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  1. #1
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    Inside the PlayStation 4 with Mark Cerny

    Mark Cerny originally began to think about designing the PlayStation 4 in 2007. Over Thanksgiving weekend, a mere year after the PlayStation 3 was released, he began to read technical documents about the X86 processor -- the processor that ended up going into the system that was unveiled this past February, by Cerny, in New York City.

    The fact that he spent so much of his personal time working on the question of just what hardware should go into the box made Cerny realize something important: "I probably have more passion about the next generation than anybody inside the Sony Computer Entertainment world."

    With that in mind, he pitched his bosses on letting him lead the PlayStation 4 development efforts. To his surprise, he earned himself the role of lead system architect.

    Though he began with the technology, "wanting to lead the effort wasn't based on any specific beliefs at that time -- other than that clearly we had had some issues with PlayStation 3, in that a very developer-centric approach to the design of the PlayStation 4 would just make things go more smoothly overall."

    "The biggest thing was that we didn't want the hardware to be a puzzle that programmers would be needing to solve to make quality titles," says Cerny. He's referring here to the fact that the CELL processor, which powers the PlayStation 3, was extremely powerful by 2006 standards -- but also notoriously difficult to work with.

    So in 2008, once he'd gotten the okay, Cerny began to canvass PlayStation 3 developers, asking them what they wanted from a theoretical next generation console -- yes, that early. "It's not like we could come out and say we were developing the next generation of hardware -- we certainly couldn't say that in 2008," Cerny recollects.

    "My first tour of the developers, I had a questionnaire where I just asked them their thoughts on what the next generation might bring," he says. "The largest piece of feedback we got was that they wanted unified memory."

    The PlayStation 4 will launch with an 8GB bank of GDDR5 RAM, which can be directly addressed by both the CPU and GPU of the system. Cerny is confident that this strategy brings flexibility and power to the console in both the near and long term.

    The system also will ship with an eight-core CPU, another decision that came from the developer-questioning phase. "We quickly could tell that we should put either four or eight cores on the hardware," Cerny says. "The consensus was that any more than eight, and special techniques would be needed to use them, to get efficiency."

    "It definitely was very helpful to have gone out and have done the outreach before sitting down to design the hardware," he says.

    For all of its commercial shortcomings, the PlayStation Vita marks the first time the company put the software developer at the center of its hardware design efforts, something Cerny says paid off both directly on that system, and also in terms of laying the groundwork for the PS4's design.

    "We took Vita as an opportunity to rework the tool chain and the development environment, and I think that you saw that the response from the development community [to those changes] was very good," says Cerny. "That meant that with PS4 we already had this philosophy in place -- that we wanted our tools to be much richer and much more accessible to our developers, even in the launch timeframe."

    He didn't stop at game developers, either, he tells Gamasutra. "When I started talking to the development community, prominent middleware companies were in the mix at that time. It's very important to us to have those engines on our platform," Cerny says. "I have to say, also, the insights that you can get by talking to their top technology people -- It's quite nice to have those insights when doing the hardware design."

    Throughout his conversation with Gamasutra -- which, in the end, lasted well over an hour -- the two threads that came through again and again were that Cerny wanted the console to be familiar enough that the barrier to entry for developers was very low, but at the same time, he wanted to be sure that the technical decisions he and his team made would ensure high performance over its entire lifespan.

    In a forthcoming article, Gamasutra will share the many details of the PlayStation 4's architecture and design that came to light during this extensive and highly technical conversation.
    http://gamasutra.com/view/news/18936...Mark_Cerny.php

  2. #2
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    This is making me excited.




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    I'm glad the PS4 will be so dev-friendly

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    Definitely looking forward to the second part. Perhaps it will go into some detail about how the CPU addresses the memory with different clock speeds. It will be illuminating to see if they used the dual clock in GDDR5 to resolve latency.

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    Very interesting. Looking forward to the next part. Everything is starting to look like Sony has done, and is doing, all the right things with the PS4.

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    Forget this nicety nice article.... let's get to the technical $#@!! Bring on the next article!

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    Really interesting. I'm looking forward to reading the next article.
    I can read your thoughts.


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    Quote Originally Posted by Sparc View Post
    Very interesting. Looking forward to the next part. Everything is starting to look like Sony has done, and is doing, all the right things with the PS4.

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    I can't wait for the 2nd part! E3 this year is going to be amazing!

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    Mark did his research. Good thing he didn't just go pull random specs out of his ass like a certain [infraction] said he could have done.


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    Mark Cerny is like Phil Harrison v2. That he can talk about pretty much anything, and it will sound interesting.

