs, is it possible that Intel might take some form to strengthen its rivals? It’s speculation, but with persistent deficits, it’s not beyond imagination that a tech company wants to make sure it gets its own product’s components first on a zero basis. Even though the Nintendo Switch uses Nvidia products, as far as gaming goes, the current console doesn’t seem to have any contact with Intel processors.

Check out the best graphics cards and the best gaming CPUs here

Yes, PC gamers can still use Intel hardware, including upcoming graphics cards, but what about those who want an AMD Ryzen or Nvidia RTX 3000 series? If a single company tried to gain a little power over the likes of Arm Ltd, what would the reality for gamers be? Obviously, a company like Intel wants to get a product into the hands of as many consumers as possible, but does that mean it’s entirely its own?

It’s worth keeping a close eye on such deals, as Nvidia’s attempted acquisition of Arm and the request for the FTC to monitor the recent Microsoft and Activision/Blizzard mergers have shown. As gamers, we should be more concerned about Arm getting the attention of companies like Intel and Nvidia. Putting the British company in the pockets of another might seem like a good idea in terms of profits and general business acumen, but as far as the game itself is concerned, it doesn’t bode well in terms of usability and choice. There could be a real danger that Nvidia, AMD, and other companies that rely on these products could restrict the manufacture of graphics cards, CPUs, smartphones, and game consoles in some way. We would be better off without this concept.

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Kirsten Bennett
Kirsten is a passionate writer who loves games, and one day he decided to combine the two. She is now professionally writing niche articles about Consoles and hardware .