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Cerny: We didn't want PS4 to be a puzzle

Lead system architect explains "developer-centric approach" to new Sony console

Mark Cerny, Sony's lead system architect for the PlayStation 4 and the man who took to the stage to demonstrate it last month, has explained why developers were such an important consideration in the consoles development.

"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," he told Gamasutra.

He was clear from the beginning that he wanted a "very developer-centric approach to the design of the PlayStation 4" and believed that this would make things go more smoothly. So in 2008 he started to quiz PlayStation 3 developers on what they'd want from a next-gen machine. The answers included unified memory and either 4 or 8 cores. He also spoke to the technology companies that create the tools for the developers.

"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. 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."

PlayStation 4 was revealed on February 20, when Cerny called it "a platform by game creators, for game creators."

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Latest comments (6)

Andy Samson QA Supervisor, Digital Media Exchange3 years ago
Wouldn't this non-puzzling nature also make PS4 games easier to emulate on a PC?
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Paul Jace Merchandiser 3 years ago
In other words, they didn't want the hardware design to be as uneccessarily complicated(for developers) as the PS3.
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Adam Campbell Producer, Hopster3 years ago
The time of technology/architecture crusades should have ended a long time ago. But going forward, this approach is clearly welcome.
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Nuttachai Tipprasert Programmer 3 years ago
@Andy. Seeing how easy to be able to port the games from PS4 to PC (or the other way around), I don't see any reason for emulating PS4, really.
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Curt Sampson Sofware Developer 3 years ago
Adam: I think the time of technology/architecture crusades in the home (as opposed to handheld) console space did end a long time ago. The last hurrah of it was the Xbox 360 and the PS3, both of which finalized their major architecture in 2004 or earlier, almost a decade ago. I reckon that pretty much everybody these days has bought into the idea that you go either with a standard architecture (similar to a PC, as with PS4 or Xbox 360, or Android, as with Ouya) or you do what you need for backwards compatibility (as with the Wii U).

Rolling your own custom architecture optimized for gaming still made sense up to the middle of the last decade, when significantly less processing power was available at a cost-effective price point and consoles did a lot less. They didn't really start moving from being more or less fancy DVD players to something more resembling a PC until the seventh generation. So it's no surprise that this is the first generation that's gone with industry standard architectures.
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Andy Samson QA Supervisor, Digital Media Exchange3 years ago
@ Nuttachai. I wasn't merely referring to multiplats, I was thinking in the line of console exclusives. Things like first and 2nd party games. PD wouldn't just bring Gran Turismo to PC.
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