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Sony Won't Invest As Heavily In PlayStation 4

timothy posted more than 3 years ago | from the ungrateful-wretches dept.

PlayStation (Games) 353

donniebaseball23 writes "Sony CFO Masaru Kato told investors this week that the company won't be looking to put the same kind of massive R&D into PS4 as they did with PS3. PS3's costs were astronomical because of Blu-ray and the Cell chip, but Sony's bottom line can't take another similar hit. Analysts are speculating that this will leave the door open for competitors like Microsoft. 'PS4's hardware could be less impressive than the PS3 at its launch. I think Microsoft will really be able to put the screws to Sony in the next console war,' Panoptic analyst Asif Khan commented to IndustryGamers."

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353 comments

Yeah, right. (1, Funny)

MyFirstNameIsPaul (1552283) | more than 3 years ago | (#36269822)

That's assuming that mobile phones don't become more powerful than consoles.

Re:Yeah, right. (2)

smellotron (1039250) | more than 3 years ago | (#36269870)

That's assuming that mobile phones don't become more powerful than consoles.

Why would anyone ever dream of developing a console that is weaker than a mobile phone? It has a better power source, better cooling possibilities, fewer space constraints, and fewer wireless communication requirements.

Re:Yeah, right. (1, Funny)

Galactic Dominator (944134) | more than 3 years ago | (#36269992)

Why would anyone ever dream of developing a console that is weaker than a mobile phone?

Nintendo did.

Re:Yeah, right. (2)

the linux geek (799780) | more than 3 years ago | (#36270036)

No they didn't.

Re:Yeah, right. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36270086)

Yes they did.

Re:Yeah, right. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36270378)

Okay, so which phone from November 2006 is more powerful than the Wii?

Re:Yeah, right. (3, Insightful)

MaskedSlacker (911878) | more than 3 years ago | (#36270144)

Repeat after me: Don't feed the trolls.

Re:Yeah, right. (1)

JMJimmy (2036122) | more than 3 years ago | (#36270276)

Even if they're fuzzy and cute? :)

Re:Yeah, right. (1)

Stormwatch (703920) | more than 3 years ago | (#36270212)

Why would anyone ever dream of developing a console that is weaker than a mobile phone?

Ever heard of Zeebo?

Re:Yeah, right. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36270062)

And mobile phones with a d-pad and buttons like the Xperia Play don't catch on. And every couch and television set in the universe doesn't disappear.

Re:Yeah, right. (3, Insightful)

donaldm (919619) | more than 3 years ago | (#36270308)

That's assuming that mobile phones don't become more powerful than consoles.

Not likely. Even assuming that is a possibility the only machines that would be under threat would be the handhelds and even this can be debated. The main problems with any portable device are it's screen size and it's controls, so when comparing a handheld against a console or PC with much, much larger screen size and extensive control's then there is no contest.

Compare say a mobile smartphone against handhelds such as the Nintendo and Sony offerings, again there is not that much of a contest since the handhelds have dedicated buttons (soft or hard) that are not on the screen which in itself is IMHO a pain since the screen eventually gets marked. This is not to say mobiles cannot be a gaming platform, they can, but their games are no way as sophisticated as those on a handheld or even a console or PC. Of course if you like games such as "Angry Birds" then a mobile smart phone is fine. I know you can get adventure games for the mobile smart phone but IMHO the controls sux. I have a HTC Desire HD and my wife has an iPhone 4 and I have yet to see a game for those machines that can compete with console, handheld.or even PC games.

But I hear people say, it may possibly plug your smartphone into a HD TV via (wired or wireless) and possibly add peripheral devices such as keyboard and mouse. Great, assuming this is done your mobile smartphone is now a console but you still won't be able the play more sophisticated games when the phone is disconnected from it's peripherals or HD screen unless the laws of physics suddenly allow you to put a 40" or bigger HDTV in your pocket. So in summing up, mobile smartphones, handhelds, consoles and PC's all offer different levels of gaming sophistication and to compare mobile games against console or PC games is just pointless.

Nintendo (1)

insertwackynamehere (891357) | more than 3 years ago | (#36269826)

What if next gen they release another whimsical wellaccepted Nintendoish system alongside a run of the mill plays COD ports system? Seems like a way to lock everything up. Pure speculation obviously.

Re:Nintendo (1)

artor3 (1344997) | more than 3 years ago | (#36270122)

Making two different consoles for different markets would require more R&D effort, with little real benefit. The Xbox-Kinect model is almost certainly better -- a console that appeals to one market, with an addon that appeals to the other.

If Sony splits their development team, with one half competing head-on with Nintendo, and the other going up against MS, both will lose, and Sony will go the way of Sega.

Re:Nintendo (2)

aztracker1 (702135) | more than 3 years ago | (#36270256)

Sony Playstation maybe, not Sony proper, only antitrust suit would likely bring that, if ever. Though I don't know why Sony doesn't just buy Nintendo.

Re:Nintendo (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36270400)

asshole

but do people buy consoles for the HW? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36269830)

People that want cutting edge gaming rigs buy PCs, not consoles, which are behind at launch and get further so over time.

I think there are other factors at work, and the power of the HW is at best a minor factor influencing purchase decisions.

