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PlayStation 4: Cerny on power; Vita party chat

by William Schwartz

PlayStation-4-Specs1

For a while, people had been wondering whether the Play Station 4, with Party Chat, would also be cross-compatible with the Play Station Vita. Shuhei Yoshida, head of Sony worldwide studios, confirmed through a Twitter conversation.

In other news, Mark Cerny, lead architect of the PlayStation 4, talked with Polygon about the power of the PS4 and how he feels gamers won’t truly see the best of the hardware until “year three or four”. According to Cerny, “We set our target at 10 times the PlayStation 3’s performance, because that’s what we felt we needed to achieve in order to differentiate the titles. When I did pitches to developers about the hardware, I talked about what I call the Akihabara test. Akihabara is a electronics district in Tokyo, it’s just full of stores where you can buy just about anything you plug into a wall socket. I knew that at some point, there’d be out on the sidewalk a Play Station 3 and Play Station 4, and they might even be showing the same game, and the PlayStation 4 had to be powerful enough that when people walked by, they had to look at the Play Station 4 and say, ‘Wow, I have to have that.’ I believe we are at that level of performance. I mean, the million pre-orders we have is, I think, speaking to that.”

 I mean, the million pre-orders we have is, I think, speaking to that

Cerny also acknowledged that launch games usually have a difficult time demonstrating the power of the console, saying, “Believe it or not, at the PlayStation 3 launch, I was hearing a lot about how PlayStation 3 graphics aren’t really different from Play Station 2. I think that speaks to both how large people’s expectations are, and also how launch titles are not fully exploiting the hardware.” As an example, compare Kameo or Perfect Dark Zero to titles like Halo 4 or Gears of War 3 for the Xbox 360 or Resistance: Fall of Man or Genji: Days of the Blade to God of War: Ascension or Last of Us for the Play Station 3.

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When asked if the reason developers wouldn’t be able to harness all the power is due to difficulty programming, Cerny clarified. “It’s a supercharged PC architecture, so you can use it as if it were a PC with unified memory. Much of what we’re seeing with the launch titles is that usage; it’s very, very quick to get up to speed if that’s how you use it. But at the same time, then you’re not taking advantage of all the customization that we did in the GPU. I think that really will play into the graphical quality and the level of interaction in the worlds in, say, year three or year four of the console.”

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