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PS4: Sony went for “cheaper hardware” for fear of smaller install base – Cousins

Thursday, 4 April 2013 08:34 GMT By Dave Cook

PS4 is made up of cheaper hardware than its predecessor because Sony fears it will see a smaller install base in next-gen, ex-Battlefield producer and EA exec Ben Cousins has suggested.

Former EA exec Cousins is now heading up development of The Drowning at Scattered Entertainment, a game that promises to push boundaries in the tablet space. It’s a corner of the industry he clearly feels strongly about, along with the notion of triple-a free-to-play titles.

Speaking with GI.biz Cousins suggested that his team would be targeting gamers who buy into a console cycle mid-way through and buy games like FIFA and Call of Duty, rather than dabbling in far-reaching titles. He argued that tablets are going to become a more attractive prospect for this particular brand of gamer.

“We kind of feel that particularly tablets are becoming, will become, a solution for that problem or for that need”, he said. “Soon it will be like actually, I’m getting everything I need here, do I really need to buy a console? These are the sort of guys who buy a console halfway through the cycle rather than right at the start.

“I think the problem with the console model and certainly with the previous generation was that it needed the ultra-hardcore, the kids, and those kind of mid-core or whatever you it call it, mainstream gamers, to a buy a console in order to make a profit because it just needed massive volume.”

Cousins suggested that Sony has realised that this shift in player-base is changing when developing PS4 and explained why this may have prompted them to go for cheaper hardware than it did with PS3.

“It was interesting to see PS4 clearly go for what looks like cheaper hardware than last time around,” he continued, “so maybe that’s a kind of defensive move against their expectation that they’re not going to have the same install base, or maybe they just want to hit profitability quicker because of Sony’s less stable financial state at the moment.”

When asked if this was also because of Sony’s lesser financial situation than this time ahead of the PS3′s launch, Cousins replied, “Exactly, so that was interesting. That feels like they’re kind of acknowledging the threat and they’re kind of doing the best they can to kind of defend against it.

“But I do still feel like…and maybe it’s a selection bias, but most of the people I talk to and whose work I read are kind of in agreement…that this time around console install bases will be smaller. And probably will be focused more on that core audience. It’s certainly not going to be kids and casual gamers buying consoles any more I don’t think, they’re going to be all on mobile.”

What do you think about the tablet space and its ability to challenge the console gaming archetype as we know it? Let us know below.

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54 Comments

  1. Lengendaryboss

    I honestly thought they went with “cheap hardware” is because its what devs wanted and the PS3 was like developing on a three legged monster :D Edit: So Sony set out to make its successor built for developers by developers and for gamers by gamers and this is what we get.

    #1 2 years ago
  2. Dragon246

    “Former EA exec Cousins is now heading up development of The Drowning at Scattered Entertainment, a game that promises to push boundaries in the TABLET SPACE.”
    Didn’t read further.

    #2 2 years ago
  3. Lengendaryboss

    @2 No one would blame you.

    #3 2 years ago
  4. monkeygourmet

    The parts speak for themselves though, mind you. I can’t see the 720 being much different.

    I hate the fact that before this coming gen, were already being shown a lot of stuff that won’t be possibly on new consoles. It’s never been so pronounced if you ask me. The gap is only going to widen when new cards come out next year and 680′s get cheaper.

    The 680 will be very reasonably priced less than a year into the PS4 being out, the new wave of cards will change things yet again.

    I thought the PC / 360 / PS3 had mild parity even if it was short lived.

    #4 2 years ago
  5. Ajsman

    “…that this time around console install bases will be smaller. And probably will be focused more on that core audience. It’s certainly not going to be kids and casual gamers buying consoles any more I don’t think, they’re going to be all on mobile.”

    I really hope this happens. Maybe the dumbing down of games will finally stop and I will once more play a open world RPG where RP has a meaning. Yes I’m talking to you Bethesda.

    #5 2 years ago
  6. dizzygear

    “We kind of feel that particularly tablets are becoming, will become, a solution for that problem or for that need”, he said. “Soon it will be like actually, I’m getting everything I need here, do I really need to buy a console? These are the sort of guys who buy a console halfway through the cycle rather than right at the start.”

    The Razer Edge is pretty much a solution to that problem. If more hardware manufactures come out with similar solutions, consoles may become obsolete sooner than we think.

    #6 2 years ago
  7. Erthazus

    That’s true. I don’t see myself buying one. My current gen PC is more powerfull then PS4 and it’s 2 years old (My card is last year’s thing though)

    Next year are 700 series Kepler. It’s not just 500 series to 600 series that use 110 architecture. It’s going to have a lot more power and probably these cards will be the first that can do 4K gaming.

