Ageia was present at ShowStoppers (a CES 2007 sideshow) showing their PhysX card along with a couple of games they have been working on very closely with game developers. We had the chance to talk to Manju Hedge, CEO of Ageia, and Marti Miernik, their Public Relations Manager. They demonstrated various split screens with and without the PhysX card enhancing the environments.
Although at this point most gamers should have been able to see Ageia’s product in action with current games our take from their demonstration was that there was from little, to more noticeable differences, depending on the game. The PhysX card seemed to excel in particle interaction with objects, more believable debris from explosions, and more accurate interaction of liquids with the environment. I must say I wasn’t astonished, which brings me to the next point I discussed with the people from Ageia, gameplay.
Ageia believes they are on a new phase where gameplay is of utmost importance to survive and continue creating sales of their product. When I asked about the hard time they are having penetrating the market, they responded that the lack of games that fully take advantage of the PhysX card was a big setback. They consider their previous work was a learning experience, phase 1 as they called it, and now they are putting much of their effort in working closely with game developers to create games with gameplay that relies on physics to create a more unique experience.
Some games they hope will bring the card back to the spotlight include CellFactor: Revolution and Warmonger Operation. Not to mention Unreal Tournament 2007 is expected to carry support for the PhysX card out of the box. While in the demo booth I played CellFactor for a while. The game graphics look great overall and physics play an important role in gameplay. I played with a character that had the ability to manipulate objects and environment with psychic powers, being able to use any object as a weapon, even direct flames towards my enemy, and to be honest I enjoyed the experience.
Despite of several hardware wins, Ageia success in 2007 remains to be seen. We wish them the best of luck.