Sony considered hard drive-free PS4

Sony has admitted it considered launching a hard drive-free PS4 console.

Speaking during the Develop in Brighton conference, top Sony PS4 executives explained the process of developing the latest console meant some huge decisions had to be made.

The PS4 was launched with a 500GB hard drive, but Sony has revealed it considered launching the console without one altogether.

“Hard drives are expensive and it’s not like you can put half a hard drive in a console. The alternative is flash, but you can’t put very much flash memory in it”, explained Mark Cerny, Lead System Architect on the PS4.

The cost of putting a hard drive into the PS4 cost Sony around $1 billion and one of the main concerns the company had was the cost effect on the consumers.

“I must have had 30 conversations on that issue alone with developers, looking for some alternative to preserve everything that the players wanted, while still getting the hardware out cheaper”.

Of course, aside from the huge financial considerations, if the PS4 didn’t have a hard drive, PlayStation fans would no doubt have something to say about the console’s lack of internal storage.

“The reason it is such a large decision is because you’re making a commitment not just to the initial launch of the platform but that’s your input for the lifecycle”, added Andrew House, President and Group CEO of Sony Computer Entertainment.

“We debated, but it became extremely clear to me that, financial issues aside, we had to be striving for a certain level of experience that was going to get people to embrace a brand new platform.”

On the other hand, Sony also had to consider how the lack of hard drive would affect the developers.

“For the hard drive, we could have the debate: Does every player need downloadable content? Not every player does. Does every player need to play something like Watch Dogs like it was intended? Watch Dogs is a title that needed 15GB cached on a very fast hard drive or it wasn’t going to play on a level the creators wanted it to be.”

“We couldn’t go out there and say hard drives work for some people and not everybody. It was embedded on such a basic level in what the developers were thinking of making that ultimately we had to end up making that decision”, said Cerny.

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