The Jaguar CPUs are essentially the next generation of AMD's netbook processors. The PS4 and rumored Xbox Next specs are basically spot-on what I've been predicting for 4-5 years, with the exception of the CPUs -- I had expected 4 beefier cores (a-la, i5) rather than 8 "thinner" ones. On the other hand, I'd wager they get better aggregate performance from these 8, than from 4 "fat" cores at the same power draw, and they're probably cheaper to boot. It's just up to devs to spread work across 8 cores efficiently, rather than 4. The Jaguar cores are Out-of-Order, and can decode and put-in-flight two instructions from everything I've heard. Not terribly wide at all, but a far-cry ahead of the in-order PPC cores of the last generation. Pipeline should be fairly short as well, so less penalty for branch misprediction compared to a fast, fat core like an i5.
The GPU sounds nice, and there's plenty of RAM and bandwidth to feed it. In general, I think its always going to be preferable to use a cutting-edge GPU in a console, even if that means paring it down further (in total number of compute units) than you might have had to do with one that's a generation or two old. That said, it seems like they didn't cut it down a great deal compare to current high-end PC GPUs, it sounds roughly equivilent to a Radeon 7830. Acount for the fact that a console is only going to be doing 1080p/60 w/3D at the very most, and the more-direct hardware access, and I suspect visuals will be comparable to what PC gamers expect out of their super-high-res (2560x1440+) or triple-head setups.
I don't think that the GDDR bandwidth/latency compromise will be seen as a poor decision -- The type of code (following Data-Oriented-Design) that will make the compute and graphics hardware sing is friendly to that sort of tradeoff. It'll take a hit on code that's more random-access in nature, but that's fast becoming a smaller and smaller piece of the pie. On the flip side, while game devs are onboard with DoD, general app developers and nimble/indie developers may not be, so there's probably going to be a bit of a learning curve for them, and the first cut at these kind of apps might end up looking a little sluggish, given the hardware, until everyone's onboard.
If either platform prevents used game sales or makes it unreasonably burdensome/restrictive I'll probably end up not jumping into the new consoles. I don't even really buy used games for the most part -- its almost exclusively pre-order or first-week grabs for me -- I just don't feel its worth it to buy a $60 or $70 game without the ability to sell it if I wanted, even though I don't really do that either. On the other hand, if they threw out a big bone, like dropping new, AAA game MSRP to $40-$50, it might be inticing enough to compensate.
I probably won't care much for the always-on video encoding, but I do think its a smart feature that's going to appeal to many people, and the social sharing that will result will probably help sales along -- its basically gonna be free marketting for sony when all your facebook friends are posting videos of their cool play sessions.
Another thing I expect out of this generation is the return to a shorter life-cycle. The uniqueness of previous generations of hardware has always meant that consoles aged more-gracefully than similarly-aged PC hardware, because new things were always being discovered about how to make the hardware sing, but with an architecture that is so close to the PC, there's going to be less unknown territory to discover and exploit.
Edited by Ravyne, 21 February 2013 - 04:09 PM.