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Sony PS4 sports 8-core AMD 'Jaguar' CPU

Posted: 22 Feb 2013     Print Version  Bookmark and Share

Keywords:PlayStation 4  X86  CELL processor  Jaguar  Radeon GPU 

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.

PS4 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
Many 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.

According to Dipert, 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 hardware platform."

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.

- Junko Yoshida
  EE Times


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