Recently, I had a chance to chat with Andrej Zdravkovic, Corporate VP Software at AMD. We talked about The Gaming Garage powered by AMD, next generation consoles, cloud gaming and recently announced AMD products. Read on to learn more!
Jon Scarr: Thank you for taking the time out of your busy schedule to talk with us. For our readers that might not know, can you tell us a little bit about yourself? And, how you got to the role you are at today with AMD?
Andrej Zdravkovic: My role at AMD is dual. I am corporate Vice President Software, with a focus on graphics software. However, I’m also the lead for the AMD office and presence in Canada. Our AMD office has a very significant presence in Canada with over 2000 engineers and growing. We also have over 100 students from various Universities around the Toronto area.
I previously worked with the company here in Toronto for 10 years. At that time, the company was known as ATI. It was before the AMD and ATI merger. I came back to the company almost 4 years ago to help build AMD software for graphics.
The Gaming Garage and AMD
JS: This is the third year for The Gaming Garage. Every year it keeps growing and becoming more popular. Can you tell me a little bit about AMD’s involvement with The Gaming Garage and how that came about?
AZ: Yes, this is the third year for The Gaming Garage at the CNE. And, this is the second year that it’s “Powered by AMD”. A few years ago, the CNE started introducing new content to their offering. And, they started with an idea of having a presentation of computers and gaming. Likewise, AMD had its own showcase of technology. Through various discussions with CNE, we both agreed to merge these two events into one. And, this is how The Gaming Garage Powered by AMD was created.
As you know, there are many different gaming and technology trade shows that we show our products at. However, the goal of The Gaming Garage is to allow the average person to be able to see and experience AMD’s technology first hand.
The Gaming Garage allows us to showcase what we develop here in Canada, which includes the best possible gaming technology available. Also, it gives an opportunity for the younger generation visiting to show the older generation what gaming is all about.
The evolution of The Gaming Garage
JS: How do you see The Gaming Garage expanding or evolving over the next several years?
AZ: There are a few ways in which The Gaming Garage is and can be expanded. This year, we expanded in volume. We have over 200 of the latest desktop computers for various aspects of free play. That means, anybody at the CNE can walk into The Gaming Garage and play on the latest AMD technology.
We also want to show all of Canada that AMD is very present and an important part of the Toronto technology scene with products that evolve in time. As a result, we introduced something new this year called The AMD Experience Area. In this area, you can see the evolution of AMD products from very old computer systems playing old games to the very best and latest in technology.
Through our partnership with Microsoft, we were able to have playable demos to the public of their upcoming Gears 5 game. We also showed were the future of gaming is going. Currently gaming is done on a console or PC, which supports our products.
We also support cloud gaming, which is a new technology coming out from various partners such as Google Stadia. While we couldn’t show Google Stadia technology as that is still under wraps, we did show AMD solutions for cloud gaming. These include powerful graphics cards on the server that allow for some very impressive gaming on basic machines. With cloud gaming you can use a low-end PC and still experience the very best in technology from AMD.
Also, we are providing new technology related to our software offerings that allow you to stream our games from your PC to your phone. This allows you to take your games while you are at home on your Wi-Fi network and game anywhere you want.
Upcoming AMD products and technology
JS: Let’s talk about some of AMD’s upcoming products and technology. As we know, AMD has a major presence in gaming. It has been announced that AMD will be supplying custom APUs for the next generation PlayStation and Xbox consoles as well as the GPUs for Google Stadia. Can you comment on what it is like working with each of these companies and developing these custom chips?
AZ: From an engineering point of view, working for AMD means that you are working with the most advanced technology partners around the world. So, working together with both PlayStation and Xbox on the products that are going to fit into their consoles is a very motivating form of a joint development where ideas come together.
As I mentioned earlier, Microsoft let us show one of their latest games before its released. Working together we come up with the best combination of the most advanced hardware product we have to offer, which includes a very in-depth and advanced software to support it.
AMD products fine tuned for gaming
JS: At E3 2019 we heard about the new third generation of Ryzen desktop processors and the Radeon 5700 series of GPUs. Outside of offering faster clock speed and great performance, how have these products been specifically fine tuned for gaming? Are there any advanced tools that have been given to developers that make it easy to take advantage of these new products?
AZ: In addition to new CPU and GPU products offering more memory and faster clock speeds, its more about innovation. As a standard, AMD is very open and we create tools that help developers to take advantage of our products. As a result, we release the source code and libraries for these tools so that developers can further fine tune these tools to optimize their games.
JS: Thanks for your time, Andrej!