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Sony and the PS4, I'm Impressed. Your Thoughts?


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#1 snowmanZOMG   Members   -  Reputation: 833

Posted 21 February 2013 - 12:14 AM

After having seen the Sony PlayStation conference today, I'm pretty impressed.  Not necessarily with the system or the actual showing at the conference, but with the overall attitude Sony has this time around.  Note, that I am not a console developer and never have been.  I've never had access to dev kits and I've barely even been making games, but I'm currently trying to make one right now...

 

The biggest thing is it seems like Sony is dropping the hubris from the PS3 and now they're back on earth and really trying to get developers on their side.  Do you guys remember those ridiculous demos from the PS3 unveiling?  Didn't quite seem obvious at the time, but they were literally just doing massive smoke and mirrors and those entire conferences screamed "Hey, we're the best and there ain't nothing you can do about it."  Mark Cerny leading the PS4 design?  Seems like a fantastic choice.  From what I've read about him, he seems like the real deal; someone who has been in the trenches to build games and helped a ton of people in/around Sony with building their games.

 

Maybe Sony has learned how important it is to get developers on your side this time around.  The system is exciting to me from a technical perspective, at least, from the memory bandwidth perspective.  Some of the connectivity services seem like they will get a lot more attention than the PS3 did.

 

Not a very coherent post, but when I was done watching the event, I was just really impressed by the way Sony handled the whole thing.  Pretty well focused and it seemed very developer centric.  Sort of a "Hey, we know we tortured you guys the last time around, but this time, we're going to do it right."  I feel like the ball is totally in Microsoft's court now.  Very excited to see what happens in the coming months from Microsoft.

 

What about you guys?  Agree?  Disagree?  Impressed?  Underwhelmed?



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#2 TheChubu   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 3969

Posted 21 February 2013 - 01:04 AM

Impressed.

 

Though I wonder if there is any drawback for having GDDR5 for all the memory. As far as I understand, GDDR was designed with graphics in mind, but I don't know how different it is with normal "general usage" DDR.

 

I only know it means massive bandwidth though. Nobody confirmed bus width right?


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#3 Hodgman   Moderators   -  Reputation: 28582

Posted 21 February 2013 - 01:11 AM

For lazy people like my that were hoping for a link ;)

http://www.scei.co.jp/corporate/release/pdf/130221a_e.pdf

 

The 8-core x64 CPU is very nice when it comes to porting code between PC and PS4... but at the same time I'm kinda sad not to see an Uber-Cell CPU in there cool.png



#4 TheChubu   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 3969

Posted 21 February 2013 - 01:43 AM

Hm... While 176Gb/s isn't on the bleeding edge (Titan's 288 Gb/s anyone? :D) it still way faster than desktop PC's bandwidth.

 

Anyway, yeah, I thought they would roll out a POWER7 4-8 core CPU with 4 threads per core.

 

Though no wonder why Kojima Productions suddenly wanted to roll out their multi platform Metal Gear Solid :P


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#5 DigitalSavior   Members   -  Reputation: 189

Posted 21 February 2013 - 02:07 AM

I was very impressed.  I just may pick one up.  They did say they would be indie friendly as well.



#6 Buster2000   Members   -  Reputation: 1583

Posted 21 February 2013 - 02:27 AM

I think the whole unvailing was a bit meh...  The graphics don't really tell you much since at previous Sony launches they have been running at 4 or 5 fps and then speeded up. 
The campaign by console manufaturers to clamp down on second hand games is a turn off.   I think big budget consoles have lost a lot of their glitz this generation I don't think there is as much hype as their used to be.  Sure there are a few die hard gamers going on line to watch it but it isn't the same as the PS3, 360, Wii launch where every person in the street knew everything about it.

On the plus side the hardware should be really simple to develop for unlike previous machines which had wierd power pc or mips which were a little wierd to develop for.  At least with this configuration even if you have to hand code in Assembley it wouldnt be too difficult because its an architecture everybody is familar with.
 



#7 phantom   Moderators   -  Reputation: 6891

Posted 21 February 2013 - 03:25 AM

On the plus side the hardware should be really simple to develop for unlike previous machines which had wierd power pc or mips which were a little wierd to develop for.  At least with this configuration even if you have to hand code in Assembley it wouldnt be too difficult because its an architecture everybody is familar with.

Eh, at this point with the X360 and PS3 having been around for years thye people in the positions where they would be doing that work are already pretty well versed in the PowerPC and SPU assembly.

