Today the curtain falls on 3dfx Interactive as archrival, NVIDIA, has purchased certain 3dfx assets, including the Voodoo Brand name, graphics technology and patents for the sum of $70 million and $42 million worth of NVIDIA stock.
Here is the low down: under the terms of the agreement, NVIDIA will pay to 3dfx a total consideration of $70 million in cash and one million shares of NVIDIA common stock. The asset acquisition has been approved by the board of directors of each company and is subject to 3dfx shareholder approval, the satisfaction of regulatory requirements and other customary closing conditions. This acquisition will be accounted for as a purchase and according to the press release, will be completed by Q1 of NVIDIA's fiscal year 2002.
If you think back to a few months, when 3dfx bought Gigapixel for 15.6 million common shares and options on 3dfx stock, you can see that that story did not have a happy ending. Perhaps 3dfx was banking on Microsoft choosing to go with the Gigapixel technology for the X-box, or that tiled architecture was their ticket into the set top box market, but it was just one gamble too many. In any case, NVIDIA booked their X-Box spot with their xGPU.
How long have you been playing games on your PC? And I don't mean Barbie Fashion designer, Mine Sweeper and/or Solitaire. I am referring to Quake (and all the sequels), Unreal Tournament and so on. Real games that require a lot of polys and require the use of a 3D accelerator. Back in late 1996, November to be precise, I slapped in a Voodoo Graphics card, played some "3D accelerated Quake and Tomb Raider". That was the start. Voodoo Graphics, tri-linear filtering, Voodoo2, SLI and then... well it went rather downhill from there. Stuck in 16-bit, the Voodoo Banshee, the expensive TV adverts, the Voodoo3 (Banshee2) and finally the Voodoo5. One year too little and two late...
The reaction to this news has been widespread, both on our own www.sharkyforums.com and in our Emails. But there is no need to dwell on what went wrong. (Even though I remember doing a Voodoo5 preview some months ago and catching myself questioning whether or not there would ever be another 3dfx Immersion developer conference do, which had become such a fixture at GDC. Guess not...)
Everyone has their own opinion and putting two and two together might not be too difficult in this instance as to why things have ended the way they have. In any case, the positives are etched firmly in my memories and what good memories 3dfx do indeed leave me with. So cheerio 3dfx and 3Dfx (in particular). You were once truly the first and still the only original idiot savants of the 3D graphics scene, pushing this 3D technology into game developer's hands and ultimately into consumers PCI slots (you never really did work out that whole AGP thing...) with Voodoo Graphics and Voodoo2. You were the first to do it right and for the longest period the ONLY real choice. You were the best when silly marketing and six month schedules didn't get the better of you. You knew how to party as well. Those were the days and we salute you!