I’m absolutely not expecting this to be real, but you have to admit — there is a small bit of irony in 3dfx Interactive making a comeback, right when we’re faced with the most intense silicon shortage of the modern era.
Over the weekend, the 3dfx Interactive Twitter account roared to life. It’s not clear whether it’s a joke that’s playing on people’s nostalgia for the Voodoo 3D accelerator cards, or if 3dfx is actually making a comeback.
3dfx Interactive is coming back, 20 years later. Prepare for an major announcement regarding our return this Thursday! pic.twitter.com/KXPeY20lQ7— 3dfx Interactive (@3dfxofficial) July 30, 2021
Why the cynicism? For one, the image in the 3dfx tweet above? That’s pulled from a Deviantart image posted in 2009. I don’t know about you, but it seems real weird to me that a company or brand would have enough money to manufacture a graphics card, but not enough to pay an artist to create a fresh logo.
Secondly, there’s the issue of ownership. Nvidia acquired the 3dfx brand and its IP in the early ’00s, not long after the company had filed for bankruptcy. So the only way 3dfx makes a return, really, is if it gets a greenlight from Nvidia. And given Team Green is already busy fending off the strongest GPU competition AMD has posed in years, and Intel’s only a year away from having consumer-level desktop GPUs of their own, there’s a lot about 3dfx’s return that just doesn’t make sense.
Still, whoever is controlling the Twitter account is sure as hell committed to the bit.
Miss these? We're bringing them back too. pic.twitter.com/CZGcrS0tPs— 3dfx Interactive (@3dfxofficial) August 1, 2021
The future is now. August 5th. pic.twitter.com/0HqjLOl8os— 3dfx Interactive (@3dfxofficial) August 1, 2021
It would be cool to see 3dfx back in the mix, even if it never eventuated to anything more than the return of, say, Intellivision in 2021. The early 3dfx cards were genuinely transformative for computer graphics. Their development of the Glide API and aggressive pricing meant people could spend a few hundred dollars to get enormous upgrades in games like Quake, instead of having to do massive system upgrades for potentially thousands of dollars at the time. (To get the same kind of transformative improvement in a PC today can cost several hundred dollars, if not thousands, just to give you some kind of an idea of how much impact those early cards had.)
Whatever the official reveal is — whether it’s just a Rickroll or an actual announcement with some sort of substance — we’ll find out more at least by Friday morning. It’s worth adding that this “3dfx” account doesn’t even have an official website yet, so keep a bucket of salt handy.
More details have been posted about the potential “comeback” on August 5. In a follow-up statement, 3dfx announced the assets had been acquired from its previous owners on July 23 and was being operated by Jansen Products, a San Francisco investment firm, the account claimed.
“3dfx is scheduled to return this winter with new graphics cards, and will expand into other products relating to smartphones, smart TVs and sound systems,” the statement says, adding that the company is “in the process of trademarking the 3dfx name”.
Statement on the return of 3dfx. pic.twitter.com/KKsFmAxLAG— 3dfx Interactive (@3dfxofficial) August 4, 2021
But after tweeting out some images of a “presentation”, the 3dfx official account shut down and deleted all its tweets. Twitter confirmed to PCMag that they had no hand in closing down the account, and two days later, the account reactivated and changed its name to “Not 3dfx”, saying the company’s assets were purchased by Nvidia in 2002.
“I just claimed this handle because I don’t wanna be played again,” the @3dfxofficial Twitter handle bio now reads.