    #7 2 years ago
  8. OmegaSlayer

    It’s fun.
    PC players don’t realize that the more tablets gain gaming market, the more PC is in danger.
    People who has started using tablets for every day stuff and not work are ditching PCs on a daily basis.
    And tablets will soon offer the tools to do lots of works with them.
    Expect pro-tools and Photoshop on iPads in max 2 years.
    So high end PCs tailored for gamings will be rarer than consoles.

    #8 2 years ago
  9. Gnosis

    @8 It depends. I don’t think we will be able to connect tablets to TVs via HDMI and then watch movies any time soon, for example. For more complex things ppl will still need PCs, but I see where you’re coming from. I got myself a tablet last week and my PC has been off since then.

    @Topic: Good.

    #9 2 years ago
  10. PC_PlayBoy

    The future of gaming is: PC/MAC/Linux/Android & iOS.

    Consoles are dead and Sony/MS & Nintendo fucking know it.

    #10 2 years ago
  11. Djoenz

    Im getting sick and tired of these portable gaming talks.
    I will never like or support portable gaming.

    Its casual even with hardcoregames on it its still casual cause the battery will be dead in no time when using it intensively.

    Infested with microtransactions etc. I honestly hope casual gaming on social networks, gaming on mobiles, gaming on tablets is just one big fad/hype.

    #11 2 years ago
  12. Lengendaryboss

    @11 The 3DS is causal, The PS Vita is not but mobiles are. Sadly i think that is what the future will entail.

    #12 2 years ago
  13. sh4dow

    Wouldn’t it be funny if their install base got smaller BECAUSE they went for cheaper hardware…
    We’ll see, I guess. I also thought people would be crazy for buying the Wii… and we all know what happened there.

    #13 2 years ago
  14. xxJPRACERxx

    8 GB of GDDR5 memory modules is not cheap and probably the pricier thing in the PS4. But the rest of the system is could have been better. Cheap doesn’t mean “not good”.

    #14 2 years ago
  15. lexph3re

    Ahhh the internet! The prime place where a simple statement/theory becomes fact and reason. Spelling Doom and Gloom for any type of biassed behavior.

    Even funnier to hear people not want something for its hardware and not what it offers….. software!

    I understand not buying a console more for lack of software before the “oh, my pc can do this so i will stay here.” But does your PC have the exclusives of the consoles?No? I thought so

    #15 2 years ago
  16. ps3fanboy

    @8 OmegaSlayer
    your correct sir, if anyone should feel threaten by the mobil marked it is the pc.

    @9 Gnosis
    i have a friend that got a tablet too, his high powered pc are in no usage anymore. he is now selling it and go for one of them small cheap laptops where he can do some photo editing & family movie editing. for gaming it all happen on the ps3 and next will be the ps4.

    i see this happen everywhere, people just don’t want the high end big box pc anymore. they either go tablets and buy a small cheap laptop to have on the side. gaming its all on the consoles…

    #16 2 years ago
  17. Samoan Spider

    @16 But I have a tablet, that is used mainly when on the toilet or by the missus for internet browsing. I have a laptop for browsing on the sofa. And I have a high powered PC for everything from documents, to photo editing, to transcoding to gaming. So your logic doesn’t apply to everyone and isn’t happening everywhere.
    Edit: Oh and I sold both my consoles due to lack of use

    #17 2 years ago
  18. OlderGamer

    I do believe I have been saying these types of things for awhile now.

    Cheaper hardware is a must. The step up will be evolutionary not revolutionary, depite being so many years inbetween gen cycles.

    And yes Tablet like devices are the future. But that future is still a ways off.

    If you are getting sick of “all” of these mobile talks, prolly best to look at why so many people are talking that stihck? It isn’t likly that the old biz moel we have come to know will be around forever. You could have the worlds best Vinyal Record player, but if you live in a MP3 world it won’t matter. Times change. The future is likly to be very different then the present. But it won’t happen overnight.

    #18 2 years ago
  19. ps3fanboy

    @17 Samoan Spider
    you are in the minority now and you are of no interest for the developers. so you can sit there with your high end expensive pc. that will not take advantage of your powers and good luck with your game of solitaire.

