Consoles get more computer-like with every passing generation. And nobody will be surprised if the PS4 ends up being a high-end gaming PC for your living room.

As reported by GamesIndustry.biz , Digital Foundry's Richard Leadbetter apparently has some inside information concerning Sony's next PlayStation console. Recently, we heard from ex-AMD employees that the PS4 would utilize AMD-powered graphics rather than Nvidia.

Now, Leadbetter claims a "reputable source" said the next PlayStation system is "essentially a PC" in regards to its architecture. The source reinforces the aforementioned rumor by saying Sony and AMD are collaborating on the CPU, which means the next PlayStation won't use the Cell found in the PS3. Leadbetter also mentioned the new Vita:

"It's not about exotic, groundbreaking hardware anymore, it's all about creating the best possible games machine with an enviable set of development tools – and it's an approach that has already yielded results. While PlayStation Vita may lack a stand-out killer app, I still think that it's set the bar in terms of overall quality and quantity over and above any console launch I've seen in over 21 years in the business. Extrapolating that same philosophy towards PlayStation 4 makes a PC-style approach to Sony's next console seem very likely indeed."

Sony has gone on the record several times, saying they have no intention of producing a new console any time soon. Right now, their focus is squarely on both the Vita and the PS3. …but the future is always just around the corner, yes?

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fatelementality
fatelementality
10 years ago

I honestly think that for now they should stick with the graphics level they're currently at and use all that power to eliminate load times. I could only imagine playing something like Skyrim with no loading screens. Probably would have around a week of my life back. That week would be used for Skyrim, but you get the idea.


Last edited by fatelementality on 3/1/2012 9:20:23 PM

firesoul453
firesoul453
10 years ago

More processing power wouldn't help with load times

Problem with loading is that disks are slow (hardrives a bit faster but also slow)

Developers can manage load times better probably though. There are plenty of games that do a good job of loading while your doing something.

More ram can help with loadings, since they could load more and not have to load it later.

The only way to get rid of loadings are to either get a really fast hard drive (and install the game data on it), or use cartridges

Although I would absolutely LOVE cartridges, it would makes games cost $100+

Jawknee
Jawknee
10 years ago

Developers just need to do a better job at hiding load times behind cutscenes like Uncharted and Killzone.

WorldEndsWithMe
WorldEndsWithMe
10 years ago

I amused myself during the Skyrim load times by twirling and zooming in and out on whatever monster/person/object/world model that was present. Hey… it's somethin'

Beamboom
Beamboom
10 years ago

Lol – actually so do I, World. I find amusement in it too!

As Jawk say, hiding loading times behind cutscenes is the neatest solution – but is only applicable on certain style games.

What would be a *real* boost in cutting down loading time would be to not have to read from disc/hard drive all the time, ergo more memory. Then more stuff could stay in ram and not had to be thrown out again instantly.


Last edited by Beamboom on 3/2/2012 12:49:34 AM

WorldEndsWithMe
WorldEndsWithMe
10 years ago

What I don't understand is why downloadable versions on the hard drive still have those load times.

Fane1024
Fane1024
10 years ago

As firesoul said, HDDs are faster than disc drives, but it's not the same as the data being in the RAM.

What I don't understand is when PSN games smaller than say 300 MB have load times. Shouldn't the whole game be loaded into the RAM? I guess they're super-compressed or something.

WorldEndsWithMe
WorldEndsWithMe
10 years ago

Fane, I think Highlander said something about this once. Something about not changing the architecture of the game so that it performs the full loading process originally in the game even though it doesn't need to.

Beamboom
Beamboom
10 years ago

World, it doesn't matter if the game is stored on your hard drive or on a blu-ray disk, it still needs to read files when it needs to. In principle the hard drive is just a very fast, much larger blu-ray disk that you can write to as well. In principle.

It's the limited amount of ram that to a great extent decides how often a game must read from disk (as opposed to from memory). And that amount of ram is the same for every game, no matter where it is stored.


