Gamasutra: The Art & Business of Making Gamesspacer
View All     RSS
August 20, 2014
arrowPress Releases
August 20, 2014
PR Newswire
View All





If you enjoy reading this site, you might also want to check out these UBM Tech sites:


PlayStation 4: The first details
PlayStation 4: The first details
February 20, 2013 | By Christian Nutt

February 20, 2013 | By Christian Nutt
Comments
    45 comments
More: Console/PC, Business/Marketing



Mark Cerny, Sony's lead system architect on PlayStation 4, discussed its capabilities at length -- as well as debuting a PS4 game called Knack that he's directing alongside Sony's Japan Studio.

Don't Miss: How Sony's PlayStation 4 will leverage Gaikai's cloud

"My role on the next generation development started about five years ago," Cerny said, detailing how Sony has been polling developers about the features since that time. The result? A "deeply consumer focused and developer centric approach to the design," per Cerny.

The Hardware

In a complete U-turn from the custom Cell processor in the PlayStation 3, the PlayStation 4 will feature Intel X86-based architecture for a familiar developer experience. "It's like a PC in many ways, but supercharged to bring out its full potential as a gaming platform," said Cerny. The system has an unspecified GPU and a hard drive as well.

The system will feature 8GB of RAM, a dedicated processor to manage the upload and download process -- allowing players to play games immediately as they download them. The console also offers the ability to suspend and resume games instantly, doing away with traditional save games, Cerny said.

Finally, the DualShock 4 controller -- a refined version of the prototype leaked on the web this week -- will feature Sony's familiar suite of sticks and buttons, as well as a touchpad, a "share button" that allows players to share gameplay video, and full PlayStation Move-like motion tracking capabilities for the stock controller using colored LEDs on its back, paired with a stereoscopic camera.

The Social and Online Vision

Cerny talked about the company's social vision for the console -- the new iteration of the PlayStation Network will be moving to a real identity system, similar to Facebook, though anonymity will be retained in some games. Players will be able to see what their friends are playing via a video stream and even "take over the controller and assist them," Cerny said.

The system will also track your likes and dislikes and automatically grab content based on your preferences, Cerny said. The system's social functions will also work with the PlayStation Vita, smartphones, and tablets via "companion applications," as well as the web.

The conference is still ongoing in New York City, and specifics such as the price and the hardware design have yet to be unveiled. Gamasutra's reporting on the PlayStation 4 announcement will continue throughout this evening.

More specs

UPDATE: Here are additional specs, straight from Sony. (More details in this PDF.)

Main Processor
Single-chip custom processor
CPU : x86-64 AMD "Jaguar," 8 cores
GPU : 1.84 TFLOPS, AMD next-generation Radeon-based graphics engine

Memory
GDDR5 8GB

Hard Disk Drive
Built-in

Optical Drive
(read only)
BD 6xCAV
DVD 8xCAV

I/O
Super-Speed USB (USB 3.0) 、AUX

Communication
Ethernet (10BASE-T, 100BASE-TX, 1000BASE-T)
IEEE 802.11 b/g/n
Bluetooth 2.1 (EDR)

AV output
HDMI
Analog-AV out
Digital Output (optical)


Related Jobs

Deep Silver Volition
Deep Silver Volition — Champaign, Illinois, United States
[08.20.14]

Visual Effects Artist
Amazon Game Studios
Amazon Game Studios — Irvine, California, United States
[08.20.14]

Art Director-Double Helix
Yoh
Yoh — Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
[08.20.14]

Rendering Engineer Job
Yoh
Yoh — Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
[08.20.14]

Multiplayer Designer Job










Comments


Jimmy Albright
profile image
Did David Cage really follow Jonathon Blow? Where was Peter Molyneux?

Leon T
profile image
Sounds good , but we'll see if it launches with all those features day one. If this is priced over $400 it will not even matter for me, because I'm not paying that much.

Jeferson Soler
profile image
@ Leon T - I think that $400 will be the target price, since the PS4 is pretty much running PC tech.

james sadler
profile image
Last rumor I heard was $450 for the base unit and $550 for the elite type.

Jeferson Soler
profile image
@ james sadler - Make the system very sturdy and fully backwards compatible with the games from the other three Playstations (especially PS and PS2) and I may consider buying the system to go along with the Wii U.