Re:but do people buy consoles for the HW? (4, Insightful)

gman003 (1693318) | more than 3 years ago | (#36269860)

HW is a good way to sell the console to game developers, though. A lot of big 3rd-parties jumped ship with the Wii, simply because it couldn't keep up. Similarly, you can get developers to make good exclusives if you have a uniquely powerful console.

And then, once you have the game developers, you get the games that sell the console to the players.

Re:but do people buy consoles for the HW? (1)

protektor (63514) | more than 3 years ago | (#36270386)

It has never been about selling just the hardware. Until the Wii came out consoles were lost leaders and video game manufacturers made their profits on the license fees for game developers to create and sell games for their system. As this article points out that was especially true for the PS3. It was usually only later in the life of a console that they would finally be able to manufacture the console for less than what they sold for allowing them to make a profit.

Re:but do people buy consoles for the HW? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36270120)

Historically, the least technologically powerful console of a given cycle is usually the most successful. There may be exceptions, but the system with the best specs usually winds up being a dark horse.

Re:but do people buy consoles for the HW? (5, Interesting)

Sir_Sri (199544) | more than 3 years ago | (#36270246)

define successful? Sure the Wii has moved a lot of units. But in terms of games sold, hours played, or in terms of money made for developers (not necessarily manufacturers) they are way behind. Good for nintendo does not necessarily equate to success as platform.

Re:but do people buy consoles for the HW? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36270424)

I wasn't necessarily referring to the Wii, but it is in fact a very successful platform for what's essentially decade-old hardware - it still supports the point that horse-power doesn't result in, or even necessarily contribute to success as a gaming platform. I was more referring to systems like the first two Playstations, the NES, and practically any Nintendo handheld - all of which did incredibly well and all of which were out-classed by competitors in terms of technology.

Re:but do people buy consoles for the HW? (1)

Kjella (173770) | more than 3 years ago | (#36270216)

The thing is that graphics cards are getting ahead of displays. The shader count goes up, but the pixel count stays the same - or is even down. Anything higher than 1080p is now a rare beast, of course not those with massive SLI setups and 30" monitors but they're extremely marginal even among PC users. And with the hardware being fully programmable shaders, the capabilities aren't as fixed as before either. The next round of consoles will be full hd, give them enough shaders for that resolution and they will look very good very long.

hah (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36269838)

I wonder if they are putting ANY budget into security this time?

I mean, we're doing budget cuts over every aspect right? does that mean the janitor can only work in his spare time on the security model this time?

Re:hah (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36270406)

If you ask my opinion, I would be almost certain that there will be plenty of DRM built in, with multiple abilities for the machine to phone home with messages telling PSN to ban it if it thought it was tampered with. Perhaps a remote kill capability as well, where if banned off of PSN, it would blow low level fuses on the Cell core so it ends up being bricked, with that being called "anti-theft" measures. Perhaps it would have a secondary system similar to the baseband chip on phones that might freeze RAM, scan memory for anything suspicious, then use a dedicated IP stack for phoning home. These types of systems are notoriously hard to defeat -- Apple's baseband update post iOS 4.2 has not seen any progress in over a year of attempts.

Ouch... (1)

geminidomino (614729) | more than 3 years ago | (#36269842)

PS4's hardware could be less impressive than the PS3 at its launch

I hope they do better on everything else, then... Not any particular X fanboy (I have all 3 current-gen consoles and all three are sitting idle for some time now), but we're... what? Almost five years into it now?... and I'm still unimpressed. There are still only exactly two exclusives in all that time that I've thought were worth playing (and the later of the two completely screwed with the formula that made the series so awesome IMNSHO).

Combined with the active hostility Sony treats its customers to since it came out, you'd think the PS4 would come with hookers and blackjack just to get people to bite.

Re:Ouch... (1)

MogNuts (97512) | more than 3 years ago | (#36270070)

I think you're just in the camp that I'm in now. I find a small few series good and like to play the occasional totally different type of game, but other than that, we're kinda bored with video games. We loved them at one time, were addicted to them, but now we're kinda done. We just haven't realized it yet.

I knew it was done when I played Mass Effect for the first time, was blown away, then played actual combat following cutscenes a second time for 15 minutes and said "Eh, I'm bored."

Re:Ouch... (1)

geminidomino (614729) | more than 3 years ago | (#36270208)

I think "jaded" might be a better word, at least in my case. Even the series I once loved, I'm disappointed with the latest offerings of, usually because they change things up in order to incorporate the latest wizz-bang features, without thinking about how it effects the game.

Ratchet & Clank: Crack in Time (the two real R&C games are the two PS3 games I was referring to), traded the expansive levels and huge arsenals for a crummy "open space" layout, fewer weapons, and a shorter game, not to mention keeping the titular characters separated until the ass-end of it.

Dragon Quest IX was an abomination that took a series I've loved since its inception and killed it with Fire and crappy MMO elements.

Hell, even Diablo II isn't the same game it was when it came out, and that didn't even take a series of games, just patches, to turn it in to a lousy MMO wannabe.

If I wanted to play a frigging MMO, I'd play a real one. At least until they started selling in-game advantage for real-world money (Up yours, ArenaNet).

