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PS4′s architecture offers more customisation than PC, says Cerny

Friday, 12 July 2013 13:17 GMT By Dave Cook

PlayStation 4′s architect Mark Cerny has told VG247 that the console’s “super-charged PC architecture” will give Sony and developers more customisation than they’d find on PC, helping to give the console more room to expand and improve throughout the next-gen cycle.

Speaking with Dave Owen at a recent event, Cerny stressed that PS4 was designed to offer any developer – be it a small indie or a triple-a powerhouse – flexibility and room to create technically proficient experiences.

“We wanted the focus to be on the games that the creative directors wanted to make,” he explained, “rather than the minutiae of the hardware. That’s universal. That’s true whether you’re talking Destiny with their 700-strong team or you’re talking one guy doing everything. They want to focus on the creative vision.

“At the same time we have to balance that out with a rich feature set that they can use in the later years of the hardware. The hardware has to grow over time. That’s why I refer to it as a super-charged PC architecture – there’s more in it than what you find in a PC.

“There are all these customisations, such as what we did to the GPU and other parts of the system to ensure that they would really be these systems that programmers could dig into in year three or four of the console life-cycle.”

Such customisation will allow the PS4 to expand with new capabilities moving forward across the next cycle, both meeting the demands of developers and reacting to new trends within the industry. As the base PS4 architecture will remain largely the same for years, developers will have a long time to get to grips with it, and slowly learn any new facets as they emerge.

Cerny continued, “The developers really have a chance to study that architecture because it doesn’t change for many years. They can learn its secrets and get progressively better performance out of it. Consoles also provide a stable platform.

“This is really important because some developers need five years to create a game. The fact that during that five year period the target hardware doesn’t change really allows them to bring titles to the world that couldn’t exist otherwise.”

What do you make of the console’s PC-like architecture? You can also check out my recent interview with Warframe developer Digital Extremes which, thanks to the PS4′s architecture managed to port its shooter to Sony’s console in just three months.

Stay tuned for our full Cerny interview later today.

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53 Comments

  1. Tavarish

    So all he says is “This is console and games will improve as generation matures!”

    Basic “No shit Sherlock!” -news.

    #1 2 years ago
  2. Francis O

    The PS4 is the greatest thing ever.

    #2 2 years ago
  3. Erthazus

    So far I saw Unreal Engine 4 (1st gen demo) looking worse on the PS4 then on the previous last gen videocard in the PC.

    http://www.eurogamer.net/articles/digitalfoundry-unreal-engine-4-ps4-vs-pc

    So no. More bullshit at eleven with 120 fps on the PS3 from Ken Kutaragi

    #3 2 years ago
  4. MCTJim

    What it boils down to is they made it more PC like this time around. Both consoles are able to do this. Both consoles are closed systems meaning they cannot be upgraded after launch..which means they remain constant…to which I describe the motherboard and the components on it. Firmware tweaks are all done by each manufacturer.

    Of course games will get better as the Dev’s get a better handle on each system.

    @1 couldnt agree more.

    #4 2 years ago
  5. machy

    i compared UC1 with UC3 and i was like :O .. gve it 18 months and ps4/x1 will shine more

    #5 2 years ago
  6. Erthazus

    The only reason why Uncharted 1 looked not as nice as the second or third game is because developers had issues with crappy hardware inside PS3.

    When Uncharted 2 came out it was basically the end for a system power.

    PS4 will be the same. 2 years of decent visuals and stuff, after that it’s going to be outdated and all games will look the same or will be in half assed resolution with low graphics like Battlefield 3 on consoles.

    #6 2 years ago
  7. machy

    @3 that UE4 was run on prototype hardware just to test it don’t speak without known ur facts ”it makes look like a kid”

    #7 2 years ago
  8. melonbuster1

    Is it me or does this guy scream creepy lier

    #8 2 years ago
  9. machy

    ^ur proof ?

    #9 2 years ago
  10. DrDamn

    Does anyone bother reading the article and try and understand it these days before commenting? The point is that whilst they have gone quite PC architecture wise there are enough customisations and extra features that devs (even those with extensive PC experience) will have time to discover and exploit stuff as years go on.

    There are those who would assume that as the architecture is PC like then the performance wouldn’t improve much and all the performance would be instantly tappable (see @3 for an example).

    #10 2 years ago
  11. Aullah

    “PS4′s architecture offers more customisation than PC”

    Thats the funniest thing I heard this week.