To me going to x64 just means I suddenly have no registers to play with sad.png
(Infact of the archs I've been exposed to x86/x64 is my least favorite; I still miss the MC68000 CPU and the SPU instruction set was nice to play with to.)


Personally, CPU hardware wise, I would have liked to have seen an Uber-Cell; 4 normal hardware threads + 14+ SPU paired with a GPU - cover all the based for workloads.

#8 kmh0909   Members   -  Reputation: 101

Posted 21 February 2013 - 03:34 AM

PS 4 will be discounted next year like Vita



#9 lawnjelly   Members   -  Reputation: 429

Posted 21 February 2013 - 04:03 AM

x86, UMA, with a AMD GPU?

Interesting. Although the big question on everyone's lips has yet to be answered:

 

'will it be running windows 8?' ph34r.png

 

Hope it goes well for them though, it's a shame to see Sony bleeding money at the moment.


Edited by lawnjelly, 21 February 2013 - 04:06 AM.


#10 TheChubu   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 3969

Posted 21 February 2013 - 04:09 AM

lol nono, it won't run Windows 8, it will run Microsoft Blue :P


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#11 NightCreature83   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 2701

Posted 21 February 2013 - 04:12 AM

I am glad to see the end of the aweful SPU and non unified memory, now to see how much the MS console differs from this though. Also has anyone seen that they actually took the X360 controller as a base for the new Dual shock.


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#12 Buster2000   Members   -  Reputation: 1583

Posted 21 February 2013 - 06:24 AM

Eh, at this point with the X360 and PS3 having been around for years thye people in the positions where they would be doing that work are already pretty well versed in the PowerPC and SPU assembly.

 

 

Not neccesarily most of the developers this generation are now redundant (including at least 3 of Sonys own studios) and when the PS4 is launched they will expect an entire new generation of developers to start making up the numbers  (that is if the PS4 takes off at all).



#13 way2lazy2care   Members   -  Reputation: 782

Posted 21 February 2013 - 07:21 AM

Most excited that they made the controller at least a little ergonomic. Not sure how I feel about the touch pad. Seems like it would be annoying more than anything where it's currently placed.

It seems fine otherwise. Nothing really blew me away, but I wasn't expecting to be blown away.  I'm really curious what it's going to cost/look like.



#14 phantom   Moderators   -  Reputation: 6891

Posted 21 February 2013 - 07:27 AM

Not neccesarily most of the developers this generation are now redundant (including at least 3 of Sonys own studios) and when the PS4 is launched they will expect an entire new generation of developers to start making up the numbers  (that is if the PS4 takes off at all).

Erm... wut?

Yes, a lot of people lost their jobs and a fraction of those might well have left the industry for good but the rest either formed their own studios or joined existing ones in senior positions - their knowledge didn't suddenly evaporate over night.

Also just because there is a new console it doesn't mean that suddenly you staff your company with juniors and try to push out a title... hell if you did that you deserve all the fail that comes your way.

The key people doing the key optimisations are still going to be experianced/senior guys and NOT newbies. Newbies will continue to join the industry and continue to write bad code regardless of the underlaying ISA and these will not be the people doing performance fixes and the like.
(The only difference compared to last gen is that you now have an OoO CPU hiding all the bad code sins... *sigh*)

TLDR; you are wrong.

#15 Krohm   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 3016

Posted 21 February 2013 - 08:44 AM

GDDR5 as main memory. LOVE.

Jaguar cores? I though they were supposed to be the power saving cores from AMD, I'm quite surprised! 



#16 Shaquil   Members   -  Reputation: 815

Posted 21 February 2013 - 09:07 AM

1. They refused to show the actual console, so, knowing Sony and their shadiness, I'm more than confident that the PS4 is going to be a big fat monster.

 

2. I didn't see the whole event (not interested in big executives talking in 100% buzz words), but the games I did see didn't exactly scream "Next gen." I guess that's to be expected though. Look at the first games that came out for the PS3 and Xbox 360. Most of them were previous gen games with better graphics. Still, very disappointed in the games department.

 

3. They refused to mention a price, which means (since it's Sony) this thing is gonna be around $500. I'm betting the cheap one that makes no sense to get will be like $450, and the actual real package that everyone will want will be $550. But that's optimism for you.

 

4. I've been hearing too much about Sony and Microsoft working on ways to prohibit used games from being played on their console. Just because Sony didn't mention anything about it doesn't mean it's not true, yet. I'm not getting a console that restricts me to new purchases only (meaning I can't borrow games either).

 

I'm not necessarily someone who hates Sony, but I'm used to their garbage. I think they don't know what they're doing, and they're always behind the curve. The PSP was a failure. The PSP Go emphasized Sony's misunderstanding of, well, anything, and I still don't see a reason to get a PS Vita. Not to mention the PSN hacking debacle. Sony's just... well, I'll be waiting quite a while before I buy anything they put out. Not to say that I think Microsoft is any better at this, mind you. I'll be wary of the "720" too.


Edited by Shaquil, 21 February 2013 - 09:07 AM.


#17 Alpha_ProgDes   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 4688

Posted 21 February 2013 - 09:26 AM

I'm impressed with Destiny. The PS4 is what I would expect from a next-gen console. However --and I'm not a industry game dev-- I wonder why Sony didn't go with the Cell architecture. The devs have had 6 to 7 years to be familiar with it. I figure a more powerful Cell (and more SPUs) would be in this new console.
 
And LOL @ Sony still trying to make the Vita relevant. But who knows, they may actually succeed.

 

 

I am glad to see the end of the aweful SPU and non unified memory, now to see how much the MS console differs from this though. Also has anyone seen that they actually took the X360 controller as a base for the new Dual shock.

 

Could there be such a thing as SPU and unified memory? What was so awful about it?


Edited by Alpha_ProgDes, 21 February 2013 - 09:27 AM.

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#18 snowmanZOMG   Members   -  Reputation: 833

Posted 21 February 2013 - 11:17 AM

Without having worked on any of the consoles but hearing stories of development experiences, I really feel like Sony is pushing for a system that is much easier to get started on but still has a place where really good programmers who know what they're doing can show off what they can do.  With the PS3 and the Cell, I've heard from many programmers who love working on it precisely because the system is this strange architecture where you really need to work very closely with the hardware to make it scream.  However, there definitely hasn't been so much love for the system's development tools.  I've read and heard about so many stories where a team who is a cross platform developer will never debug an issue on the PS3 if they have the option since debugging on the PS3 is so much more difficult.

 

The way I see it, the x86 architecture makes the CPU more familiar to a larger pool of developers.  But giving the CPU and GPU access to the same 8 GB of memory of GDDR5 makes me believe they want to keep some of the crazy PPU-SPU coprocessing style programming without as much of the hassle.  My only question is, how is GPGPU going to be like on this system?  I've heard from many students while I was at school who didn't really like OpenCL.  Some liked CUDA much better, but most agreed that these GPGPU implementations were pretty bad at least in terms of the language features and general ease of software development.  Is SPU programming at all similar to some of these GPGPU implementations?  I feel like SPUs are at least much more general and GPUs are tasked to solve very specific problems and architected in such a way that trying to get them to solve anything other than something that looks like graphics would make it very hard to use for general purpose.  Am I wrong here?  Would anyone who has experience on the PS3 like to elaborate on Cell programming (or programming on the PS3 as a whole) and give their thoughts on what little we've gathered about the PS4 architecture?



#19 Promit   Moderators   -  Reputation: 6336

Posted 21 February 2013 - 11:25 AM

I'm very suspicious about the PS4. x86 CPU, comfortable familiar GPU, plenty of memory with monster bandwidth. It all sounds ... sane. Where is the magical Sony touch? There should be a solid undercurrent of "crazy" and I'm not seeing it. They did hint that there was some special custom work on compute, which was extremely vague and I'd like to know what they did.

 

That aside, I was generally impressed. The continuous video recording and social stuff is an odd tack to take, but I'm not opposed to it. Just curious to see if it catches on. Also glad to see that Move hasn't entirely died (although MM's sculpting thing was just weird). Generally it was a very solid presentation, though I don't think they said anything on pricing or availability... I'm waiting to see Microsoft's sales pitch but it'll need to be a strong one.



#20 MJP   Moderators   -  Reputation: 10601

Posted 21 February 2013 - 01:53 PM

1. They refused to show the actual console, so, knowing Sony and their shadiness, I'm more than confident that the PS4 is going to be a big fat monster.


I'm continually surprised by the people making a big deal over not seeing an empty plastic box on the stage. In this day in age  there's so many aspects to a console: the online ecosystem, the user experience, the developer platforms, the hardware specs, the games itself...is the look console itself really so important compared to those things?
 


Edited by MJP, 21 February 2013 - 03:48 PM.





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