Last edited by Beamboom on 3/2/2012 5:50:27 AM

fatelementality
fatelementality
10 years ago

I remember playing Soul Reaver for the PSOne and it had virtually no load times when you were roaming the world. Someone needs to go back a few decades and hit the math books. Not me though, I suck at math 🙂

TheHighlander
TheHighlander
10 years ago

Load times can be hidden, usually behind a cutscene, but some games will smartcache assets so that as you enter a new area, it continues playing witho9ut an apparent load. More RAM in the console would help developers do this as they could literally pre-load the data for the opening scene in a new level as you enter the closing stages or an area with an exit. It all depends on how hard the developer tries to hid the load times. If they don't try, and simply have a loading screen, then no matter the media (including cartridge) you will see a load time as the game is loaded from the media to main memory.

As an example of zero load times, look at Burnout Paradise. that game pre-caches world data to the HDD from the BluRay as you play, it's kind of a silent install. Even the add-on Island works the same way so you drive seamlessly from one area to the next. The only time this breaks down is when a player manages to get a car fast enough to outpace the speed within which the world data can be streamed.


Last edited by TheHighlander on 3/2/2012 10:27:34 AM

Oyashiro
Oyashiro
10 years ago

Same here, I don't care if there is a big jump in graphics, if anything I want games to run at 60 FPS as a standard in the next generation.

Beamboom
Beamboom
10 years ago

Yes Burnout Paradise is awesome in that respect, Highlander (well, Burnout Paradise is awesome, period).
We find the same in GTA4 as well. It loads in the background along the way. Very few, if any loading screens.

TheHighlander
TheHighlander
10 years ago

Indeed Beamboom, that is something that is well implemented (and kinda has to be) in most open world games. I just don't understand why developers do not manage to make things as seamless in other games.

Beamboom
Beamboom
10 years ago

I've been thinking the same, High. Cause obviously it's doable and most all games would benefit from it.
And I suspect the answer is hidden in your sentence between parentheses there; they don't *have* to do it in the other games, therefore they don't. It's easier to just pull up something temporary while reading the chunk of data you need next.


Last edited by Beamboom on 3/3/2012 3:17:29 AM

Cesar_ser_4
Cesar_ser_4
10 years ago

Sony may not want to produce it, but that doesn't mean they can't play around with components. I just hope if the new architecture is true then they better make it compatible form the get go or else they'll get the same reaction from the public. "I want a vita sooo baaad I'ts got great games, awesome features, a great machine overall, but it doesn't play PSone games so I'll wait." Yeah cause that's what the vita was clearly made for.

Mdash0009
Mdash0009
10 years ago

I'm waiting for the PS1 classics to go on Vita so I can deactivate my PSP and activate my Vita. So yes, the PS1 classics feature is a huge deal for me, even though the Vita is made to be a Vita.

WorldEndsWithMe
WorldEndsWithMe
10 years ago

PS1 classics > all games

Oyashiro
Oyashiro
10 years ago

Do you have more then one PSP? You can register two handhelds to the PS3.

Mdash0009
Mdash0009
10 years ago

@Oyashiro, yes, 2 PSP's, that's why I need to deactivate one, the other 1 isn't mine so I cant deactivate theirs.

maxpontiac
maxpontiac
10 years ago

I constantly state that "I am happy with the PS3", but who am I fooling? I'll have a PS4 on launch!

Clamedeus
Clamedeus
10 years ago

I'll at least try to get one on launch, and I hope i have enough money to get one as well. I might.. have to work the corner..

bigrailer19
bigrailer19
10 years ago

Same here max…

maxpontiac
maxpontiac
10 years ago

LOL. I should of added – "if the money is there that month".

Beamboom
Beamboom
10 years ago

Me too Max, especially now. I really am excited over these news!


Last edited by Beamboom on 3/2/2012 1:00:14 AM

daus26
daus26
10 years ago

I'd so agree with this, but I can't. Don't get me wrong, but other than the PS1, my launch PS2 and PS3 all died earlier than I'd want it to. That and the fact that I hear a lot of others have as well, to the point where it's too much to hear. Unless Sony can ensure me somehow that it's going to be much more reliable than the PS3 like heat temps, materials or whatever, I'm going to be very hesitant to get a PS4 at launch.

But please, this is not to let anybody down that's excited to get one at launch. I just personally don't have the confidence I think I need to do so.

Excelsior1
Excelsior1
10 years ago

Sony did also say it would be "undesirable" to let Microsoft get a significant jump on them again. It scares me to think about MS going unchallenged in NA for any length of time next gen. I know MS launching first is probably way down on the list on the reasons why this gen played out the way it did but it did not help matters for Sony.