    #19 2 years ago
  20. Samoan Spider

    @19 But you’re wrong. I know you don’t want to be, but its a fact. The new consoles are on x86 architecture (And I will be purchasing as I always do. The old ones went to make room) and this will mean PC’s are here to stay. There is a resurgence of PC gaming lately and the new direction of the consoles can only be good news for us who do play on them. Luckily I play games no matter the medium, so I’m winning all round. I feel sorry for people like you who are so fucking hell-bent that only one option will exist that you’ll be missing out on some gems elsewhere. I can play all the latest games at a price that agree’s with my missus, what’s so bad about that? Now go spew fan boy nonsense elsewhere. Until you find your objectivity, your opinion matters not.

    #20 2 years ago
  21. OlderGamer

    Samoan Spider +1

    #21 2 years ago
  22. Lord Gremlin

    @19 May be a rabid fanboy, but he has a valid point. PC may be powerful but you won’t get god of war, shadows of the damned, lollipop chainsaw, mortal kombat 2011 etc. etc.

    Some devs actually exploit that. They release garbage tailored to Pc and it sells. Crysis, Witcher.

    #22 2 years ago
  23. Samoan Spider

    @22 I know it happens, but the implication that PC’s are going down is as ridiculous as suggesting that an MS or Sony console is going down.
    Every system has its merits and anyone suggesting otherwise has lost their objectivity. I bought the Android Humble Bundle today. Excellent fun will be had with those games but am I going to ditch my PC or abandon plans to purchase the next gen systems? Nope.
    @PS3 fanboy, I’ll tell you what is a minority: Balanced gamers.

    #23 2 years ago
  24. zinc

    @22 ,I believe he stated quite clearly that he WILL be purchasing the consoles needed to play any game he wants.

    His point was that it’s silly to only blindly stick to one platform & that pc gaming will never go away. Ever. It’s like eternal.

    #24 2 years ago
  25. OlderGamer

    And I am exactly the same as that too. PC gamer, buy the consoles, play what I like.

    #25 2 years ago
  26. Gadzooks!

    As the next gen consoles are effectively PC’s, there will be even more PC/console crossover.

    Neither PC nor consoles are going away, but they are converging. That’s a very good thing, for every person involved in gaming (apart from platform trolls).

    Develop once, deploy to multiple platforms with tailored configs is game development nirvana.

    I think industry doomsayers are going to get fat from all the humble pie they will have to eat once the next gen takes off with more dev-friendly platforms.

    #26 2 years ago
  27. Mad-elph

    @9
    “I don’t think we will be able to connect tablets to TVs via HDMI and then watch movies any time soon” I hope you are kidding. Of course the ipad doens’t connect via HDMI because Apple is a closed system. But three year old BB Playbooks and many Android Tablets have HDMI ports and great movie and tv show stores.

    #27 2 years ago
  28. DoucheVader

    Funny Cousins didn’t use the word FEAR. Fear implies that Sony was scared, Cousins explains it as Sony utilizing a strategy out of intelligence (based on analysis). Fear is completely the wrong word to use and sets the wrong tone.

    #28 2 years ago
  29. Samoan Spider

    @28 Given your name, I better say the obligatory , fear leads to anger, anger leads to hate blah blah dark side :P

    #29 2 years ago
  30. viralshag

    I think it’s a smart move. I do honestly think the console manufacturers all-round will shift less units than before and game sales will continue to decline as a whole no matter what sort of evolution in gaming is brought forward. It’s an expensive time consuming hobby.

    I also wonder if being more like a PC is good or bad for PC gamers. The enthusiast PC gamer with their high end cards will just become an even smaller minority if tech between consoles and the majority of “gaming PCs” are much more similar. They will probably end up seeing even less worth from their expensive top of the range cards.

    It’s like buying a supercar to drive around a city. You COULD drive 200mph and occasionally you might take it for a spin in the country but most of the time you’re going to be sitting in traffic and do 30mph like the rest of us.

    #30 2 years ago
  31. Samoan Spider

    @30 But you could argue you LOOK good doing it. Nothing allows cock measuring like an underused high spec graphics card :). Very similar to the experience of Ferrari owners in London.
    I own a 7850 so I’m gonna benefit hugely (erm, I hope!?)

    #31 2 years ago
  32. viralshag

    @31, To carry on with the analogy I put Ferrari owners in the same league as mums that drop their kids off in 4x4s. Yeah, great, fast/big car that will never get used to its full potential and is pretty much good as showing off. I personally think “waste of money”.

    Each to their own of course. ;)

    #32 2 years ago
  33. Samoan Spider

    @32 Agreed both lack sense. The 4×4 metaphor is good because in a lot of cases the most off-roading those cars ever do is a high curb. So yeah, waste of money.
    And to further counter PS3_fanboy earlier, and I don’t know why I didn’t think of it at the time, but you referred to my expensive PC, but by most accounts, we’ll be spending as much buying a PS4 as I did on my PC so cost is only prohibitive if you have Erthazus level expectations of what a decent rig is.