But I think you're right. I really do think I'm pretty much done. Now I just need a new hobby, since taking my work home to fill my idle time really can't be that healthy. :P

Re:Ouch... (2)

geminidomino (614729) | more than 3 years ago | (#36270384)

*facepalm* s/effects/affects/

I really do know better. FFB attack.

Re:Ouch... (2, Funny)

artor3 (1344997) | more than 3 years ago | (#36270142)

Combined with the active hostility Sony treats its customers to since it came out, you'd think the PS4 would come with hookers and blackjack just to get people to bite.

Don't worry, I'm sure the new Grand Theft Auto will be a launch title.

Re:Ouch... (1)

mlts (1038732) | more than 3 years ago | (#36270434)

Realistically, when the PS4 comes out, people who buy it will have completely forgotten about GeoHot and the PSN breaches. They will see some cool game (perhaps another Madden release, or another FPS), buy the console, and because they spent the cash for the console, will buy the console's games.

The public has a short memory, unless the press digs it up for them.

Pro move actually (0)

forgottenusername (1495209) | more than 3 years ago | (#36269858)

Xbox got a huge boost out of letting Sony do the initial R&D on the Cell architecture, in collaboration with Toshiba and IBM. So when it came time for the 360 to use the Cell, most of the hard (expensive) work had already been funded largely by Sony.

I think they're probably willing to play a waiting game to see what Microsoft does, then 1up them - much cheaper to go second.

Re:Pro move actually (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36269908)

Wow what a clueless moron

Re:Pro move actually (3, Informative)

hibiki_r (649814) | more than 3 years ago | (#36269938)

you might be forgetting the part where the 360 not using the cell at all.

Re:Pro move actually (1)

donaldm (919619) | more than 3 years ago | (#36270410)

you might be forgetting the part where the 360 not using the cell at all.

Both processors for the PS3 and the XBox360 are stripped down and modified versions of the IBM 970 PowerPC. The PS3 uses one CPU (two threads) while the XBox 360 uses three CPU's (6 threads), however the PS3 also has eight SPEs on the chip, but only seven of them handle processing. So effectively the XBox 360 actually does use a very similar CPU as the PS3 but it does not use SPE's.

Re:Pro move actually (0, Troll)

forgottenusername (1495209) | more than 3 years ago | (#36269976)

They sure as shit are.

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB123069467545545011.html [wsj.com]

Taken from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Xbox_360#Development [wikipedia.org]

. This was because the system's PowerPC 970 processor running the same PowerPC architecture that the Xbox 360 would eventually run under IBM's Xenon processor. The cores of the Xenon processor were developed using a slightly modified version of the PlayStation 3's Cell Processor PPE architecture. According to David Shippy and Mickie Phipps, the IBM employees were "hiding" their work from Sony and Toshiba.".[21] Jeff Minter created the music visualization program Neon which is included with the Xbox 360.

But keep modding me down because of your own ignorance, I don't mind. :)

Why would they invest heavily now? (1)

r_jensen11 (598210) | more than 3 years ago | (#36269862)

There's still plenty of life in the PS3. Hell, I'm only aware of one game that actually taxes the PS3; everything else seems to run just fine. What Sony needs to invest in at the moment is quality games. The fact that it took Polyphony Digital so long to release GT5 is pathetic.

Re:Why would they invest heavily now? (2)

MogNuts (97512) | more than 3 years ago | (#36270134)

There are a ton of quality games. I can't even keep up anymore. There are just too many. If you can't find any, turn in your gamer card. It's like the golden age of gaming right now. I have about 50 games that I still have to get to--about 15 on the PS3.

But no, they do not run games fine. Play BF BC2 on the PS3 and then on the PC at max settings with 8X MSAA (or even 4X) on your monitor's *native* resolution. It's quite breathtaking actually. You'll go back to your PS3 and think the games all look like mud afterwards.

We need new consoles. I'm tired of running games at 960x480 resolution, blown up 2 or 3 times to reach my 1080p HDTV's resolution. We also need more physics and destructible environments (see BF BC2 PC with max physics effects) and more open environments (no corridor after corridor like recent consolized games) and less loading between those corridors.

Re:Why would they invest heavily now? (2)

Galactic Dominator (944134) | more than 3 years ago | (#36270178)

Ha. Sorry that's just plain ridiculous. A high PC would have out visually outpreformed a PS3 when it was released. The difference is today on a nice rig vs a PS3 is like a a PS1 vs Atari 2600.

Consoles are the lowest common denominator, and they reduce the progress of video games because devs develop games that can run well on old slow tech even when options many times their superior are available.

http://www.pcauthority.com.au/News/170605,nvidias-fermi-so-much-potential-so-little-software-support.aspx [pcauthority.com.au]

Re:Why would they invest heavily now? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36270262)

and they reduce the progress of video games

No, they don't. Maybe they reduce the progress of techno-wank, but some of the best and most innovative games of this generation have been on the Wii, DS and PSP.

Re:Why would they invest heavily now? (4, Interesting)

Doctor_Jest (688315) | more than 3 years ago | (#36270364)

The consoles make it more like gaming was in the early days. Tweak the shit out of what you have, because you can't just make them buy a new machine to play your "super game". Consider the C-64... its lifespan showed that developers could make some seriously awesome game if they got to know the architecture.

