Intel may utilise its esports partner heft to support its maiden graphics card venture with Intel Xe in 2020. With an already mighty investment in the esports world, Intel is hoping its significant reach with professional gamers and their fans could be help it showcase what it’s brand new GPU can do.
“As esports is it gives us that platform to showcase all our new technologies,” Scott Gillingham, UK Gaming and Esports lead at Intel, says. “So it’s always been CPU-centric, we are now bringing Optane memory products, now we can showcase that to them, WiFi 6 again. And as more discrete graphics card products come from us, we’re able to showcase that technology at those events.”
For many hardware partners investing in esports, product visibility is numero uno. Intel, too, finds it partnership conducive to sales, and a place to showcase its products in an environment that insinuates peak performance. But, as Gillingham explains, it also sees the esports landscape as a testing ground for new technologies throughout the company’s product stack – everything from GPU to datacentre.
“Esports is a great platform for us to showcase the latest and greatest gaming technology with our partners, to the community” Gillingham says.
“What a lot of people sometimes forget, or probably don’t know, is that Intel powers esports end-to-end. So for these online tournaments to happen, and for stadium tournaments to happen, there needs to be a lot of tech in the background to produce and create that. And that’s where our Xeon data centre technologies and our Intel storage, again, comes into play to power esports. And that’s a big growing businesses as more and more tournaments happen online, more and more live tournaments and stadiums happen, technologies need to be able to power and create that. And it’s about future technologies that we’re going to bring to transform esports.”
Headed up by ex-AMD Radeon chief Raja Koduri, Intel is preparing to launch its first discrete graphics card, Intel Xe, next year. The first batch of GPUs out of the company’s fabs will be hoping to find their footing in gaming PCs, and swipe a little of the lucrative GPU market from AMD and Nvidia before graduating into the data centre.
Intel Xe was recently teased for a June 2020 release date by Koduri… either that or he wanted to show off his Tesla’s rear-end. Either way, Intel is reportedly on track to launch Xe next year, with another Architecture Day set for early in the year.
But if it’s to convince gamers that its graphics card is worth its salt when that day comes, it will need to show rather than tell… and maybe its carefully cultivated esports community is an easy inroad into the market.