PS4: Third-Parties ‘Wanted 1000 Times The Power Of PS3’
Speaking at the recent Gamelab conference in Barcelona, Mark Cerny revealed some of the details surrounding the PS4’s development in his presentation titled ‘Road to the PS4’.
Mark Cerny is the lead architect on the PS4 console, and the key instigator behind collaborating with developers on the hardware design of the PS4.
“Involving the third-parties was tricky,” said Cerny. “We definitely wanted their input on the design but we felt that it would be a bad idea to go to the teams who are making the top PlayStation 3 titles in 2008 and 2009 and start briefing them on a system that wouldn’t be released for many years.
“It just felt like a tremendous distraction,” Cerny added.
“So our solution was to make a questionnaire and present it to the third party teams.”
This questionnaire dealt with a variety of topics on a “next-gen console”, including technical questions on “CPU counts, CPU types, GPU types and bandwidth” and what these third party developers wanted from the PS4.
“And the answers were predictable,” said Cerny. “Basically the teams said that if we can afford to give them 1,000 times the performance of the PS3 then go ahead, do it.
“But, more importantly, we asked about the flavour of those systems that they would like to see in next-generation games console and the ratios that they would like to see between the various components.
“Should we put more money into the CPU or the GPU, or somewhere else?”
Cerny then went on to discuss how the third party developers “weren’t fooled for a minute by the abstract nature of the questionnaire. Everyone we sat down with knew that we were asking for feedback on the design of the PS4.”
Given the opportunity to discuss these components with the third party developers was insightful for Cerny, who said “the answers we got were not what I thought they would be.”
Key among them was a unified memory pool, rather than the two you see on PC or PS3.
Next it was the “proper” CPU count of 4 or 8 and that “if we had the money to spend we should invest it in a very powerful GPU.”
Lastly Cerny added that these developers “didn’t want exotica”, and that “if there was a GPU out there that could do real-time ray-tracing they did not want it in the PS4.”
Though such technology would be “fascinating”, said Cerny, the development teams would need to rebuild everything they knew from scratch just to make use of this GPU.
Cerny’s full presentation can be rewatched over on the official PS Blog.