UPDATED: PhysX founder joins AMD

Nvidia's PhysX technology may have ruled the hardware-accelerated physics kingdom for the last couple of years, but AMD has now nabbed the guy who started PhysX in the first place.

The chap in question is Manju Hegde, formerly Nvidia's vice president for PhysX and CUDA marketing. A spokesperson from Nvidia has just confirmed to THINQ that Hegde is "No longer at Nvidia," and another well-informed spokesperson close to the situation has just confirmed to us that Hegde has just started work at AMD at the vice president level. The confirmation follows yesterday's report from KitGuru.

Hegde was the original founder of Ageia in 2002; the company which developed the first physics processing unit (PPU) and kick-started the idea of hardware-accelerated physics in games.

Although not many games supported Ageia's original PPU, it highlighted the potential for physics in games. Intel spotted this and soon bought gaming physics company Havok, which in turn prompted Nvidia to buy Ageia in 2008.

It then didn't take long for Ageia's hardware-accelerated PhysX technology to be ported over to Nvidia's CUDA architecture. It's since been featured in a number of games, including Mirror's Edge, Batman: Arkham Asylum and Bionic Commando. However, it's still yet to become a common standard in PC gaming.

It doesn't help that AMD's GPUs don't support CUDA, and hence can't support PhysX at the moment. Could this change with Hegde's input? Hegde was a major player in Nvidia's GPU compute team, and AMD certainly needs to improve its hardware accelerated-physics strategy if it wants to compete with Nvidia.

AMD is currently trying to push its open physics initiative, and is giving away free physics tools to game developers too. The recruitment of such a big figure in gaming physics into AMD's fold could potentially help developers to take AMD's approach seriously.