    Quote Originally Posted by Two4DaMoney View Post
    Mark did his research. Good thing he didn't just go pull random specs out of his ass like a certain [infraction] said he could have done.
    Yeah but those [infraction] are what helps drive these gaming forums.

    Without [infraction] we would just get bored, possibly abuse one another and get [infraction] for doing so.

    [infraction] helps in moving the great chain of gaming debate along.

    We need [infraction] to laugh. We need [infraction] to cry. But most of all, we need [infraction] because without [infraction] - there wouldn't be people trying to look all "hey guys I'm everyone's best friend and I'm not a [infraction]" whilst still acting like [infraction] and starting witch hunts at self-perceived possible [infraction].

    So you see Two4DaMoney, we might not get the [infraction] that we need; but we have [infraction] that we deserve....


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    Quote Originally Posted by Two4DaMoney View Post
    Mark did his research. Good thing he didn't just go pull random specs out of his ass like a certain [infraction] said he could have done.
    He is definitely a departure from Ken Kutaragi and his overly wild expectations! I am glad Mark is leading the project, and I think he is doing a wonderful job thus far!

    -=[ PSN ID: Tha_MonkeyClaw ]=-

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    right when he was speaking I thought to myself that he was a really good speaker and he most certainly was. Hopefully he is behind more future playstation console.
    She put the lime in the coconut, she drank them both up.

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    "We took Vita as an opportunity to rework the tool chain and the development environment, and I think that you saw that the response from the development community [to those changes] was very good," says Cerny. "That meant that with PS4 we already had this philosophy in place -- that we wanted our tools to be much richer and much more accessible to our developers, even in the launch timeframe."
    Does that mean vita builded while ps4 in mind ? if it is , awesome!
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    deliver.....

    This is certainly interesting though. Nice to know there are passionate people involved (from the inception even)


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    It's a good read. Looking forward to the next part.
    Thanks to Kwes for the avatar and Sylar for the signature!

    Do you love GTA? Check out my general discussion thread here!

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    The fact that mark cerny started thinking about about the playstation 4 back in 2008 is just amazing.

    Sent from my HTC-PG762 using Tapatalk 2

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    Quote Originally Posted by Robardian View Post
    The fact that mark cerny started thinking about about the playstation 4 back in 2008 is just amazing.

    Sent from my HTC-PG762 using Tapatalk 2
    Actually it's not. Hardware guys are always thinking about the next project. It's like the chip designers at Nvidia or AMD. They are split into teams that are staggered in development cycles. That's why they can keep pumping out new chips every year. I think I read their average development times on GPUs is 2 years. So once your team's chip debuts, they start work on the next chip that will debut 2 years later. Then one of the other teams debuts it's chip they were working on about 6 months or so after you. And the cycle continues with the other teams.

    That's how we get new generations of chips constantly released to us.

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    Quote Originally Posted by GreatSpaceKoaster View Post
    Actually it's not. Hardware guys are always thinking about the next project. It's like the chip designers at Nvidia or AMD. They are split into teams that are staggered in development cycles. That's why they can keep pumping out new chips every year. I think I read their average development times on GPUs is 2 years. So once your team's chip debuts, they start work on the next chip that will debut 2 years later. Then one of the other teams debuts it's chip they were working on about 6 months or so after you. And the cycle continues with the other teams.

    That's how we get new generations of chips constantly released to us.
    Cerny was a game designer, a programmer... A SOFTWARE guy, NOT a hardware guy. He brought some ideas to SONY and they gave him the go ahead to be the main architect of the PS4. He came out of his comfort zone (software) and pulled at rabbit out of his hat.

    Cerny was better placed IMO to come up with hardware that the developers could/would enjoy working more than with some exotic hardware minded guy like crazy Ken (the guy was a HW genius but was not dev friendly at all)


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    I see it as the perfect move to make in the face of mounting competition from Microsoft. MS went into console gaming knowing that they could take the fight to Sony with software and subscription services. They are sticking to what they do best and hoped that Sony would flinch or trip up. The Playstation 3 became exactly that opportunity they were looking for because Sony played to their strength as a hardware manufacturer.

    When they released a behemoth that was designed completely irrespective to software development and modern trends towards technology moving in a different direction in mainstream PC and electronics, MS was able to leverage themselves fully as a software designer first and foremost. By putting a guy like Cerny as the architect of the new Playstation and giving him the level of free reign that they did, Sony was able to pull that advantage away.