What PC gaming did is make it easy for companies to write something that took more horsepower, and because of the architecture of PCs, developers could just require more this or more that. (believe me, it wasn't a conscious decision to make the architecture open... IBM was just in a rush.)

I like the idea that game companies work on an architecture and squeeze it dry. Why should we go back to the model that allow developers to be lazy and code for the "latest and greatest" because they can't be bothered to get into the architecture. One of the primary reasons I don't game on the PC anymore is the upgrade loop I can't get out of. Now that my computers are not for gaming, I get MANY more years of life out of them.

Only LAZY developers make inferior games.... great games come from great programmers, not from great hardware.

Re:Why would they invest heavily now? (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 3 years ago | (#36270368)

My $400 computer from a couple years ago runs games better than my PS3. Granted with good games you get sucked in enough to not notice the comparatively low res graphics and problems with aliasing, but they are definitely there. I added a new video card a month back and the difference is pretty unreal between playing similar games on both machines.

This only mean (2)

countertrolling (1585477) | more than 3 years ago | (#36269876)

a big comeback for Sega.. Atari? I hope they bring back Pong.. still the best game ever made

Bad for GL development? (2, Interesting)

elashish14 (1302231) | more than 3 years ago | (#36269880)

All consoles makers use OpenGL - except Microsoft of course. If Microsoft takes greater advantage in the console arena, it'll mean less developer mindshare on open standards in place of MS's proprietary engines. Fewer GL developers on consoles could translate to fewer GL developers for desktops as well - which is one of the main barriers to companies writing games for Linux and other non-MS platforms.

I guess anyone could give their take on which company is less evil, but it would seem to me that the ramifications of MS dominating in the console arena could be a pretty bad turn for all other gaming platforms. Sure Nintendo is still around but their scope is somewhat different from the other two.

Re:Bad for GL development? (3, Informative)

the linux geek (799780) | more than 3 years ago | (#36270052)

The typical API's on Wii and PS3 are not OpenGL. IIRC the PS3 offers an OpenGL API, but it is almost never used.

Re:Bad for GL development? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36270080)

Yep. You can use OpenGL, but the performance hit is too much. Plus you want to shove as much as you can onto the SPEs to make up for the weakness of the PS3's GPU; it's not so easy to do that with an OpenGL pipeline.

Re:Bad for GL development? (3, Informative)

Lunix Nutcase (1092239) | more than 3 years ago | (#36270118)

All consoles makers use OpenGL

While they may come with OpenGL-like APIs no actual developers use them.

Re:Bad for GL development? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36270136)

Youre saying we might miss out on all those awesome linux titles we are presently showered with?

Re:Bad for GL development? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36270254)

What developers for the PS3 or Wii were using the OpenGL APIs? Oh right, none of them. Pretty much no one uses anything but the proprietary graphics APIs that the PS3 and Wii provide. You're a fucking idiot.

I bet on Sony last time (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36269884)

I own a PS3. I bet on the PS3 with real money. I'm no fan of microsoft (ask anyone, anyone at all, ask everyone), and I won't buy microsoft consoles (go ahead, put screws to my fingernails, is that all ya got?), but I am not cheerful with Sony either. Rootkits, removing otheros, lawsuits against people who try to restore what they bought and paid for (when I buy an NVIDIA video card, NVIDIA does NOT get anal over what I do with the video card, when I buy an ASUS motherboard, ASUS does *NOT* get anal over what I do with the motherboard; its *NONE* of Sonys business what I do with the PS3 that *I* paid for and *I* own (and they stopped owning all of it the second *I* paid for it)! I might not be able to stop their lawyers, but I can never buy any of their products again, and I can strongly discourage anyone and everyone that I know from ever buying any of their products again. They don't have to be reasonable, and I don't have to support them.

Re:I bet on Sony last time (2)

Daetrin (576516) | more than 3 years ago | (#36270326)

I'm in almost the exact same boat as you. I've got a PS3 and a Wii. I don't own an XBox of any kind and hope that i never will. I'm very happy about Nintendo's new console (supposedly) being more powerful than the PS3 and 360. If Nintendo manages to attract enough 3rd party developers such that it's the only console i need to buy for the next generation and a half, i will be very happy. However if i have to choose between the PS4 and the XBox 720 (or whatever) then i'll go with the Sony console. I consider Sony to be the marginally lesser of two evils.

Apparently Sony just doesn't get it (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36269890)

If Sony would just stop insisting on using bizarre esoteric shit for hardware every damn generation, maybe they'd have the time and money to focus on building a powerful platform that doesn't cost six hundred dollars new and doesn't require programmers to spend 3 years figuring out how to get the damn thing to run code efficiently. Seriously, they just need to use some more common hardware and they could be right up there with Microsoft, kicking ass in the console race again. And making a profit on it.

Re:Apparently Sony just doesn't get it (1)

etymxris (121288) | more than 3 years ago | (#36269936)

Bizarre esoteric hardware is essential for console makers to prevent PC emulation.