Leon T
profile image
That 8 gigs of RAM makes me doubt that it will be $400 or less unless Sony is willing to take a big hit on the sales at a time when they need the profits.

[User Banned]
profile image
This user violated Gamasutra’s Comment Guidelines and has been banned.

Ian Uniacke
profile image
@Jefferson: I would say it's almost impossible to support backwards compatibility. Previous playstations supported it by including the chips into the hardware (for instance a PS2 contained the PS1 chips). Ok so they could emulate ps1 and ps2 games, but given the complex nature of the Cell processor I imagine it would be extremely difficult if not nigh on impossible to support backwards compatibility for ps3 games.

Jeferson Soler
profile image
@ Ian Uniacke - I'm more concerned with comparability with PS1 and PS2 games anyway. I don't have PS3 games and I can get PC version of several games that came out for PS3 and Xbox 360 if I want to do so (and I did in case of the two Street Fighter 4 games). In any case, the ability of PS4 to emulate systems is what I had in mind, since PS4 runs PC tech. There's no excuse or reason to not have the PS4 play PS1 and PS2 games unless Sony wants to force people to repurchase the games by online means.

R G
profile image
Surprising how the hype has quickly died down. No backwards compatibility, only 2 flops for the GPU and a poor one at that (the difference between consoles and PCs this gen is going to be huge) with 8 GB of RAM. A focus on social gaming? A button dedicated to "sharing"?

Plus, showing a trailer that was already out, but that was Square's doing.

If this is running "PC tech" then it better be only 400. I nearly died when they said "SUPERCHARGED". Waiting for Sega to show up and say "Sony does what Nintendon't."

Jeferson Soler
profile image
@ Robert Gill - I didn't read your comment and didn't get to see the entire video, so I wasn't 100% for sure that the system wasn't backwards compatible and thought that the feature would be revealed at a later point. So, it doesn't sound like that's the case. Oh, well!

Ben Rice
profile image
There is some reality behind that claim. I mean, what PCs use GDDR5 as system memory? (The answer is none)

Doug Poston
profile image
Does anybody know if this will have a BluRay drive?

I know BluRay isn't exciting new tech, but they talked a lot about downloading games and they didn't make any mention of external media, which is a little weird.

Tell me if I'm reading too much into this and the PS4 isn't digital only. ;)

(edit: I was reading too much into it. BluRay confirmed.)

Leon T
profile image
Oh man I hope not. I doubt it is , but I didn't get to see the show so I hope someone answers your question. I already had a feeling that I would hold off buying this and the more news I hear about it the more that looks like the case.

Doug Poston
profile image
If this is true: http://www.scei.co.jp/corporate/release/pdf/130221a_e.pdf

Then, yes, it will include BluRay.

Joe Zachery
profile image
Pretty sad overall! Nothing they showed made me want to buy a new console. When my current console seems to be doing so much more interesting stuff.

Leon T
profile image
Sadly that might be the theme of next gen consoles , but lets see what Microsoft has to offer to be sure.

Jeferson Soler
profile image
If anyone thinks about it, in the end, that's what the presentation was more about: competition against Microsoft. Sony is more worried with Microsoft than with Nintendo and understandably so. Make no mistake as I like Nintendo and I have a Wii U (which is a great system, in my opinion), but if you think about it, based on the main media strategy, Microsoft is the main rival from Sony. Wii U could serve as a system that complements either the PS4 or the new Microsoft system, just like the Wii would complement either the PS3 or the Xbox 360 at times (which was the case with the duo system fans).

Leon T
profile image
@Jeferson Soler
The Wii U could be the second system for Nintendo games. The problem the big 3 could face is if ( big if right now too) the Wii U actually gets decent third party support. Watch Dogs coming to system is a decent sign. I wont say its a very good sign because Ubisoft and Nintendo seem to be in good relations right now. If the Wii U is getting a good share of third party games coming out this holiday or at least the big ones than that second console might become the only console for some.

I don't think any third party company will be investing big into just one console next gen unless they have some great publishing deal set up with the manufacture.I expect the 360/PS3 to still get plently of support in the next year or two and porting to Wii U along with PS4/nextbox is in the bag.

