Future titans of the Metaverse: Part 8
Updated: Nov 11, 2022
In this ongoing series we explore the past, present and potential future of the largest players in the Metaverse. Today, we’re taking a look at American multinational technology company Nvidia.
Nvidia Corporation was founded on the 5th of April 1993 by Jensen Huang, Chris Malachowsky, and Curtis Priem. Huang, previously of LSI Logic, a semiconductor and software designer that went public in 1983 with an IPO of $153 million, and semiconductor company Advanced Micro Devices (AMD), is currently serving as CEO. Malachowsky, previously of American multinational information technology company’s Hewlett-Packard and Sun Microsystems, is currently Senior Vice President for Engineering and Operations, and Priem, also previously of Sun Microsystems, and previously Nvidia’s Chief Technical Officer, retired from the company in 2003.
Nvidia was founded on the belief that the next wave of computing was accelerated, or graphics-based computing, because it could solve problems that general-purpose computing could not. After an initial $20 million of funding from investors, including American venture capital firm Sequoia Capital, and the release of a successful range of graphics card processors or Graphics Processing Units (GPUs) that solidified Nvidia's reputation in this area, The company went public on the 22nd of January 1999.
Since its IPO, Nvidia has been notably acquisitive of chip designers and manufacturers, including Exluna, MediaQ, iReady, ULI Electronics, Hybrid Graphics, Ageia, and Icera. Since 2014, however, Nvidia has diversified its business by focusing on gaming; automotive electronics, and mobile devices. Earlier this year, Nvidia’s $40 billion acquisition of Softbank-owned, British chip designer and Apple-supplier ARM, which would have been the largest semiconductor deal on record, fell through against a backdrop of global regulatory scrutiny.
So where does the Metaverse feature in Nvidia’s plans? And are they following the same roadmap to Metaverse dominance as rival chipmaker Qualcomm? As previously reported on themetabite.com, Qualcomm’s Snapdragon Metaverse Fund has supported the creation of hardware, developer tools and access to venture capital. Effectively creating an ecosystem of XR developers focused and incentivised to create Metaverse applications based on Qualcomm hardware and tools.
Nvidia’s Metaverse-enabling Omniverse platform, is the company’s suite of cloud services purpose-built for metaverse applications, such as the creation of three-dimensional immersive and virtual worlds. Nvidia recently unveiled Omniverse-based simulations for developing, testing and managing artificial-intelligence-based robots (Isaac Sim) and autonomous vehicles (DRIVEIVE Sim) at Nvidia’s annual GPU Technology Conference (known as GTC). This is the company’s first software-and infrastructure-as-a-service offering, which is already being used by the likes of Siemens, Europe’s largest industrial manufacturer, and Croatian luxury carmaker Rimac. In addition, Nvidia’s OVX solutions are specifically designed to power large-scale digital twin simulations, which replicate real-world spaces in a Metaverse environment.
Nvidia’s focus on industry has been ratified by Rev Lebaredian, vice president of Omniverse and simulation technology at Nvidia, who recently said that “[While] there's already plenty of understanding or at least discussion and enthusiasm around building a metaverse that has gaming and social kinds of experiences, there's very little public discourse about how the metaverse will help industries. That doesn't mean that our technology stack isn't applicable to things outside of the industrial use cases, it's just where our focus is”.
Whatever the future holds for Nvidia, if the Metaverse is, at the very minimum, a three-dimensional iteration of the internet, then backing a company that specialises in chipsets that render high-resolution, photorealistic three-dimensional objects and environments might prove to be a safe bet.