Re:Apparently Sony just doesn't get it (1)

RobbieThe1st (1977364) | more than 3 years ago | (#36270004)

Well, you know, if your console is so poor it can be emulated on a modern PC... You don't have good enough hardware. I mean, even emulating DirectX with Wine produces a fair ampunt of overhead; I'm sure you'd have similar overhead with an x86 console and custom OS/ graphics language.

Re:Apparently Sony just doesn't get it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36270318)

PC emulation is always years behind the console lifecycle. It's only recently, half a decade into the PS3 generation, that the PS2 emulators became marginally usable. Emulation does not threaten console makers. In fact, they increasingly use it themselves -- how did you think all those old games you can download from their online services are running?

And it would be utterly, ludicrously retarded for them to deliberately make life incredibly difficult for the actual developers who make the actual games that make their system worth buying, just to delay a phantom threat that is never going to have any measurable impact on their profit margins.

Re:Apparently Sony just doesn't get it (1)

aztracker1 (702135) | more than 3 years ago | (#36270320)

Hmmm.. looking for an xbox (g1) emulator.. it was pretty standard... what MS has going for it is a toolchain that's fairly consistent for xbox and windows games... seems to me what sony needs is a more developer friendly mindset.

So that was the end of that chapter (2)

The Dawn Of Time (2115350) | more than 3 years ago | (#36269892)

Sony admits to a massive strategic blunder? Nintendo retreats from their "casual=king" position?

Did Microsoft just "win" this generation?

Re:So that was the end of that chapter (1)

geminidomino (614729) | more than 3 years ago | (#36270020)

Nintendo retreats from their "casual=king" position?

Did they? That might be the best news I've heard all day. I haven't seen a decent Wii game since MP3...

Re:So that was the end of that chapter (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36270306)

I haven't seen a decent Wii game since MP3

The Wii doesn't have quite as many block-buster titles as the PS3 or 360, but it seems as though you've been hiding under a rock since 2007. See: http://www.gamerankings.com/browse.html?site=wii [gamerankings.com]

Re:So that was the end of that chapter (1)

donaldm (919619) | more than 3 years ago | (#36270422)

Sony admits to a massive strategic blunder? Nintendo retreats from their "casual=king" position?

Did Microsoft just "win" this generation?

No one has won this generation. It's not over yet.

So what? (1)

CTU (1844100) | more than 3 years ago | (#36269906)

PS3 is a powerful current gen system. Although when it was first released the GPU was lacking and still is. So I hope they pick a powerful GPU especially if they are going to want to make 3D gaming a big thing for there next system.

Still in the end it is not the specs that matter, it is the quality of the games that matter.

More integration opportunities (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36269914)

Sony doesn't have to innovate from scratch but can do what Microsoft has been doing. Since the first XBox, they have been using the newer technologies to integrate more components on same chip - bring in GPU, bring in memory etc. The Xbox processor itself hasn't become any faster. They prefer to keep same speed but cut down power. That in turn helps with cheaper packaging and power supply. And ultimately to save cost.

Re:More integration opportunities (1)

wagnerrp (1305589) | more than 3 years ago | (#36270226)

Sony has done the same thing with the PS3. There have been about a dozen different hardware revisions since the original two release units, with multiple die shrinks on the silicon. Production costs are probably under $200, and power consumption is about a third what it originally was.

Why would they? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36269930)

They aren't investing the same amount because they aren't creating a new media type to go along with it this time around (no new Blu Ray). They also don't need to make a new processor when they can just slap more cell processors together.

Why would they invest the same amount in R&D?

Consoles? Hah! (1)

bmo (77928) | more than 3 years ago | (#36269932)

I'm still finding new ways to die in Nethack!

--
BMO

Same architecture, better process? (4, Interesting)

B.Stolk (132572) | more than 3 years ago | (#36269940)

Why not reuse the cell design: use the exact same chip, but manufacture it with current lithography technology, smaller structures, higher clockrate, more SPUs. It may do the trcik, and there is no new learning curve for devs. I have programmed SPUs, and they can do wonders if used correctly.

Microsoft's XBox = What R&D? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36269960)

If you remove the casing of an Xbox classic or Xbox 360 and examine its innards, you'll find out that it is nothing more than a stripped down, slightly modified gaming PC.

When it comes to creativity and innovation for console gaming, I would rather place my faith in the Japanese rather than in the Redmond folks.

Microsoft has always been a 'Me too' kind of company. Console gaming, search engine, web services, mobile OS, even office applications... you name it.

Re:Microsoft's XBox = What R&D? (1)

kvvbassboy (2010962) | more than 3 years ago | (#36270110)

Wait wut? Heard of MSR and the stuff they do?

I am no fan of Microsoft Corporation, but you sir, are a troll

Not "less powerful", but "less investment" (4, Insightful)

ihavnoid (749312) | more than 3 years ago | (#36269966)

Sony didn't say that they are going to produce a less powerful design, but a design which costs less, in terms of investment.
Although the outcome may be a not-so-powerful console, the other possibility is something with less "custom" solutions.