Steve Fulton
profile image
I wonder about blu-ray too...

Ron Dippold
profile image
They sure spent a lot of time extolling the virtues of it being a PC in a box. 'Wow, look how easy this is to program!' 'Dang, you can let your GPU do some heavy math!' Who could imagine such wonders?

Also extremely short on details on anything. No PS4 to be seen, no price, a lot of handwaving.

Now that said, some the networking stuff was pretty neat. Occasionally creepy, but neat.

Kyle Redd
profile image
I've got a major problem with a "real identity" PSN. I've spent several hundred dollars on digital games since I first bought a PS3, and I don't want to have an ultimatum by Sony to either give up my privacy or lose access to all of my games.

William Johnson
profile image
You could always lie, Mr. Rusty Shackleford.

Kyle Redd
profile image
@William

Sure, except for the chapter of the EULA that will undoubtedly allow Sony to give out permanent bans to anyone caught falsifying their identity (which Sony will find out about the first time you try to buy a game).

Jannis Froese
profile image
To me it didn't sound like they were forcing people to use real identities. I think they expected people to use these features with existing friends from existing networks among which they would just naturally use their real names.

Mike Griffin
profile image
I'm quite impressed by the RAM. It's clear that a lot of PC users don't fully grasp the upgrade here.

That's 8GB of _GDDR5_ memory, folks. That's 8 gigs of ridiculous, traditionally GPU-only memory being used for the entire unified memory architecture of the console. That's pretty amazing, and clearly of great importance to the PS4's seamless suspend and resume feature.

But let's consider game performance. 8GB of unified system RAM in GDDR5 form is sweet. Besides a tiny element of hardcore PC users with add-in PCIE hybrid RAM, nobody is currently gaming with a PC that has anywhere close to comparable memory architecture speeds.

It's also sort of tragic to read so many comments on various sites from PC users unimpressed by the number itself, the 8GB. "Dude, I have 16 gigs of RAM! My PC is better!"

(or nonsense like, "It's an X86 processor, those can't use more than 3GB of RAM!" Yeah, maybe on a PC ten years ago.)

I don't think PC guys grasp how insane of a jump that is on console, or how console RAM usage (and console OS footprint) varies dramatically from a bloated PC environment. Consoles are designed to be muscle cars optimized for gaming and media, not to serve the same multi-tasking/multi-service memory-hogging functions of a Windows gaming rig.

Nor do these PC users realize that very few games released on PC today will actually use all of their RAM. Very few PC games are fully optimized to use more than 4GB of system RAM, and recent graphics intensive titles are hungry for VRAM, like video cards with 2GB of speedy GDDR5 memory.

8GB is a crapload of RAM for a dedicated games console in 2013, and specifically the type of RAM being used is very impressive. With the PS4 and next Xbox sporting similar CPU/GPU 8-core combo chips, I'm expecting Durango to match the PS4's system memory size, but very curious to see if it competes with the zippy GDDR5 spec and memory architecture.

It's very likely that this unified memory is directly related to the ATI/AMD CPU-GPU set, meaning the next Xbox will sport the same RAM type. Or this could be a custom addition by Sony engineers to -- as mentioned -- support the suspend/resume feature.

The PS4 opts for custom chips to offload streaming and video overhead, so their choice of memory could be another proprietary necessity in the spec. In any case, that's pretty nice future proofing in that part of the console's spec, at least.

Compared to the PS3's wonky bi-directional mix of 256 XDR + 256 GDDR3, the memory size and bandwidth increase in the PS4 is a massive, seriously next-gen leap. The funny "Supercharged PC" claim isn't too far off the mark, for now.

$400 bucks for a basic set sounds about right at launch.

Jeferson Soler
profile image
@ Mike Griffin - "$400 bucks for a basic set sounds about right at launch. " At least, that's better than the PS3 launch price.

Chuong Ngo
profile image
Perhaps I'm just overly cynical, but I have to wonder just how much memory is going to actually be available for the games. I can't imagine that the OS's memory footprint will be small. As for streaming, hopefully Sony has made great strides in making streaming less laggy, but time will tell.

R G
profile image
GDDR5 isn't going to be used to its full extent.

