TSMC Promises 2nd US Fab for Nvidia & Apple | Canceled Super Smash Bros Tournament Fallout Grows

the gaming tap
AnchorWhat's on Tap This Week?
  • TSMC will invest $40 billion into a pair of cutting edge chip fabs in Arizona for Nvidia & Apple
  • Nintendo finds itself navigating a PR storm after the drama of the Smash World Tour's cancellation 
  • Most Anticipated Game: Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII Reunion
  • Other News: Nvidia, Intel, Xbox & more


Source: TSMC

TSMC Promises New US Fab for Nvidia & Apple $40 billion to be invested in TSMC Arizona fabs

TSMC will invest $40 billion in Arizona and build a second cutting edge chip fabricator. Apple, Nvidia, and AMD have already signed on as customers for potentially their first high-end "Made in America" chips in recent memory. Does this mean improved supply of and reduced costs for gaming hardware in the coming years?

On the Horizon
The first TSMC Arizona fab is expected to begin 4nm chip production in 2024 (it was previously expected to produce 5nm chips by 2023). The more advanced 3nm foundry will come online in 2026. Even without the likely delays in such a massive project, these foundries will not be producing wafers for potential GPUs until the back half of the decade. TSMC’s first Arizona fab would potentially produce the next generation of video cards (Nvidia's RTX 5000 or AMD's RX 8000), but more likely the generation after that (RTX 6000 or RX 9000).

  • Nvidia’s RTX 4000 & AMD’s RX 7000 video cards use TSMC’s 5nm nodes
  • Apple’s A16 (iPhone 14) & M2 (MacBook & iPad Pro) chips are also on TSMC’s 5nm lines
  • Sony’s PS5 recently switched from TSMC’s 7nm to 6nm process
  • Xbox Series X & S use TSMC 7nm lines
The Good News: Supply Chain Resiliency
The guaranteed upside is a supply chain more resistant to Covid-like “black swan” events. Geopolitical disputes, pandemics or production mishaps in East Asia should have a reduced impact on GPU or console supply and pricing. The potential bonus is these Arizona fabs are expected to annually produce 600,000 wafers – each good for several hundred chips – by 2026. This could translate to more abundant and affordable PCs, phones, and consoles.
  • The investments are part of a larger move to produce advanced chips in the US
  • Intel is targeting a $20 billion production facility in Ohio by 2025
  • Samsung is investing $17 billion in its Texas production facility
  • Micron wants to spend up to $100 for a “megafab” in New York
Will Prices Improve?
These investments are a positive development for gamers, but market conditions and politics mean higher GPU prices are likely here to stay.
  • Market Power: With over 50% market share and a technological edge, TSMC currently faces limited competitive pressure to lower lower prices
    • TSMC is reportedly hiking the cost of 3nm wafers by 25% compared to 5nm wafers
  • A Cog in the Machine: The actual production costs of GPUs pales in comparison to design costs
    • Final assembly will still take place abroad due to the higher price of American labor
  • The Small Political Matter: As big as Nvidia is in gaming, its orders are less important than those of TSMC's largest customer, Apple
  • The Larger Political Matter: Huge US investments hinge partly on the expectation of cashing in on subsidies from the recently passed CHIPs Act
    • Should that funding not come through, expect the chip manufacturers to reconsider

-Avery Bissett, Head Writer



Super Smash Bros Tournament
Source: Nintendo

Canceled Super Smash Bros Tournament Fallout Grows Publishers can't seem to get out of their own way

The esports fighting games scene took a huge hit last week with the last minute cancellation of the largest Super Smash Bros tournament, the Smash World Tour. Both its upcoming championship and 2023 season were scrapped after accusations of sabotage from Nintendo partner Panda Global. Nintendo now finds itself doing damage control, while rival esports organizer Panda Global ditched its CEO for unethical behavior. If there’s a lesson here, it’s that the greatest roadblock to the growth of esports may sometimes be publishers themselves.

Benign Neglect
Nintendo’s stance on esports in recent years has ranged from indifference to tentative support. Despite competitive interest in an official Super Smash Bros tournament for decades, it was only last year that Nintendo signed Panda Global as its first licensed Super Smash Bros tournament. Previously, private organizers like Smash World Tour (SWT) filled in the gaps, often while running at a loss.

