Cerny laid out five characteristics that the company hopes will
differentiate PS4 from its own previous PlayStation platforms as well as
those by its competitors. Namely, by making it simple, immediate, social, integrated and “personalized.”
By immediate, Cerny
means not only the speed of the custom hardware but also the immediacy
required for suspend/resume operation in game play. The PS4 will also
come with a secondary custom chip responsible for downloading and
processing games in the background.
By social, Cerny talked of
PS4’s “always-on video compression and decompression hardware.” It will
make “sharing video popular” while a gamer interacts with his friends,
he explained. It enables popular “spectating” function simpler and
easier, since all users have to do is to push a “share” button for
real-time sharing of game play on the remote, second screen, he said.
is expected to be used far beyond the living room, said Cerny, as its
use will be “integrated” with other devices including smartphones,
tablets, PlayStation Vita (mobile gaming platform) and the Web. The idea
is to let people play PS4 games on multiple platforms even while they
are away from the PS4 game console in a living room.
PS4 will also offer personalized services by predicting kinds of games a user prefers and pre-loading it for him, Cerny said.
Lessons learned from PS3
industry observers who attended the press conference here were
generally impressed by the energy and confidence Sony and its developer
partners brought to the event.
More encouraging is that Sony’s
PS4 team appears to be taking to heart the lessons they learned from the
PS3. In particular, by embracing the X86-based platform, they believe
that Sony could address what turned out to be fatal issues of product
delay and the lack of content PS3 faced. Sierra Media’s Dipert,
recalling the PS3 launch, noted that “the CELL processor ended up being a
nightmare to program.” Further, when coupled with the late-design-cycle
add of a Nvidia GPU in PS3, it led to “a dearth of compelling game
content not only at the introduction of PS3 but also for a long time
afterward,” he said.
Then, there is also an issue of a comparative launching schedule.
The PS3 was one year later than the Wii and the Xbox 360,
giving both of these other platforms a big market lead. "Consumers had
already bought the big-ticket-item console," Dipert said. "They were assembling game
content libraries. Therefore, they were reluctant to buy yet another
This time around, though, Nintendo’s Wii U
hasn’t taken off on the market, and the next generation of Microsoft’s
Xbox 360 is not out yet.
It remains unclear how
Sony plans to proceed with the migration of native PS4 games to other
platforms (when connected to smartphones, tablets or Vita), or
converting currently available PS3 games to x86. One obvious way to
solve this is to do software emulation. Dipert called it “a really
really hard problem.”
However, with PS4, there's a heavy reliance
on 'cloud'-delivered content. Dipert noted, “It's conceivable that Sony
could convince developers (at least its own game studio) to create
x86-compiled versions of existing PS3 games, which could then be
downloaded to the PS4, thereby providing a no-cost or some-cost 'bridge'
for potential customers with lots of existing PS1, PS2 and PS3
content," he said.
The comment about PC gamers seems to ignore the why of PC gaming .... continuous hardware upgrades (its a hobby thing), cheaper games, sitting at a desk, versus in front of the TV environment, Skype while gaming, etc., etc.
I think the hardware is well targeted for the price point, but the average PC gamer will be well beyond this a few years into the PS4 life cycle.
I am not putting down the hardware, but if they think they are going to win back PC gamers, they are sadly mistaken.
"the switch to the X86 CPU should also attract a large installed-base of “extreme PC gamers” to PS4, he added."
This was hilarious - as though PC gamers use a PC because of how much they love the x86 architecture.
Given there's about 0% chance PC games will run on the PS4, the choice of CPU is irrelevant.
Agreed. In a game console, backward compatibility is actually a bad idea, as long as the developers support the new platform.
When people buy a new console, you want them to buy all new titles as well. The old games they already have were bought to be played on the old console.
That's an interesting and kind of important question. One of the problems Microsoft had with the original X-Box was PC compatibility. It was easy to put Linux on it. But Microsoft needed something like five title sales per X-Box just to break even on the hardware.
And given the actual computing demands of most people, the PS4 looks pretty able to replace a regular PC. Sony must have some plan to avoid the "wrong kind" of popularity.
Seems like a well thought out path to follow. Given the relatively long product life cycle of Sony Play Stations. Employing AMD X86 architecture will be well suited for upgrades and enhancements, in particular GDDR6 has my attention, which should be going into production next year (if I remember right, AMD essentially created the GDDR memory standard for what it's worth). It would not be surprising if GDDR5 was skipped in the PS4 platform altogether. I find this news fascinating.
I wouldn't think it was a 32 nm capacity issue at IBM as I believe they have as much 32 nm capacity as they did at 45nm. I believe they still are supplying the newest game processors for Nintendo and Microsoft.
I have to agree it is the software and to a lesser extent the hardware. If the games are ready and of high enough quality then who cares what the platform is? On the other hand if the hardware platform can't get out of it's own way then no amount of software can make up for the lack of responsiveness. I am guessing that the X86 tried and true platform with a lot of horsepower will win a lot of software developer support and therefor more/better games!
Join our online Radio Show on Friday 11th July starting at 2:00pm Eastern, when EETimes editor of all things fun and interesting, Max Maxfield, and embedded systems expert, Jack Ganssle, will debate as to just what is, and is not, and embedded system.