Such as:
  - Off-the-shelf CPUs/GPUs, or custom ASICs using 3rd-party licensed CPU/GPU designs (instead of designing one from scratch)
  - Off-the-shelf DDR(1/2/3/4/5/whatever) SDRAM (instead of using something from Rambus)
  - Blu-ray, instead of a new kind of optical disk design (or, even eliminate the physical medium altogether in favor of online purchases)

Re:Not "less powerful", but "less investment" (1)

MogNuts (97512) | more than 3 years ago | (#36270042)

Thank you! I felt like I was the only one with all these comments who didn't see the obvious. They're just going to use basic off-the-shelf stuff. Nothing custom like the cell or anything crazy.

Though no one here has noticed the huge implications. For the past few years, it was apparent that consoles are taking over along with the "consolization" of games. But this is huge. This just nailed in the route that console makers are moving to just a normal PC, albeit locked down. I never saw this coming. Whoa, just blew my mind. The PC won.

Thoughts anyone? Opinions?

Re:Not "less powerful", but "less investment" (1)

timeOday (582209) | more than 3 years ago | (#36270106)

My opinion is, it's a pity, because novel architectures are becoming increasingly rare. Sony took a long shot in trying to replace the GPU with relatively more general-purpose SPUs. It failed, and they ended up falling back to a normal GPU for the PS3. But that doesn't mean the PS4 will be less impressive than the PS3 was at launch, it means the PS4 will be less impressive than the PS3 would have been, had all those R&D yen succeeded in developing a revolutionary architecture.

Does that mean the PC won? I guess, sort of; Sony failed to out-engineer the entire PC industry. But the PS4 probably won't seem any more PC-like in how it is used than any other console. Perhaps even less, since Sony clearly lost interest in making the PS3 useful as a PC (OtherOS).

Re:Not "less powerful", but "less investment" (1)

aztracker1 (702135) | more than 3 years ago | (#36270354)

Maybe nvidia could come up with a really fast quad-core tegra design, with a higher end gpu (for 1080p output).. that would be cool...

Re:Not "less powerful", but "less investment" (2)

ihavnoid (749312) | more than 3 years ago | (#36270336)

Whoa, just blew my mind. The PC won.

Or, put it the other way : for the last ten years, every PC manufacturer moved to just a normal gaming console, albeit capable of running any generic operating system, and being capable of running generic software quite well. Actually, most modern PCs got all those "custom circuits" (GPUs, sound processing DSPs, vector instructions, etc.) which previously only existed inside those custom chips inside the consoles.

What I thought was not just something of 'generic'ness, but that Sony (and IBM) took a far too ambitious goal, which failed miserably. Their initial though on Cell was that it should become a generic processor which can be used for various home appliances, supercomputing, and possibly other embedded applications. Their intention was to have PS3 to be the initial Cell customer, and find many other customers later to cover the development cost.

However, the problem of the Cell Broadband Processor was that it was too generic to be used for games (since it must also be capable of running HPC or home entertainment applications), while being too difficult to use properly. Thus, they failed to find a customer other than the PS3, and as a result, the sales of PS3 had to cover the development cost of the whole Cell project. The final nail in the coffin was that IBM killed all future Cell projects, probably because they couldn't find any future customers.

In short, Sony and IBM's goal was to create a new "general-purpose" CPU, which failed miserably. The issue wasn't about "generic PC" vs. "custom circuits for gaming" : it was about "generic PC" vs. "a different generic PC".

Re:Not "less powerful", but "less investment" (2)

dslbrian (318993) | more than 3 years ago | (#36270102)

Also, perhaps Sony's "R&D" costs wouldn't be so high, if they weren't in the habit of paying off an entire industry in order to get their format accepted instead of their competitors [slashdot.org] . Maybe they should try not doing that as a cost cutting measure.

Unsurprising (4, Informative)

lyinhart (1352173) | more than 3 years ago | (#36269968)

If this is true, then it is not a surprise. Sony released the PS3, the most technically advanced of all the current generation consoles, only to be outsold by the comparatively weak Wii. And in addition, games released on both PS3 and Xbox 360 generally looked better on the 360 (e.g. Bayonetta).

Sony of all companies should have known that the most technically advanced console doesn't generally perform the best in the market. Sega's Saturn had a multiprocessor architecture before most game programmers knew how to program for one and the PlayStation destroyed it in the marketplace. Similarly, the PS2 fared better in the marketplace than the technically superior Xbox and GameCube (which was primarily hampered by storage space issues like the N64 before it).

What is important is third-party support. That's what made the NES, the PlayStation, the PlayStation 2 and other successful consoles. If you have a system developers want to develop for, then you'll get the good quality titles that have people flocking to buy your system.

Re:Unsurprising (1)

MogNuts (97512) | more than 3 years ago | (#36270180)

You're right in that it's all about 3rd party support and making a system desirable to develop for. Microsoft hit the nail on the head with "developers, developers, developers." There's a reason the 360 gets more games and gets games on it first (well 50% anyway, IIRC they pay for a lot of timed exclusives).

But they just mean that they are going to take off-the-shelf hardware and make a system. It just makes life easier. They're not making an inferior powered one.

less MS does ... (1)

arbiter1 (1204146) | more than 3 years ago | (#36269994)

Less Microsoft forks money to put a bluray drive in next xbox and still sticks with dvd drive then they war is already lost. Dvd can hold so much data and graphic wise way games are getting gonna need the space a bluray disc has.