As for the PS4…it sounds like this it will be a much more developer firendly system which is good news for gamers. I would love backwards compatability because I believe it would help early adoption rates but what I really want is it be flat out more powerful than the next system from MS.

Cesar_ser_4
Cesar_ser_4
10 years ago

I doubt MS will make a next gen machine that much more powerful than the ps3 to make Sony want to release theirs ASAP. I wouldn't hurry things up unless it helps get 3rd party devs on board with it and not have a deja vu with the ps4 in terms of crappy ports or sub par multiplats. In other words, as long as Sony can get most if not all 3rd party devs to make their games with exactly the same quality as with the next xbox then Sony should be fine, regardless of when they release the PS4.

TheHighlander
TheHighlander
10 years ago

Well, according to the equally reliable anonymous sources I have read today while digging on this, the story is a bunch of hogwash and the truth of the matter is that the current early dev kits use Cell derived CPU with more SPUs and an AMD GPU at the moment.

I find it highly unlikely that Sony would throw in the towel and make a glorified PC instead of a console, that would practically betray their entire history.

WorldEndsWithMe
WorldEndsWithMe
10 years ago

It's curious to say the least because there has been such a huge investment in Cell, but it would remove a lot of the barriers for developers.

Qubex
Qubex
10 years ago

We will have to see… I know that both yourself and myself have said that it would be desirable for Sony to stick with the Cell architecture. All the developer kits are already available for this. Adding more cores should not cause issues but give us a far more powerful machine…

Why the hell would Sony change their tact now??? I hope they don't screw it up???

Highlander… I hope you are right my friend…

Q!

"play.experience.enjoy"

Looking Glass
Looking Glass
10 years ago

I'm inclined to agree Highlander.

I actually did hear a while ago that the next Playstation would use two CELLs as opposed to one (in addition to the GPU). I don't know if it's true but it certainly seems to be more plausible than this story.

___________
___________
10 years ago

however interested i am to see where they could go with it, why beat on a dead horse?
IBM dropped cell for a reason!
$ony is only shooting themselves in the foot by sticking with cell!
the exotic architecture is exactly why we have had to put up with crappy ports!
yea some have learned to master it, but what about those like bugthesda?
do you really want to have to put up with more skyrim, and fallouts?
$ony releasing the ps4 with cell would be like M$ releasing their next system with a HD DVD drive!

xnonsuchx
xnonsuchx
10 years ago

Looking Glass – Not 2 Cells, but a multi-core IBM POWER6/POWER7-based CPU w/ upgraded SPU 'co-processor' (like 14-16+ double-precision SPUs) which together would be a seriously souped up Cell-compatible set up.

And it could be true that AMD and Sony are working together to make a CPU+GPU, but that doesn't necessarily mean an AMD Fusion-type, x86-compatible chip. They could be licensing a POWER6/POWER7 core from IBM and doing a POWER CPU+SPU Farm+GPU all on a single chip design. I believe another rumor was that all this could be running at 4-4.2GHz too.

Looking Glass
Looking Glass
10 years ago

@ No-name

First of all if even someone is too lazy or too incompetent to truly learn about the CELL or something similar to it Sony should theoretically be able to get around this by also including an improved GPU and a larger amount of RAM. Or in other words stuff that's easier for them to wrap their heads around.

And second, incompetent designers can't really be helped all that much if at all. After all, even the version of Skyrim on the developer friendly Xbox 360 still had bugs and glitches.

TheHighlander
TheHighlander
10 years ago

@Anonymous Cowherd,

IBM didn't 'drop' Cell. Cell is/was a joint venture between IBM, Sony and Toshiba. Toshiba essentially sold their interest to Sony, and IBM ended *their* active development in the Cell architecture indicating that the project's work would be rolled into their other designs. NO comment was made regarding the future of Cell with Sony, nor was it ever indicated that IBM would not do additional work with Sony on the design.

A Power 7 based CPU with an SPU coprocerssor (AKA the Toshiba SPURS – which Sony now owns the rights to) seems a likely CPU architecture. It retains sufficient SPU capability to provide backwards compatibility, and yet is based on a newer state of the art Power design that is a true powerhouse. The Power 7 architecture draws on the work done with the Cell processors, and in some ways it is the spiritual successor to the original Cell.