    #11 2 years ago
  12. Tavarish

    @10 Like I said, it’s console and games improve as generation matures. This shouldn’t be news to anyone who have paid any attention e.g. current-gen games.

    99% percent of what he said is just PR hype and 1% is that console part.

    #12 2 years ago
  13. DrDamn

    @12
    In the context of a PC-like architecture though people make the assumption that it is all known from a developers point of view, when actually for both systems it’s not due to the customisations they have made.

    #13 2 years ago
  14. DrDamn

    @11
    And not what Cerny said.

    #14 2 years ago
  15. ps3fanboy

    read and cryen xbots and peecee master raisin… the ps4 is the best!

    #15 2 years ago
  16. Chris8bits

    As long as it can go from powered off to playing a game in less than 1 minute, then consoles still > PC’s for me.

    #16 2 years ago
  17. Odahviing

    Funny how this isn’t posted on NeoGAF yet. If it would say “Xbox One offers more customization than a PC” this shit would be all over the gaf.

    Glad im gonna buy a PC next month.

    #17 2 years ago
  18. Tavarish

    @17 Well PS 4 is Messiah of video gaming and makes other consoles & PC obsolete as gaming platforms on 7th day after release.

    Fact.

    #18 2 years ago
  19. Joe Musashi

    @10 “Does anyone bother reading the article and try and understand it these days before commenting? “

    When you are an instant expert and know more than anyone else then, no, you don’t need to read the article. Duh.

    JM

    #19 2 years ago
  20. Belmont

    He is bascially saying that since a console is a close system, developers can take time to optimize the games and bring more out of it while this huge optimization isn’t possible on PC.

    Was this even worth mentioning Mr.Cerny ?

    #20 2 years ago
  21. DrDamn

    @20
    No he isn’t. He’s talking about customisations made the the PC-like architecture which support this, not it simply being a closed system.

    #21 2 years ago
  22. Tavarish

    @21 Which is just empty speak and hype because in the end it’s just closed system, console, and full power will be tapped into years from now.

    #22 2 years ago
  23. Belazur

    #3 / @Erthazus You are a real genious…..
    You do remember that they (Epic) converted the DEMO to the PS4 in less than a week, for the PS Meeting?
    No wonder it did not look that great.

    Next time, use your brain, my friend.

    #23 2 years ago
  24. MFBB

    I think most of you understand this news wrong.

    Its about how the data is managed/directed in the system, you have more possibilities to control directly what/how stuff is processed.

    You need time to learn about all the tricks and how to handle things the best way with the new consoles.

    Thats also why systems like the PS3 with 254MB Ram/old weak graphic card etc can run games looking so good where a PC with such hardware could do absoluetly nothing with todays games.

    They talked about PC like architecture for the new consoles, but even so it is still something different and thats also why you cant direclty compare the hardware of the Xbone/PS4 with a PC (even with the same hardware, the consoles would be more powerful).

    “architecture offers more customisation” when you have more control over the system, you can get way better results.

    Thats not possible on the PC due to the thousands of different hardware configurations they have to consider when porting/creating a game for PC.

    It would be so awesome if we would all have the same gaming PCs, like 3 models medium high ultra….our games would run so much better and look better.

    #24 2 years ago
  25. DrDamn

    @22
    See @13

    @24
    It’s more than the fact it’s a closed system. It’s about additions and changes to standard PC architecture which people won’t understand how to use yet as well. Consoles used to be very bespoke, individual and reliant on people re-learning to get the most from. Both new consoles are familiar in that known components are used, so this enables devs to more quickly produce something good, but also custom in a number of ways which allows for more improvement over time.

    So if they can combine this … http://i.imgur.com/9k8rFRt.jpg … with significant improvement over time too, then it’s a good thing.

    #25 2 years ago
  26. Tavarish

    @24 Or you know, if utter garbage called “current-gen” would just be slaughtered asap we actually would get better games on PC.

    “Thats also why systems like the PS3 with 254MB Ram/old weak graphic card etc can run games looking so good where a PC with such hardware could do absoluetly nothing with todays games.”

    Quoted part is hardly functional point in my opinion because games and theirs development has been hindered for years now by “so powerful PS 3″. When PS 3 came out PC’s already were on same-ish level and even past it at some aspects, but because industry has sickening need to design everything for lowest performing platform first it causes problems for content development.

    Consoles will always run “same game better” as e.g. same-ish PC because of theirs closed nature, but it doesn’t mean that variety of PC configurations are reason for “shitty looking and badly performing games”. It’s more because for longest time games has been designed for very very out dated platforms and then proceeded to do garbage ports to PC.