Re:less MS does ... (2)

MogNuts (97512) | more than 3 years ago | (#36270222)

What I'm about to say is all speculation. Unlike other /. armchair quarterbacks, I fully admit that what I will predict is 100% speculation.

But honestly, I think MS may just skip the disc route. They'll probably sell everything through the Xbox store, and because retail is so important to consoles, they'll sell a box with packaging, just with a code inside like they do now for DLC to download the game. No more discs. They must continue to support and drive retail because that is the bulk of sales, and this is how they'll do it.

Plus, advantages to them is, why bother with a disc format when they can skip it all together, it's now widely accepted (see DLC and Steam being insanely popular), and they get first sale from all copies.

Though if they do this, suddenly OnLive becomes a contender in the console war. To the average clueless gamer with a good net connection, the ability to not have to buy a new console, not have to wait for a download, and the ability to play his/her game with the save game ready to go at a friend's house is big.

Things are gonna get interesting...

Ouch (1)

wezelboy (521844) | more than 3 years ago | (#36270008)

Whatever they do, the next one should be an open platform.

no money (1)

mikey177 (1426171) | more than 3 years ago | (#36270014)

thats what happens when you have to spend money that could have gone to your investors to make your networks more secure.

Will it have a Cell processor? (1)

Required Snark (1702878) | more than 3 years ago | (#36270018)

One way to keep the cost down would be to evolve the design, rather then do a completely new version. If they stick with a compatible Cell processor, they could save a lot on software development. This would require a new cheaper version of the Cell, but now that they've done it once that would not be as huge an effort.

Note that I am not passing judgment, good or bad, on the Cell. The question is how they get to the PS4 and minimize cost and risk,

I don't see why they should... (4, Insightful)

YesIAmAScript (886271) | more than 3 years ago | (#36270044)

The PS3 had a lot of power when new. But since it was such a far-out architecture, developers had to work to get to it. And developers generally aren't interested in doing so. They'd rather just port their C code over and type make.

A system that is a little less powerful but much more conventional (like Xbox 360) could easily cost less and produce better games overall, even if the absolute top levels of capability are reduced.

Re:I don't see why they should... (0)

forgottenusername (1495209) | more than 3 years ago | (#36270066)

Xbox 360 is using a direct ripoff of Cell, they're essentially the same architecture.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Xenon_(processor) [wikipedia.org]

For some reason I keep getting modded down for mentioning this though. http://games.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=2192216&cid=36269976 [slashdot.org]

*shrug*

Re:I don't see why they should... (3, Interesting)

the linux geek (799780) | more than 3 years ago | (#36270078)

That's because its not true. They both use a similar core - a vaguely PPC970-like 64-bit PowerPC - but the major features of the Cell are the external vector units, not the CPU core itself.

Consoles Done For? (1)

Trifthen (40989) | more than 3 years ago | (#36270054)

I'm starting to wonder if consoles are a dying breed. They used to come out every 3-5 years like clockwork, with major advances every time. Now every maker seems to be phoning it in. And if Microsoft, king of the 66% hardware failure rate is the only one that takes the next round seriously, I fear for the future.

I salivated over the release of the PS2. I have tons of games for it, and most of those are JRPGs and DDR. That console just wouldn't die, and it seemed like everyone wanted to release onto it. My Wii library is decidedly smaller, and I totally skipped out on the RROD-box and kept waiting for the PS3 to come down in price. Looking through the game libraries of each, there's only two or three games I'd even want to buy anyway, which clearly isn't worth it.

So far, both Nintendo and Sony have said "meh" to the next console round. So I have to wonder why.

Re:Consoles Done For? (1)

assemblerex (1275164) | more than 3 years ago | (#36270104)

The current console model used by sony and microsoft is broken. They lose money on everything. Microsoft has yet to make a dime on xbox 1 and xbox 360. The lose the money to get marketshare. Sony doesn't have the bank roll to make a 100% in house console anymore. The CPU for the ps4 will be made by ibm, the gpu by them or ati. Anticipate it to have a much more off the shelf components and not so expensive wrapper like the 60GB ps3. All they need is lots of ram (8-12GB) a good gpu + cpu and as little complications as possible. Programmers weep at the though of having to deal with the Sony ps3 SPI units. Lots of power, but hard to use. That's why the far less powerful 360 looks better than ps3 in most games.

Re:Consoles Done For? (1)

ifiwereasculptor (1870574) | more than 3 years ago | (#36270440)

I think the reason they are extending the lives of consoles is exactly because the PS2 wouldn't die. It proved itself to be quite a competitor to the PS3, costing a small fraction of its bigger brother and, therefore, much more appealing to emerging markets. The PS3 came out in 2006 and up to 2009 you still had big titles coming to the PS2. (Force Unleashed, Persona etc.) What happens, I think, is that with the PS2, games got to the point where they are actually good-looking. The PS1 could do 3D, but it was a mess of ugly polygons. In the PS2, racing cars look great. Humans look like humans, though not quite on uncanny valley levels. Speech is plentliful. So, while the jump to PS3 does allow for much more polygons, AA and whatnot, I don't think people care much for that outside of a niche. I mean, I've played Aliens vs Predator on the PS3 and it was fantastic. Visually incredible. But, for me, not enough of an improvement over the PS2 to justify forking what's quite a hefty amout of money over a new console. The original Xbox, BTW, could already use the Source engine, still quite current.

So what? (1)

Tridus (79566) | more than 3 years ago | (#36270116)

The 360s hardware is less impressive then the PS3's hardware, but it's done pretty well for itself. You can build a powerful system without blowing the budget on a whiz-bang effort that's overly expensive to produce and overly complicated for developers to leverage (ie: the PS3).

All I read from this is that Sony's learned something from what went wrong last time and is more committed to building something they can sell for a realistic price without taking huge losses. Why is that a bad thing?

That would be a mistake (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36270124)

I'll go with whatever one I feel has the best specs. I love my ps3, but if Microsoft steps up and out powers them, I'll be moving on.

What is there to R&D? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36270150)

Posting this AC cause the moderators seem to be on the rag right now.

Now for my post, Sony spent a lot to include BluRay in each PS3. They were still battling Toshiba (and to some extent, Microsoft) and HD-DVD. Microsoft took the cowards way out and let it's customers decide if HD-DVD was for them or not (and worth another $100). Sony put one in the device and, long story short, HD-DVD is all but dead (just bought a new DVD drive that, for some reason, plays HD-DVDs). Sony won't have to invest as much in BluRay, it's out there and a lot cheaper. As for the processor, with die-shrinks and everything else, they could get a lot more power for the same price, or slightly less "more power" for cheaper. They don't have to re-invent the whole processor, just improve it a bit. Point is, they can afford to spend a lot less this time, and still produce an impressive machine. We'll see if Microsoft didn't shoot it's wad with Kinect, or if they have something left in the tank for their next system. As for Nintendo, well, who really knows. They've been in the "video game" business for over 30 years, and considering they were the top seller of the current generation, I'm sure they'll continue to make a profit (though what their next console will look like is anyone's guess).

The PS4 may be... (1)

steelfood (895457) | more than 3 years ago | (#36270166)

...an evolution as opposed to a revolution. It'll probably be an upgrade rather than a replacement. The PS3 capability-wise was revolutionary compared to the PS2. The PS4 may only seek to improve upon it by fixing the PS3's existing faults while adding more capabilities. I'd be surprised if the PS4 wasn't backwards-compatible with PS3 only because the PS4 will be so technologically similar.

Besides which, I think that'd be the wisest path for Sony to take for their next generation console. The PS3 has only started to gain traction among mainstream gamers now, as the Wii and the 360 are hitting their respective limits. It wouldn't be good to come up with some completely new system that suddenly everyone who had bought a PS3 wouldn't be able to use. Instead, it'd be better to offer something that PS3 users might be willing to eventually upgrade to, while still attracting new users with the existing PS3 and eventually PS4 game library.

Re:The PS4 may be... (1)

Haeleth (414428) | more than 3 years ago | (#36270348)

an evolution as opposed to a revolution

So ... rather than being created by a bunch of engineers rising up to overthrow their corporate masters and sending the CEO to the guillotine, the PS4 will be created by introducing random errors into the PS3 manufacturing process, copying the errors that lead to better performance, and then waiting millions of years for the effect to be noticable?

Sounds effective.

PS4 Performance doesn't matter... (1)

Ben4jammin (1233084) | more than 3 years ago | (#36270234)

to me.

As a purchaser of the the PS3, and having the things I paid for stripped away and my info released due to poor security, I don't care what the performance is because I wouldn't own one if Sony GAVE it to me.

lower cost=lower price=more sold (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36270238)

you're assuming that Sony would be dumb enough to sell an inferior console at the same price as a much better one. They could pull a Nintendo Wii and sell a ton of them for a much lower price than their competition. Consumers don't really care about specs, what they care about most (by this I mean moms and dads) is that the price is less than 300 for Christmas and birthdays. I don't think the ps4 would start at 300, but 350 should be the goal. Same reason why Sony is dropping the specs of the PSP2. Lower cost=Lower price=More sold. That should be a slogan.

Amd Fusion Man (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36270274)

llano with its directx 11 capable gpu pull a microsoft and go x86

That makes 2 of us (4, Insightful)

Huntr (951770) | more than 3 years ago | (#36270362)

Sony has really pissed me off with all their bullshit. So much that, *I* won't be investing heavily in the PS4, either. Like not at all.

Of course. (1)

Black Parrot (19622) | more than 3 years ago | (#36270374)

but Sony's bottom line can't take another similar hit.

They need the money for network security research.

im done (1)

jason777 (557591) | more than 3 years ago | (#36270418)

Man, I loved my PS3 when I bought it. I pulled the trigger on the $600 console. It was shiny, new, perfect. Then I bought GTA4 and it broke the drive somehow. Drive couldnt read discs. I sent it in and waited 3 months only to be returned with a different, used console that was scuffed up and had dust under the translucent cover. I lost my enthuiasm. I play a blu-ray (bought a $1500 tv for 1080p to justify the blu ray) only to have the screeching high pitched loud fan ruin the movie experience. Then sony pulled the linux feature off right when I was going to check it out. I'm done. Combine this with the root kit and geohot crap and im done with sony. I hate to say it but I might buy an XBOX next time or stick with PC gaming.
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