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.