    Next-gen is most promising gen for gaming on all platforms that ever done. Why? Basically PC architecture means that porting games between platforms (Console PC) shouldn’t be that complicated task anymore which in return gives better performance all around. Also next-gen’s 8 GB of RAM actually gives room for games to develop something else than just polycounts.

    @25 I think people also fail to understand that it’s fucking CONSOLE. No matter what hype PR marketing slang they use about “Hyper charged customized awesomeness with golden rims PC architecture!”.

    Yes, they use PC architecture and yes they have custom build around it. Still it’s console by its nature and they always take time to fully tap into because of customized nature of HW design.

    #26 2 years ago
  27. ArithonUK

    Oh, this guy is a priceless comedian!

    A fixed, non-upgradeable, system that is unlikely to have even selectable configuration options in games! Oh, you joker!

    If I can install MineCraft and write my own mods on the PS4 on the day of its release, all while collecting email and browsing the internet – then I’ll eat my hat.
    You can do those things on any PC, Mac, hell even on a RaspBerry PI! And you don’t need “extra specially modified GPU’s” to do it either.

    #27 2 years ago
  28. Erthazus

    @23, you need a doctor. All demo’s are being made in weeks if not days especially for x86 platform.

    Console fanboys – stupid.

    #28 2 years ago
  29. Joshuatree

    @3 The PS4 Demo with UE4 was created in 3 months with 12 people on a dev kit that wasn’t finished being built several months ago. The first games coming out for UDK4 not even coming out for more than a year from now. Even the Dark Sorcerer Demo from Quantum Dream was only using 4GB of the 7 allocated to them and running on PS3 software and tech because the PS4 kits are still in their infancy. David Cage emphasized that was only it’s first iteration of the process.

    #29 2 years ago
  30. machy

    to all above that comparing PC to PS4 in terms spec u r wrong .. Cerny was talking about the fact that dev will study and improve the tool over years ”just like they do always COD3 on ps360 VS blackOps 2 on PS360 … etc” also it’s helpful to have a stander spec cross the base install unlike the PC

    and in terms of power/cost consoles > PC and that’s a fact #dealWithIt

    #30 2 years ago
  31. Tavarish

    @30 I don’t think anyone is debating the fact that consoles are cheaper and easier to use gaming platforms than PC or that console games will improve over time as devs get familiar with HW.

    So nothing to deal with if you are able to admit that after certain point consoles, current or next, will again hinder development of games in major way for years.

    #31 2 years ago
  32. super3001

    “we have no innovation or new features in ps3.5 so I’ll just state the obvious again and again” says sony man hoping the world dont see they standing still in a fast moving industry.

    no vision. just same old garbage

    #32 2 years ago
  33. Lengendaryboss

    ^ Please troll elsewhere, preferably under a bridge.

    #33 2 years ago
  34. wildBoar

    What we can all gather from this is that Cerney said nothing along these lines and that the header is completely misleading.
    Why make such irresisteble troll bait on this website that suffers exactly from trolls. As a result the comments have a huge disconnect with the actual article, as is the norm in these parts..

    #34 2 years ago
  35. Bowser

    Console master race reporting in!

    #35 2 years ago
  36. super3001

    33

    shut your whining cake hole little girl

    #36 2 years ago
  37. koopa

    I’ve spend about 3500 on my current PC hardware, it a beast but (normal) people don’t have the money to shell out like that. How lame do i look taking my desktop to my friends house. lol. Now how sexy do i look with my ps4 or Xbone:) But on topic, Cerney is the lead architect and also a programmer, he is not a regular PR clown.

    #37 2 years ago
  38. Lengendaryboss

    @36
    Technically i am typing not speaking so your point is incorrect.
    http://media.tumblr.com/tumblr_mdgbgsZ1T01ro2d43.gif :D

    #38 2 years ago
  39. super3001

    38

    i said shut up

    #39 2 years ago
  40. Lengendaryboss

    @38
    Still not talking LOL :D so i can’t shut up.

    #40 2 years ago
  41. super3001

    idiot

    #41 2 years ago
  42. Lengendaryboss

    @41
    Takes one to know one :)

    #42 2 years ago
  43. Kuwabara

    He said in one conference that the ps4 will be easy to develop for and get great results instantly, but challenging to master.They have added new tech to the custom chip that will allow for more than just taking full advantage of the cpu/gpu. Developers will have to study the new tech and next gen features and master most of them to truly get the best out of ps4.

