It is fair to say that Wall Street was expecting a lot worse of Nvidia and although the company did have a year-over-year decrease in revenue and income, its investors did not lose their shirts.
Nvidia has increasingly been seen by investors as one of the chip stocks best positioned to endure an economic slowdown that hurts PC and semiconductor sales.
Nvidia’s data center business, which includes chips for AI, continued to grow, suggesting that it could continue to benefit heavily from artificial intelligence software like ChatGPT and Microsoft Bing’s AI chatbot. Nvidia’s graphics processors are well-suited to train and run machine learning software.
The stock was up about 45 per cent in 2023 before Wednesday’s earnings report.
Nvidia CEO Jensen Huang said on a call with analysts that AI is at an “inflection point,” pushing businesses of all sizes to buy Nvidia chips to develop machine learning software.
“Generative AI’s versatility and capability has triggered a sense of urgency at enterprises around the world to develop and deploy AI strategies,” Huang said.
Most of Nvidia’s sales of GPUs for artificial intelligence fall into the company’s data center category. Data center revenue increased 11 per cent on an annual basis to $3.62 billion. The company said the growth was because US cloud service providers bought more products which is pretty much obvious.
Gaming revenue was down, as expected, as sales were highly elevated in the past few years. The pandemic encouraged gamers to upgrade their systems with new graphics cards from companies like Nvidia, but sales significantly slowed in the past year.
Nvidia reported $1.83 billion in fourth-quarter gaming revenue, a 46 per cent drop from the same time last year. The company said the decline was because it was selling fewer chips to partners because they currently have too much stock.
Nvidia also said that it shipped fewer chips for game consoles during the quarter, which is reported inside the gaming category. Nintendo uses an Nvidia chip to power the Switch.
Other categories, such as professional visualisation and automotive chips, remain much smaller than the company’s gaming and data center businesses. Nvidia’s professional visualization business for designers reported $226 million in revenue, down 65% annually, and automotive revenue was $294 million, up 135 per cent from last year.