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Sony: Developers Requested x86 Architecture for PS4

The Official PlayStation Magazine recently conducted an interview with Michael Denny, vice president of Sony’s Worldwide Studios. They talked about the hardware behind the upcoming PlayStation 4, revealing that the developer community actually requested the x86-based platform.

Looking back, this demand for an x86-based platform really is no surprise given how many complaints Sony received regarding the PlayStation 3's hardware. Sony co-developed the Cell Broadband Engine Architecture, AKA Cell, with Toshiba and IBM. It combines a general-purpose Power Architecture Core with streamlined coprocessing elements and a memory coherence architecture.

The PlayStation 3's Cell configuration includes one Power Processor Element on the core, and eight physical Synergistic Processing Elements in silicon. Developers have called this environment "challenging" which in turn reduced support for the PlayStation 3 and seemingly allowed the Xbox 360 to win the console wars.

Apparently one of the complaints heard repeatedly by developers, especially in the early days of the PlayStation 3, was that it was difficult to fit Sony's console within a PC-focused pipeline. "That’s certainly one of the points of feedback that developers had in when we were discussing in the early days of what PlayStation 4 architecture should be," Denny admitted. "But, as I say, the main thing was looking at the state of the art CPU and GPU, with ease of development."

Despite the upcoming console's PC-based guts, it's not going to be a desktop PC out-of-the-box, but a dedicated gaming console. Ultimately what this means for gamers is that they'll likely not see crappy ports, as developers can now better use their resources to create one baseline game and add specific platform–based features. Sony actually co-developed the PlayStation 4's APU with AMD, so expect some platform-specific surprises.

"I think that we learn from all the platforms we launch and systems we’ve developed," he told the magazine. "Part of PlayStation 4 is learning from previous platforms and making things better. Then part of it is the new experience as well, adding extra features, and you put those together for a much better package and much better experience for the gamer."

At the end of the day, it's about the output, he added. It's about having the best creators and development teams, the best games and the best experiences no matter what's under the console hood. But having 8 GB of high speed system memory doesn't hurt.

"[That] is just a massive win for developers in terms of the sort of games they can create, and the ease of game development," he said.

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  • Warsaw
    Way to listen to your developers and in turn what would be beneficial for your consumers Sony! EA could take a lesson from you guys. Here's to looking forward to the next-gen of consoles since they'll be x86 based and we can get some better attuned ports on PC (when the game is ported that is).
    Reply
  • Darkerson
    Im glad they took this route with the PlayStation 4. Im actually kinda excited about a console, and I never thought Id say that ever again, after I started gaming on PCs pretty much exclusively since around 1998. Not saying I plan on ditching my gaming rig any time soon, but the fact that conversions of games should feel less port like has me excited as well. Not much longer and the bar will finally be raised all around. I hope, anyway! :P
    Reply
  • timeandagain
    No shit. I mean seriously, what developer wouldn't want a common architecture to develop their games on across the three major platforms (ps, xbox, pc)? It was the height of arrogence that Sony chose such exotic bullshit for the PS2 and PS3, and they never gave one shit for what the developers wanted before. But now that they've failed with the PS3 (relatively) and caused all kinds of harm to the teams that made games for it they're listening? Screw these jackasses.
    Reply
  • edogawa
    I am actually excited for these consoles a lot because of the platform change. Now we can hopefully get better ports for PC.

    I am excited to see what Microsoft offers too. Xbox 720 with X86 could have a huge advantage over Sony if they setup their games to work both on the Xbox and Windows for one price, or something along those lines(I doubt that though).

    Developers must have hated that CELL processor garbage with the PS3.


    I feel like Nintendo can't make a good console anymore, Wii systems were real let downs, people shouldn't buy those.
    Reply
  • griptwister
    Now only if the GPU manufacturers could play nice...
    Reply
  • FloKid
    PC4
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  • gigantor21
    Glad to see they learned their lesson.
    Reply
  • ta152h
    edogawaI am actually excited for these consoles a lot because of the platform change. Now we can hopefully get better ports for PC. I am excited to see what Microsoft offers too. Xbox 720 with X86 could have a huge advantage over Sony if they setup their games to work both on the Xbox and Windows for one price, or something along those lines(I doubt that though).Developers must have hated that CELL processor garbage with the PS3.I feel like Nintendo can't make a good console anymore, Wii systems were real let downs, people shouldn't buy those.
    You realize Microsoft gets a cut off of games sold for the X-Box, right? You realize Microsoft won't even let you sell your game to someone else and have it usable on the 720, right?

    But, you think they'll allow Sony games to run on their console, given that, and the fact they don't even know the precise hardware intricacies of the PS4, and don't have the development time left to do anything even if they did, considering they should be selling these machines in the near term.

    This isn't going to happen. No way.
    Reply
  • chicofehr
    2 things that are good about the PS4 for PC gamers. First is that it has 8 cores which inturn means that it might lead to more mufti threaded games. Most games only utilize a max of 3 cores which I think has something to do with the fact the Xbox 360 has 3 cores. Second is that it will obviously have to be programmed in 64bit which is good for PC gamers too. Consoles are holding gaming in the 32bit age so we need to progress.
    Reply
  • blppt
    timeandagainNo shit. I mean seriously, what developer wouldn't want a common architecture to develop their games on across the three major platforms (ps, xbox, pc)? It was the height of arrogence that Sony chose such exotic bullshit for the PS2 and PS3, and they never gave one shit for what the developers wanted before. But now that they've failed with the PS3 (relatively) and caused all kinds of harm to the teams that made games for it they're listening? Screw these jackasses.
    Don't know why you were downvoted, but you were absolutely right about the PS2/3. It was kinda funny----Sony had massive success with the PSX because it was incredibly easy to make games for---single efficient CPU and single feature laden, powerful Graphics chip. AND they had a good developer toolset.

    So then what did Sony do? Completely ignore one of the most important reasons they dominated the Saturn (which was a hodgepodge of oddly slapped together silicon, and difficult developer tools), and put out the PS2, which made nothing easy for developers with its odd Graphics Synthesizer + Emotion Engine combo. When utilized to their full potential, the EE + GS could be quite potent. It was just very difficult and time consuming to do so. Same with PS3--a new, odd type of cpu that made its competition (360) look easy to optimize by comparison.

    At least they've apparently FINALLY learned from their mistakes.
    Reply