    #33 2 years ago
  34. viralshag

    @33, The thing is I have what I consider to be a decent rig, it was quite pricey to put together but I did so because I want a machine that runs well, plays pretty games but more so because I like building computers.

    Whether or not I’m getting DOuBLE THE GRAPHIXXXXX in comparison to consoles means very little to me. I just like the option of being able to play a better looking game when I have the option – like BF3 for example. But coming from a console background, when a PC game has no pad support (for Torchlight 2 as an example), I instantly think the PC is sometimes a weaker platform.

    #34 2 years ago
  35. Samoan Spider

    @34 I’m in agreement there. There are some odd examples of that no-controller support situation, like Mass Effect 3. Now you can’t tell me that wasn’t borked deliberately. But it does bother me. I bought quite a decent keyboard though with dedicated gaming controls which are pretty comfortable to play. But I know what you mean, and I was a PC gamer who owned consoles at the same time so never used to have problems switching. Think I’ve just got old and lazy now lol :)

    #35 2 years ago
  36. OlderGamer

    And SS, not to mention what you save(we save) on Steam games vs retail console ones.

    You guys should spend a day or a week in the winter where I live. Often time pushing snow with the grill of your vehicle. I don’t live in a city tho. I live in the sticks. And in the winter, snow covered sticks!

    #36 2 years ago
  37. viralshag

    @35, Oh man no pad support for the PC versions of all the Mass Effect games really bugged the shit out of me. I’m a total ME fanboy so I have all three games (and most of the DLC) on both the PC and 360 so I sort of got the best of both worlds in terms of looks and controls.

    Saying that once I got use to the PC controls it was fine but my first choice would always be to display on the TV, play with a pad and sit on my couch.

    #37 2 years ago
  38. Samoan Spider

    @36 I have nothing against 4×4′s where they are needed. I lived in Devon for many years so I know they can be life saving. Now I work inside the M25 where its very unlikely you’ll ever be THAT stuck :)

    Edit @37, yup this is my preference too these days

    #38 2 years ago
  39. zinc

    @36 hmm, I figure Samoan Spider might prefer you abbreviating his tag to Samoan, or Sammy, or Sam, rather than SS, OG :-)

    #39 2 years ago
  40. Cobra951

    Cheaper doesn’t necessarily mean less capable or less reliable. It can also mean less unique, or common. Economies of scale (good subject to read up on) can make all the difference between a profitable and a bankrupt Sony. The acceptable price of consoles is fairly fixed. Costs have to be kept in line with it.

    #40 2 years ago
  41. viralshag

    @40, Exactly. I think based on the last gen Sony know that having a more reasonable build cost from the outset is going to be important. I can’t imagine having another console selling at a significant loss for a rather long period of time, with software sales as low as they are, is a viable option for them. Or MS for that matter.

    #41 2 years ago
  42. Samoan Spider

    @39 Haha, yeah SS would suggest an incorrect career choice for me but anything else works.

    @40/41 Going forward, its the only option they had so it’s logical. And I see nothing wrong with the specs either.

    #42 2 years ago
  43. viralshag

    @42, Like I just said in the forums I think as long as both consoles offer similar services (Netflix, Lovefilm etc) and media offerings (Bluray, good online, games ofc) then slight disparities in terms of graphics will mean so little to the everyday purchaser.

    I think as long as they show your average joe something that looks better or plays better than what they have now, they’ll be tempted.

    #43 2 years ago
  44. OlderGamer

    lol ok, will try and remember that, Samoan.

    #44 2 years ago
  45. nollie4545

    Never heard such rot.

    Get this in your skulls now. RAM is CHEAP. Whether DDR3 or GDDR5 it makes no odds. Dirt cheap silicon. You can buy gpu card with 3, 4, 6GB of VRAM right now, out of the box. Hardly anyone does. You know why? Because it makes no difference at the moment. You know why? BECAUSE CPU AND GPU POKE RUN OUT FIRST.

    The PS4 and next Xbox will have dirt cheap system on a chip CPUs with the GPU on the same die. Why is this done?? Cost. It. Is. Cheap. Cheap because you can get more console guts out of the same sheet of silicon. It uses less power and makes less heat into the bargain. Better yet, by going with AMD and their magic APU which is really designed for mobile devices, you avoid having to pay big money from anything from those nasty expensive people from either Intel or Nvidia. Why are these companies expensive?? Answer: because they make the fastest stuff with the best performance. AMD however are playing second fiddle to both yet have a product which can give you reasonable GPU performance (about the same as a 7850) and some sensible CPU performance (A10 CPU line still destroyed in benches mind against even older AMD products).

