The PS4 has been built with the developers at the forefront of the design, according to Sony’s lead system architect Mark Cerny.
Appointed by the Japanese electronics company in 2007 as the lead system architect for the PS4, Cerny admits that issues with the PS3 has meant Sony’s next-gen console has been designed on the basis of a series of development feedback sessions.
“A very developer-centric approach to the design of the PlayStation 4 would just make things go more smoothly overall,” said Cerny. “The biggest thing was that we didn’t want the hardware to be a puzzle that programmers would be needing to solve to make quality titles.”
Back in 2008, after receiving the nod from Sony, Cerny approached developers to ask what they would want to see from a theoretical next-generation console.
“It’s not like we could come out and say we were developing the next generation of hardware – we certainly couldn’t say that in 2008.”
“My first tour of the developers, I had a questionnaire where I just asked them their thoughts on what the next generation might bring. The largest piece of feedback we got was that they wanted unified memory.”
The PS4 will launch with 8GB of super-fast GDDR5 RAM on-board, enabling the next-gen console to reach performance levels the PS3 can only dream of and allowing the console to be put on standby mid-game and then turn the console back on and resume playing within seconds – similar to the functionality of the PS Vita.
Another result of the developer questioning was the choice of CPU. Shipping with an eight-core x86-64 Jaguar custom built processor, the CPU will also power the GPU meaning the single chip will be responsible for graphics and processing tasks.
“We quickly could tell that we should put either four or eight cores on the hardware. The consensus was that any more than eight, and special techniques would be needed to use them, to get efficiency. It definitely was very helpful to have gone out and have done the outreach thing before sitting down to design the hardware.”
The PS4 release date has been set somewhere in the “holiday 2013” period, but Sony has yet to reveal what the console will actually look like, choosing only to reveal the console’s important innards at the PS4 event last month.
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