Think about it this way: The RAM being used is unified, thus meaning the graphics card AND processor will be running off it. Assuming it's 50/50, that leaves only 4 GB DDR5 for the gpu. The gpu itself is a 5870, which isn't next-gen by any means.

Not sure if you grasp how modern PCs work, but most PC enthusiasts are running a bloated environment. Unless you're Joe Schmoe just clicking yes through every screen and pumping icons all over the desktop with everything booting on launch, memory isn't hogged at all.

8 GB isn't a "crapload" of RAM to begin with. It's better to have the GPU with it's on DDR5 and the CPU feed off the overall RAM. The consoles are going to be outshone more quickly this gen, though partially due to the rekindling of the PC gaming scene.


I want Sony to succeed as much as anyone else and I love their IPs especially, but they really only had one more chance to get it right. I think they've made some mistakes by stroking their PlayStation brand/ego instead of learning about past mistakes with the PS3.

[User Banned]
profile image
This user violated Gamasutra’s Comment Guidelines and has been banned.

Chris Melby
profile image
@Christopher C,

PC GPUs have been in the 2 TFlop range for a few years now. A 5870 is speced at 2.7 tflops btw.

And on the subject of TFlops, GPUs like a GTX 480 rate at about 1.35 tflops, but for the most part, bested ATI's higher speced options.

Bob Johnson
profile image
I liked the capability to continue a game where you left off without thinking about it and the fact that downloads have a chip dedicated to them and will work seamlessly in the background.

Don't see the point of the touchpad on the controller. But will keep an open mind. Maybe it isn't as awkward as it looks.

And the few games I saw ..didn't get me excited. This-gen games with better graphics. For some reason when I saw, in one of the games, a message to press the square button to do so and so it made me sigh and think we haven't advanced enough. I didn't see everything though so maybe I missed the best parts.

Not too excited so far. The memory spec is impressive. But better specs are increasingly less of a selling point to me. It really is the experience that counts.



Mike Griffin
profile image
It was such a struggle for Sony to use the original PS3 as a vehicle for the costly 90nm Cell processor (brand new, unproven tech at the time) and Blu-ray drive (brand new expensive tech at the time) to market. The PS3 launched with a burden of severe manufacturing costs and a very slow cost reduction curve thanks to proprietary chips (and facilities to make said chips), significant royalties to partners like Nvidia, and a nascent media disc format.

With contemporary mainstream PC components and existing hardware production in the mix for PS4, I'm not seeing the same enormous manufacturing costs for Sony to overcome, like back then. While the cost reduction curve should drop off that much faster.

So perhaps a $400 to $449 intro is actually feasible for the next PlayStation.

Jannis Froese
profile image
In terms of hardware the consoles are again one step ahead of PCs. Sure, the processor and the 8Gb of RAM look like a normal PC, but what really cuts it is the DDR5 RAM (a lot faster than "normal" DDR3 RAM) and the GPU which is using the same RAM as the CPU. This allows a powerful symbiosis between GPU and CPU, like sorting your objects with the GPU and then processing them with the CPU without the prohibitively slow transfer a PCIe bus. This will give huge performance boosts once developers learn to use this to it's full potential.

What I didn't expect and nobody seems to mention is that the "average" gamer PC actually has 8Gb of "CPU RAM" and 2Gb of additional RAM on the GPU, making 10Gb, compared to the 8Gb of the PS4. But with the reduced overhead of a console platform that isn't going to be a problem anytime soon.

R G
profile image
Sharing the RAM isn't as good as graphics cards feeding off their own RAM and your own installed RAM. That's why companies like Nvidia and AMD charge a lot of dough for graphics cards that are OCed and have more DDR5.

The design is better for the console overall to be more like a PC, and built that way, but:

1.) Barely any games use even quad-core processors
2.) Splitting consumption, assuming 50/50, you now have 4 GB DDR5. That's assuming, sure, but also considering it goes to overall system, lag is going to be inevitable.

Again, as I stated above, I want it to succeed but focusing more on social gaming and poor design choices (2013 and not having backwards compatibility?) is going to bite them later on.

EnDian Neo
profile image
@Robert Gill: I'm not familiar with system architecture design but my understanding of unified RAM is that the RAM is dynamically allocated between CPU/GPU, not 50-50. So 90/10 allocation ratios can occur depending on system load.