Another possibility is that IBM would work under contract to produce a CPU based on two PowerXCell8i CPUs on a single die, this would provide 2PPEs and 16 (or more) SPUs, all using the more advanced design of the PowerXcell8i.

All I know is that comments by sources that I know to be as reliable as any other un-named source are saying that the early dev kits feature a CPU architecture that is cell derived with many SPUs.

@Qubex, indeed. I hope so too. Switching architectures would mean that Sony's own in-house devs would all have to start over again. 3rd parties be damned, the in-house teams are the ones that matter at this stage..

@Looking glass, the original PS3 concept featured multiple Cells, but they were too costly to make and the yield sucked. So they went with 1 slightly gimped Cell, and GPU to supplement it. I would not be surprised to see something with the hardware equivalent of twin (or even quad) cells in a PS4, but with about 4 times the performance of the original CellBE.

I would be completely surprised if Sony ditched everything that has gone before in terms of design philosophy and architecture and chose an X86 design. That would not only be a retrograde step technologically, it would be completely against the nature of the console world.

I know that Sony are seeking to make the PS4 developer friendly. One thing for everyone to remember is that the next generation of consoles will use CPUs with many more cores than the previous one. GPUs have many cores now too. Sony's approach of many cores with specific purposes has actually been validated in all aspects of computing. Mobile devices with quad core CPUs and quad GPUs are coming through (like the Vita), the current PC CPU architecture is actually closer in design to the Cell than to the x86 architecture of the past. If anything x86 is holding things back because it's no longer the native environment. If you look at the latest AMD and Intel designs they are running x86 in micro-code, but the underlying architecture is not x86, and hasn't been for a long time.

Sony's strategy of a single general purpose Core with multiple high speed math cores has been shown to be valid by the programmers that have used it. What Sony has to do is build development tools that can put that power into the hands of developers. So yes, make a machine that is easy to develop for, but that has more to do with things like available memory and dev tools than it does CPU architecture.


Last edited by TheHighlander on 3/2/2012 9:37:59 AM

daus26
daus26
10 years ago

This bit of news is much more pleasing to see for me!

___________
___________
10 years ago

they stopped working on it, if that does not mean they dropped it then what does it mean?
i dunno about you, but when a company comes out and says were stopping R&D into the cell, id call that dropping it.
i never said cell is dead, i said why beat on a dead horse.
cant believe i have to break that down, but what the hell.
what it means is its not nessessary, its like the red laser tech developed recently.
that can store what was it, 500GBs per layer?
would you advise $ony to add that in the ps4?
a updated cell probably would be higher spec then a conventional PC set up, but it also would be more expensive, and much more of a pain in the a$$ to work with!
so ill ask the question again, why beat on a dead horse?
yes they could stick with cell, but whats the point when a cheaper, easier to work with, and more developer friendly alternative will do?

fact is $ony always has created new architecture for its hardware.
so ps4 will be no different, but this time go back to conventional software instead of alien tech.
only reason $ony has always been the difficult one is because of father ken.
now hes gone, the vita has fallen in line, and the ps4 will do the same.
in fact im so sure of it if ps4 uses cell ill quit gaming for good!
no freaking way $ony will use cell in the ps4.
might as well use a chopper to pick up a pencil!


Last edited by ___________ on 3/3/2012 8:00:07 AM

WorldEndsWithMe
WorldEndsWithMe
10 years ago

It makes some sense, and ultimately I think the aim here is to shrink up the development cycle. If the game is made on PC then it takes a significantly less amount of time to get it functioning on the console.

Still, it's kind of scary in that it's MS-like BUT it will make Bethesda games run so much better 🙂


Last edited by WorldEndsWithMe on 3/1/2012 10:57:11 PM

Fane1024
Fane1024
10 years ago

No Bethesda game will ever run well on any system.

;P


Last edited by Fane1024 on 3/2/2012 2:21:23 AM

WorldEndsWithMe
WorldEndsWithMe
10 years ago

ha you know what I mean, you'll never get away from those bugs but the murderous framerates and many freezes could be helped.