  • SWT's 2022 tour was not just the largest Super Smash Bros tournament, but the largest in esports
    • 6,400 live events in 2022, with 325,000 in-person competitors
  • 2022 championship prize pool would have been $250,000
    • 2023 championship prize pool was aiming for $350,000
Super Smash Skullduggery
SWT's unceremonious demise appears to have partly stemmed from a Panda Global whisper campaign. SWT accused Panda Global CEO Alan Bunney of telling sports sponsors that SWT was being shut down and threatening partners with being blacklisted from Panda's circuit. Bunney also allegedly tried to tamper with SWT's broadcast contracts. Panda ultimately fired its CEO and delayed its Dec 15 event after most of its roster resigned in protest.
  • Nov 2021: Nintendo signs a non-exclusive deal with Panda Global
    • SWT claims that Nintendo was interested in signing a similar deal with SWT
  • Jan 2022: SWT applies for a license with Nintendo
  • Nov 23, 2022: Nintendo informs SWT it will not grant a license for the 2022 championship or 2023 season
  • Nov 29, 2022: SWT announces it's folding
What’s the Cost of Marketing?
That’s the real question that publishers like Nintendo or Activision are struggling to answer. For Nintendo, a Super Smash Bros tournament wasn’t worth spending money on, while Activision’s answer was that franchises should pay $25 million for the privilege of playing in its official Call of Duty League. Both approaches have been to the detriment of esports which, while not often profitable out of the gate, are great grassroots marketing. Unfortunately, this latest episode shows that the powers that be are still not ready to get out of their own way and nurture esports growth.

-Avery Bissett, Head Writer


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Supply Drop: Games & Players

Upcoming Games (December 9 - 15)

Aka - Switch
The Crackpet Show - PC, Switch
Crisis Core Final Fantasy 7 Reunion - PC, PlayStationXboxSwitch
Dragon Quest Treasures - Switch
High On Life - PCXbox
Jitsu Squad - PlayStation, Switch
Wavetale - PC, PlayStationXboxSwitch
The Witcher 3 - PlayStationXbox

Editor's Most Anticipated: Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII Reunion. ("Good things come to those who wait.")

Your answer for the "best video game ever made" likely has a lot to do with when you were born. If you were born anytime around the mid or late 80s – there is a high likelihood your answer is Final Fantasy VII (hold for applause). The 1997 classic on the original PlayStation was the first 3D entry to the long-running fantasy series, which introduced countless US gamers to the RPG genre made popular in Japan in the late 80s/early 90s.

The game's immense popularity spawned later video game and movie spin-offs, but none managed to capture a piece of the original magic like Crisis Core. One of the PlayStation Portable's flagship titles, Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII debuted in 2007 as an action RPG that delved into the backstory of a small, but pivotal, character from the original game 10 years earlier.

Following a successful and long-anticipated first installment of the remake of FF7 in 2020, developer Square Enix announced the remastered Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII Reunion, set to debut December 13 across all major platforms. The remaster features updated 3D models, an updated combat system, and recaptured voice acting. While the "core" story remains the same, the remastered title is also meant to be part of the larger FF7 remake universe, which is set to release part two of its trilogy, Final Fantasy VII Rebirth, in late 2023/early 2024.

While my answer to the best video game ever made has always been Final Fantasy VII, I am holding off on playing the remake until all three parts are released, so the Crisis Core remaster will be a nice appetizer. With the third installment of the FF7 Remake universe likely not hitting shelves till at least 2027 – it's looking like my "final" experience with the franchise will literally be three decades in the making.

-Dustin Downs, Editor

TSMC Arizona
Source: Twitchtracker.com, Twitch.tv

Comms: Social Campaigns

TSMC Arizona
Source: Twitter

The Tap: News to Go

  • GPU: Nvidia's "unlaunched" RTX 4080 12GB will return with minimal changes as the RTX 4070 Ti, according to a product listing from board partner Colorful (courtesy of Videocardz). It will likely be introduced and launched at CES 2023 in January.
  • GPU: Intel's latest drivers for its struggling Arc Alchemist video cards should provide a hefty performance boost in older DirectX 9 titles (courtesy of Tom's Hardware).
  • Games: Xbox head Phil Spencer announced Microsoft has signed a 10-year deal to bring Call of Duty to Nintendo platforms. With it being over a decade since COD was on a Nintendo console, the announcement is mostly aimed at regulators sympathetic to PlayStation's concerns over Microsoft's acquisition of Activision Blizzard.
  • Games: Upcoming survival title Dead Island 2 will allow players to give voice commands through Amazon's Alexa. Publishing conglomerate Embracer Group will be counting on the oft-delayed sequel to deliver after the disappointing Saint's Row reboot.