I think the big bottlenecks in modern games lies with RAM limitations, particularly in the gfx cards. It's more complicated system side, but being able to share CPU's share of RAM for drawing gfx while retaining the flexibility to take it back for processor-heavy processes is a good compromise (and makes full use of the expensive DDR5 chips).

It would be interesting if GPU/CPU can share data via "hotswapping" memory addresses - thereby bypassing Northbridge altogether. Thoughts?

R G
profile image
@EnDian Neo

I see what you are saying. Admittedly, I'm basing this on past attempts at having unified RAM, so I could be wrong. However, system RAM inherently affects how fast the CPU reads; if the GPU is tapping into that, plus Sony's download chip and other factors, it isn't going to be as blazing fast as everyone is thinking it will.

I believe this will work for now, but think about this too: If they are going to have the top GPU from AMD (Currently Radeon 7870) with 2 GB DDR5, then that's already 240 dollars (looking at Newegg prices, lowest being 215). Why would Sony sell their system at a loss? There's no way they can cost only ~400, especially if they have an 8 core CPU with DDR5 RAM.

Again, I want Sony to knock this out of the park, but it just seems like everyone is too excited to see the forest for the trees.

Jannis Froese
profile image
Sure, 8Gb is not all that future save, but for now that is enough compared to 8+2 Gb on a gamer pc, especially as there are no heavy OS, antivirus etc. running at the same time.

You are right that the RAM will be slower because both CPU and GPU will use it, but used correctly this is by far offset by the advantage of being able to use the GPU as a general purpose processor when it uses the same memory.

And I totally expect Sony to sell the PS4 at or below production costs. That's pretty normal for consoles, they get the money back with later console sales (hardware prices drop, console prices not really) and the royalties from sold games.

EnDian Neo
profile image
@Robert Gill:
Price point is a good "point" to raise. :P

I'm betting on a 400 USD launch price myself - mainly because the key push of Sony's press con was its cloud platform. It is essential they sell many PS4 units fast so they have a larger installed base to leverage their "Steam-clone". They will make money from both ends of the spectrum then - royalties from developers and a cut off sales via distribution.

That is their mid term goal for the next 3 years - market share in the console based net-distribution of games, i.e. fending off Steam Box.

Mike Griffin
profile image
This mutant 8-core edition of the Jaguar is also purportedly the CPU config for the next Xbox. It seems ideal for an "always on" media box.

The whole chipset has really flexible voltage control, low power consumption and low temperatures. Perfect for a console that plays media and games, streams, social networks, and attempts to bombard your life with digital services for untold hours every day.

(Incidentally, given the near-identical CPU setups, I wouldn't be surprised if the next Xbox also has a game 'suspend/resume' like the PS4, leveraging the super-low voltage "sleep mode" of the chipset and memory).

Luis Guimaraes
profile image
So... $500 million budgets, 7 years of development, team sizes 600+ (hah).
Sounds like we have only saw the tip of the Over-Hyped Mediocre Stagnation iceberg...

Johan Wendin
profile image
Feels kinda odd. I was just about to upgrade my PC, from a system that on paper already beat the PS4.
At least the WiiU provided me with a new experience - no matter how I try I can't feel excited about the PS4.

Will be interesting to see what Microsoft comes up with - they have the opportunity to walk right over Sony at the moment.

Kaleb Nock
profile image
Really disappointed in the lack of information about sound capabilities. Are we getting 7.1? 5.1? 2.0? What exactly can we expect from next-gen audio capabilities. Very sad that they talked so glowingly about control schemes, graphics, tech specs etc. but not one single mention of if we can expect next gen consoles to update to current gen audio at least.

heath willmann
profile image
Read to me that while it will have a HD, Sony is trying to move cloud gaming tech forward. If DL's and UL's are only slowed by the consumers ISP its a pretty big move. Having memory dedicated for just this type of operation is pretty awesome.
Have to see what other changes are ahead. XBL gold has my system gathering dust but not put off enough to buy-in on a ps3.
Has my interest peeked again for Sony and console gaming.

Also it means console ports have the potential to be so much better.

Brian Buchner
profile image
Great, just what the world needs; Bigger-budget games.


none
 
Comment: