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Nintendo selects S3 texture comp. for next-gen console

Could have had 3dfx's for free

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Top marks to S3 for rushing out a release informing us all of Nintendo's decision to license its S3TC texture compression technology in Dolphin, the in-development successor to the Nintendo N64. However, Nintendo will have to wear the dunce's cap and stand in the corner for paying S3 for technology it could have got from S3's rival, 3dfx, for free. A couple of weeks back, as we reported here, 3dfx unveiled its FXT1 texture compression technology under an open source licence, allowing anyone, including rival 3D vendors, to use it in their own products. Naturally, 3dfx claims FXT1 is superior to S3TC, and indeed its use of multiple compression algorithms depending on the nature of the texture to be compressed and its smaller compressed-texture format (check out our previous story for the full specs.) make it seem a better choice than S3TC, quite apart from its open source availability. Still, S3 loses some points too for its inability to offer a consistent message. In today's release, Andrew Wolfe, the company's CTO, said: "Our agreements with companies like Nintendo, Intel and Microsoft show we're an emerging leader [our italics] in the push to define video game and PC technology." Wolfe must clearly work for a different S3 than the one described by Paul Franklin, president of S3's Multimedia Business Unit, in a release outlining IBM's decision to use Savage 4 in its upcoming business PC lines as having returned "to market leadership in 1999". Leader -- or not-yet-leader? Come on, S3, make up your mind... ®

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