TheHighlander
TheHighlander
10 years ago

No, I don't agree with this at all. Sony's first party development commitment is what differentiates them from everyone else. If, and it's a *bug* if, Sony went a more commodity route with their console hardware, all that would differentiate them from others is their first party devs. To some extent having a non-commodity design benefits the in-house first party teams and provides a way for Sony to set itself apart from the rest. In competition for consumers, differentiating yourself from the competition is vital. Sony's first party studios and their high quality PS3 work is what has driven the success of the PS3. Switching to a commodity x86 architecture levels the playing field and removes the inherent advantage of those in-house teams. Bad move in my opinion.

telly
telly
10 years ago

If it's true, it makes sense. Obviously most of us put PS3 head and shoulders above 360, but third party developers have often felt otherwise, and that's reflected in the quality of the software. The situation is much, much better that it was at launch of course, but anyone who's dealt with the Skyrim fiasco and issues with some other games (has anyone else had a HELL of a time getting online co-op to work on the PS3 version of Dead Island? Me and my buddy have literally quit trying it was such a pain in the ass) knows that clearly, third party developers are making superior versions of games for 360. I'm sure Sony would love to have an extremely developer-friendly system, and that means it has to be more similar to PCs, they'll do it.

I do see your point, Highlander. PS3 exclusive games, built to optimize Cell technology, really do have a unique look and feel, and that uniqueness could be jeopardized if Sony starts playing Microsoft's game. But from a business perspective, would be hard for sony to pass up I think.

TheHighlander
TheHighlander
10 years ago

See the thing is, this whole 'more similar to PCs' thing is a complete red herring. The 360 itself is not more similar to PCs. It uses a three core PowerPC CPU and an AMD GPU with eDRAM to boost performance. It's the development tools that MS provided. They used their position as the key holder to the Windows platform to make the dev tools on the 360 work just like them, the brought their own existing software standards from Windows to the 360 and offered these things to third party developers. Sony was never going to be in a position to do this since they do not hold the keys that MS does. They could have licensed MS libraries (assuming MS wanted to let them) for a fairly exorbitant fee, or use open standards and third party standards – which is what they did.

None of this has anything to do with the underlying hardware. It's a complete myth that the 360 is somehow PC like and the PS3 is uber-exotic. It's simply not the case. And before anyone bleats about the memory architecture on the PS3. Most PCs with discrete GPUs use separate memory pools for system and video, just like the PS3, and only mass market cheapo PCs use embedded graphics and shared memory – as used by the 360.

daus26
daus26
10 years ago

First thoughts that come to this for me is it would be almost a slap to the face of 1st party devs. They've worked their butt off this gen to get us quality games on the PS3. And you know what, it also differentiates between the developer's work ethic. It took Valve years to even "attempt" at putting effort to the PS3.

Well, I guess it's a matter of wanting to level the playing field vs. having more potential. I just don't understand how we're all getting these great games for the PS3, that's continually increasing in quality, and completely disregarding like it was crap. I mean are 3rd party PS3 games that bad?

WorldEndsWithMe
WorldEndsWithMe
10 years ago

I defer to Highlander in all technological matters.

matt99
matt99
10 years ago

If Sony is smart, they are hard at work developing the best gaming system ever made…and not telling a damn soul about it.

WorldEndsWithMe
WorldEndsWithMe
10 years ago

Definitely, but they are SOOO bad at keeping secrets.

Beamboom
Beamboom
10 years ago

This is GREAT news, every PS gamer should be happy if this turns out to be true!

I believe it will lead to better games, shorter development time, lower overall development costs, easier to recruit skilled developers for projects, great games will be available for the ps4 sooner after launch, we don't need five YEARS to reach the hardware's full potential (who would mind if were were at current level quality games on the ps3 already three-four years ago? I know I wouldn't!)… The list really is LONG.

The *only* argument against – in my opinion – is that we will have to kiss bye-bye to backward compatibility to the ps3 games. PS1 compatibility should easily be possible to create with software emulation by now.

This news really, really ignited my excitement. D1P!


Last edited by Beamboom on 3/2/2012 1:09:26 AM

Ignitus
Ignitus
10 years ago

I also think this is great news and I'm also excited about it just include lots of RAM and it should be perfect.

And don't worry about B/C. For those who want it real bad, there will be and add-on that will conect to the PS4 gigabit ethernet port that will enable ps3 B/C.

It will keep the PS4 price down and those who really want the PS3 B/C can pay for it.