    As long as no "devil in the details" rears its ugly head between now and launch day, Microsoft is more or less back in the same position they were with the first XBox. They will be on the defense and trying to either preach their merits back to the consumer base or rebranding their product and changing directions somewhat like how Nintendo did with the Wii. The core gamer and majority of the dedicated gamers in general are Sony's for the taking as things stand. Mark Cerny and the PS4 architecture was exactly the right move at the right time.

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    But but but sony didn't have to do any research whaaa whaaa whaaa!

    Sent from my SGH-T889 using Tapatalk

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    Quote Originally Posted by snooper71 View Post
    Cerny was a game designer, a programmer... A SOFTWARE guy, NOT a hardware guy. He brought some ideas to SONY and they gave him the go ahead to be the main architect of the PS4. He came out of his comfort zone (software) and pulled at rabbit out of his hat.

    Cerny was better placed IMO to come up with hardware that the developers could/would enjoy working more than with some exotic hardware minded guy like crazy Ken (the guy was a HW genius but was not dev friendly at all)
    I stand corrected. I assumed he was also a hardware guy. Most software guys don't need to learn electronics, but hardware engineers are usually taught at least assembly and even C.

    Quote Originally Posted by Lefein View Post
    I see it as the perfect move to make in the face of mounting competition from Microsoft. MS went into console gaming knowing that they could take the fight to Sony with software and subscription services. They are sticking to what they do best and hoped that Sony would flinch or trip up. The Playstation 3 became exactly that opportunity they were looking for because Sony played to their strength as a hardware manufacturer.

    When they released a behemoth that was designed completely irrespective to software development and modern trends towards technology moving in a different direction in mainstream PC and electronics, MS was able to leverage themselves fully as a software designer first and foremost. By putting a guy like Cerny as the architect of the new Playstation and giving him the level of free reign that they did, Sony was able to pull that advantage away.

    As long as no "devil in the details" rears its ugly head between now and launch day, Microsoft is more or less back in the same position they were with the first XBox. They will be on the defense and trying to either preach their merits back to the consumer base or rebranding their product and changing directions somewhat like how Nintendo did with the Wii. The core gamer and majority of the dedicated gamers in general are Sony's for the taking as things stand. Mark Cerny and the PS4 architecture was exactly the right move at the right time.
    Well if this gen has taught us anything, it's that what we assume will happen and looks good on paper doesn't always happen. No one could have predicted how far Microsoft has gone nor have predicted Nintendo to go from 3rd place with the Gamecube to 1st place with about 100 million Wii sold.

    You could be right and you could be wrong. But based on predictions of the past and how they played out PLUS with more gaming entertainment platforms to compete against.... predictions are even harder now.

    Quote Originally Posted by YoungMullah88 View Post
    But but but sony didn't have to do any research whaaa whaaa whaaa!

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    Like I said before....if you have a good relationship with your customers and regular communication with them.... you don't need to research. All the info will come to you. If you need to go out and get that info, that means your communication wasn't a good as you thought.

    That's why when my district manager had questions for me, I didn't need to call or drive out to the businesses of my customers. Why? Cuz they were telling me all along. That's called good communication and a good relationship with your customers.

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    Quote Originally Posted by snooper71 View Post
    Cerny was a game designer, a programmer... A SOFTWARE guy, NOT a hardware guy. He brought some ideas to SONY and they gave him the go ahead to be the main architect of the PS4. He came out of his comfort zone (software) and pulled at rabbit out of his hat.

    Cerny was better placed IMO to come up with hardware that the developers could/would enjoy working more than with some exotic hardware minded guy like crazy Ken (the guy was a HW genius but was not dev friendly at all)
    A rabbit out of his hat?
    I mean I really like the specs of the PS4, but its only because its so darn sensible.
    Its hardly a rabbit or any form of magic.

    The devil will be in the details as to exactly what is custom in this system, but so far there certainly seems to be a straight up, sensible system, packing little in the way of surprises.

    Thats not a bad thing at all, however.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mynd View Post
    A rabbit out of his hat?
    I mean I really like the specs of the PS4, but its only because its so darn sensible.
    Its hardly a rabbit or any form of magic.

    The devil will be in the details as to exactly what is custom in this system, but so far there certainly seems to be a straight up, sensible system, packing little in the way of surprises.

    Thats not a bad thing at all, however.
    Spec-wise, maybe not, but when you create a system that caters exactly to the development industries wishes, I think that's a pretty nice rabbit. PS4 rectifies all of the issues that held PS3 back.

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    Quote Originally Posted by YoungMullah88 View Post
    But but but sony didn't have to do any research whaaa whaaa whaaa!

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    Yea man, come on researches are useless even if you are spending billions!!! Oh btw asking costumers is not a research
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