    #43 2 years ago
  44. illuminatusv

    The headline of the article is totally misleading. Instead of the current headline it should be: “PS4 customized architecture may have advantages against normal PC architecture regarding Games”. “May” because it is not proved yet!

    #44 2 years ago
  45. Kalain

    I notice that he was very vague about what these so called ‘Customisations’ to the APU are. As far as I’m aware, AMD can’t do that much different when their current GPU/CPU lines and the X1′s otherwise they won’t have enough time to get the prints out, unless they spend more money to pay other chip fabricators to make them for them.

    #45 2 years ago
  46. DrDamn

    @45
    http://www.gamasutra.com/view/feature/191007/

    There are two pages to the article. That’s not vague. That’s refreshingly open and transparent.

    #46 2 years ago
  47. nollie4545

    @27.

    Got it in one man.

    Why people are excited about this cheapskate AMD APU which no PC buyer would dare specify I have no idea.

    Fact is the GPU core in the PS4 and new Xbox is barely up to the poke of a GTX 580 and the CPU on it is crap.

    #47 2 years ago
  48. CPC_RedDawn

    I completely agree developers will get more and more out of these systems as time goes on. But like others have said its NO WHERE NEAR as flexable as a PC. Being able to change hardware as its progresses is the main killer to this statement. In year 3 or 4 of this consoles supposed 8-10 year cycle will see PC hardware increase in performance tenfold as it has done already over current consoles which for their time were immensely powerful even when compared to PC’s at the time. These next gen systems are nowhere near the power of a PC even a mid range PC with a Quad Core CPU, 16GB RAM, A GTX660/670 or AMD 7850/7870 would destroy these new consoles.

    You are talking about a FAKE 8 core APU clocked at a measly 1.8GHz (or there abouts) and AMD’s architecture has pretty bad single core performance so they will really need to start pushing multithreaded tasks in games to get anywhere near the speed of a gaming PC and CPU performance.

    These consoles are using pretty cheap components, the only expensive item that shocked at lot of people is the GDDR5 unified pool of memory in the PS4. This could very well be its catalyst and could prove to be either extremely efficient in terms of graphics or extremely limiting in terms of CPU performance as it has much higher latency timings then normal DDR3 but much higher bandwidth hence why its used for GPU’s and not as system memory.

    PC’s will always be ahead of consoles, will always be better to customize, the ability to mod games which is more or less impossible on consoles. The only thing consoles have going for them in terms of performance is the optimizations they will get in the years to come. When we talk about optimizations we talk about developers tweaking and essentially CUTTING CORNERS, masking or hiding the LIMITATIONS of the hardware they are working with. Its happened with current consoles so much and for the past three years they really have showed their age.

    #48 2 years ago
  49. DrDamn

    You’re all right of course. He was wrong to say the PS4 was more customisable than PCs. He was wrong to say the PS4 was a more flexible platform. He was wrong to say it will continue to outperform PCs for years to come. He was wrong to say PC gamers like you have inadequacy issues… Oh hold on he said none of those things did he?

    He said they made additions and customisations to standard PC architecture. They did. He said they help. They do. He said a more familiar architecture helps devs get up and running quicker. It does. He said the additions and customisations will be exploited later in the consoles life more. They will.

    That inadequacy thing you all managed by yourselves with the constant misinterpretation and willy waving you feel the need to do in every next gen console performance news item.

    PCs can outperform the new consoles. Guess what, the vast majority know this and don’t give a shit. The bigger question is why do you?

    #49 2 years ago
  50. Dirkster_Dude

    “PS4′s architecture offers more customisation than PC, says Cerny” – While I am all for the enthusiasm people show for the PS4 this statement is nothing more than a load of crap. If he is talking about what he can do with a game based on the customisations offered that will not change then he may have a point, but that isn’t really what he said.

    #50 2 years ago
  51. DrDamn

    @50
    Oh FFS. *He* didn’t say that. Is actually reading what he said too much for everybody? Bitching and moaning about what he didn’t say isn’t apparently.

    #51 2 years ago
  52. backup

    End OF PC Pirates
    PS4>>>>>>>>>>>PC

    #52 2 years ago
  53. Neroist

    @48 Thank you for posting that the “next gen” consoles use an already out dated APU. AMD has already moved on to the Richland architecture. Still the Richland APU sales at $80-$120. and the people that say consoles are best value for money, you are playing @ 24 fps at 780p.

    #53 2 years ago

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