    Still, given that a good graphics card will cost you $500 today, and you’re gonna get a whole console for that, you can’t hope for much else.

    There is no way Nvidia or intel are going to discount their products just because of something Sony dream up. You can dream on if you think the 780 will magically make the 680 cheaper, because 580 prices are still sky high. If you want high performance silicon then you have to pay money to fund sky high cost R&D programmes.

    #45 2 years ago
  46. Jerykk

    @8

    The people you’re referring to were never PC gamers in the first place, so their transition to tablets has no impact on PC gaming. No PC gamer (and by PC gamer, I mean someone who regularly plays a variety of hardcore PC games, not someone who only plays Solitaire or Bejeweled) will ever switch to tablets. Touch screens are a terrible control scheme and offer neither the speed, precision nor flexibility of M/KB. Tablets also have much weaker hardware than a gaming PC, removing one of the key appeals of PC gaming (superior image quality and performance).

    If anything, tablets pose a greater threat to consoles than PC. Consoles have always relied on convenience and accessibility for their appeal. Tablets rely on these very same things. PC gaming has never relied on either.

    #46 2 years ago
  47. DrDamn

    @45
    You still aren’t getting the ram thing are you? Everything isn’t just about “poke”. It’s not coincidence that the people talking about the amount of ram are the game *designers*.

    Get a video card with 6Gb of ram in and it makes no difference because you are still playing a game designed to also run on video cards with 1GB, and systems with 2GB.

    #47 2 years ago
  48. rockman29

    There is nothing wrong with this truth being presented.

    Sony just wants to be profitable earlier.

    Lower costs initially just mean lower risk.

    It’s good for business, and the x86 solution is good for developers.

    The whole concept of cheap delivery is also good for indies and good for consumers at the end of the day.

    Tablets are in no way going to be infringing on the home theatre gaming experiences that only consoles and PC can offer. The mighty laws of physics make sure of that, low power consuming devices can only go so far. Tablets have barely gone beyond GameCube and Xbox graphics.

    #48 2 years ago
  49. spoffle

    @4 & 7

    What is it with people acting like the GTX680 is the pinnacle or something? AMD’s 7970 is cheaper and performs better.

    Additionally, you think the nVidia 7 series will be the first GPUs to be able to do “4K gaming”? What makes you think that? I’ve been playing at beyond 4K resolutions for over a year now…

    @45 What is this BS about “CPU and GPU poke” running out before RAM is filled? You sound incredibly clueless with this statement. It doesn’t take a really fast CPU and GPU to fill up RAM, where have you got this from?

    #49 2 years ago
  50. Nath_gamer

    @48 Well said, and why are people even mentioning PC’s at all, Home Consoles are on a whole different page to PC as a gaming platform, I refer back to a previous VG247 article “The PS4 is like the ultimate gaming PC” not in that it’s as good as the best gaming PC could be, but that it’s more graphically capable than the average gaming PC out there that people actually have these days, and developers don’t have to accommodate for varying specifications in each system. (I’m not trolling or anything I’m just wondering why people are talking about PC gaming when this is about the PS4)

    #50 2 years ago
  51. Nath_gamer

    And as for Tablets posing any sort of competition towards home consoles, complete bollocks, If I wanted to play angry birds on a massive touch screen on the train then I would have purchased a tablet by now, but seeing as I’m not a complete douche and I’m sensible with my money I’ve invested my time and money into home console gaming and It’s served me very well and will continue to do so with the PS4 just around the corner.

    #51 2 years ago
  52. Espers

    Claim:

    “PS4 is made up of cheaper hardware than its predecessor because Sony fears it will see a smaller install base in next-gen, ex-Battlefield producer and EA exec Ben Cousins has suggested.”

    Motif:

    “Former EA exec Cousins is now heading up development of The Drowning at Scattered Entertainment, a game that promises to push boundaries in the tablet space”

    HA HA HA HA .. enough said ….. damn you BEN COUSINS … PS4 will rule !!

    #52 2 years ago
  53. TheDuckPortal

    Probably one of the most sensible discussions ive seen relating to consoles vs PCs on this website. ^^^ usually its full of babbling idiots… Where have they all gone? 0.0

    #53 2 years ago
  54. Christopher Jack

    And MS went for even cheaper hardware (well at least regarding ram and gpu, I think the one also has a slower bluray drive) but then piled that gimmicky kinect on top. Curious to know the build cost for the console and their controllers.

    #54 2 years ago

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