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Sony Corp. has confirmed that it had initiated development of the next-generation PlayStation video game console. At the same time, the company admitted that due to global economic crisis along with its own business problems, it would not invest the same amounts of money into the PlayStation 4 as it did in case of the PS3.

"The PS3 still has product life, but this is a platform business. So for the future [of the] platform, when will we introduce it? What product? I cannot discuss that. But development work is already underway," said Masaru Kato, chief financial officer of Sony, at a meeting with investors noting that part of the FY2012's (began on March 31, 2011) R&D budget would be spent on the PS4, reports Gamasutra web-site.

Sony invested tremendous amounts of money into PlayStation 3 game consoles, which is currently still the worst-selling system in the current generation behind Nintendo Wii and Microsoft Xbox 360. In particular, the consumer electronics giant co-developed Cell heterogeneous multi-core microprocessor with IBM and Toshiba and invested into chip manufacturing facilities, developed Blu-ray disc standard and spent money on BD replication plants, created a number of other technologies. Sony had been losing money on all PS3 consoles it sold for years after the introduction in 2006.

But that is not something that is going to happen to the PlayStation 4. The company is going to try to cut research & development as well as manufacturing costs. Partly, those expenditures should be reduced because the firm no longer plans to make major chips itself using proprietary manufacturing processes on its own fabs. In addition, the firm does not seem to have plans to create a new microprocessor for the console from scratch.

"This is something that will not happen in the future. The semiconductor business is changing. It is no longer thinkable to have a huge initial financial investment like that of the PS3," said Mr. Kato, reports Andriasang web-site.

Rumours that Sony had initiated work on the PlayStation 4 have been floating around for over a year now. At present, capabilities of the console are unclear, but the targets have probably already been set.

Tags: Sony, Playstation, Cell


Comments currently: 31
Discussion started: 05/26/11 07:54:17 PM
Latest comment: 06/23/11 10:47:32 PM
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Sony really doesn't need to work from the ground up on the PS4. The Cell heterogeneous multi-core microprocessor is still a very powerful cpu. Maybe an increase in cpu speed and an update in instruction sets and that's basicly really all it needs. Increase the amount of ram and lower the production cost by dropping XDR Ram and using DDR3 2gb of ram. Upgrade the gpu to a DirectX 11 base gpu, either a Radeon 6700 or Geforce 550 series and that's basicly all it needs.
2 3 [Posted by: SteelCity1981  | Date: 05/26/11 07:54:17 PM]
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DirectX? What are you talking about? You seriously think that the PS3/PS4 uses DirectX?
3 2 [Posted by: sanity  | Date: 05/26/11 08:16:45 PM]
show the post
0 3 [Posted by: SteelCity1981  | Date: 05/26/11 08:38:22 PM]
ps3 is based on geforce 7900 that use DX9 but ps3 does not run on DX9
5 0 [Posted by: Amir Anuar  | Date: 05/26/11 09:43:44 PM]
The PS3 GPU does support DirectX 9 and shader models 3.
1 3 [Posted by: SteelCity1981  | Date: 05/26/11 09:47:47 PM]
Interesting that this line is really mean the same as what Amir Anuar wrote a line upper, still he gets only the thumbs ups and SteelCity1981 the thumbs downs...
0 1 [Posted by: dezz  | Date: 05/31/11 03:20:23 AM]
WTH are you saying? "Um yes they do both the PS3 and Xbox 360 use DirectX 9." is totally different from "ps3 is based on geforce 7900 that use DX9 but ps3 does not run on DX9".

The detail is the underlined part.
0 0 [Posted by: sirroman  | Date: 06/23/11 10:47:31 PM]
You are very right! A 32nm (or 22nm by then) Cell could be clocked at 4 GHz, or even more, at lower power consumption than the original 90nm one at 3.2 GHz back in 2006. This way the platform could be the same, just faster (hence no need for a new learning curve), with an updaped GPU.

To others: he has spoke about a DX 11 _base_ GPU, not that PS3 or PS4 would use DX.
0 1 [Posted by: dezz  | Date: 05/31/11 03:14:37 AM]
I was thinking more along the lines of 2 or 4 of the original cell processors on a single die, plus a good clock speed bump.
0 0 [Posted by: Zoomer  | Date: 06/14/11 08:50:01 AM]

Microsoft Owns the directx API. The ps3 uses the open source API OpenGL.
3 0 [Posted by: Jxditu  | Date: 05/26/11 08:57:04 PM]
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show the post
0 3 [Posted by: SteelCity1981  | Date: 05/26/11 09:51:28 PM]
You should get one thing straight: DX is a MS API, and only Windows PCs and Xbox support it. A GPU by itself (note: the HW without drivers) may have DX-required features, but without the drivers you CANNOT call it a DX GPU. This is a marketing ploy (which I hope will fade soon). Look for non-windows workstations with quadro/firegl GPUs. I don't think you will find DX11 in them, as they are not sold as windows systems.
4 1 [Posted by: mathew7  | Date: 05/27/11 12:31:46 AM]
I'm sure he meant that the 7 series that the PS3 has is a directx 9 genertion GPU!
1 1 [Posted by: eduardor2k  | Date: 05/27/11 08:42:30 AM]
Thank you.
0 0 [Posted by: sanity  | Date: 05/27/11 12:44:18 PM]
OK well you just proved my point the gpu does have DirectX 9 encoded into it to support Direct X9 games in which I have been saying all along. Some of you acted like the PS3v had no support on chip for the DirectX 9 which is false. All it needs is a DirectX 9 base game to enable those features.
0 1 [Posted by: SteelCity1981  | Date: 05/27/11 04:06:01 PM]

Let's start with wild guess. IMHO PS4 will not be Cell based, but rather ARM core based. I think Nvidia might have a high chance here with Denver project outcome...
0 1 [Posted by: kgardas  | Date: 05/26/11 11:47:44 PM]

"In addition, the firm does not seem to have plans to create a new microprocessor for the console from scratch."

They should ditch the cell and use a modern CPU such as the 6 Core Bulldozer or a Core i5 2400. These proprietary CPUs are just all hype and would get crushed in games by any modern Intel/AMD CPU.

But more importantly, Sony wouldn't need to invest so much $ if they released their consoles much faster. Consoles should be replaced every 5 years. This way they can pack mid-range hardware and stop worrying so much about future-proofing. In fact, Xbox360 and PS3 already stopped looking good about 2 years ago. In their current state, their graphics are simply awful. So all that future-proofing on 6/7 threaded "special" and expensive CPUs was a complete waste of $$$.

The GPU is the most important component for gaming and any GPU is basically useless after 5 years (even shorter). So this modern ideology of 10 year console life-cycles is ludicrous. They should go back to the old model and update the console faster with mid-range hardware. This way the graphics get a boost every 5 years and the consoles don't cost $500-600 because they are packed with hardware that's supposed to last 10 years....what a waste.
2 1 [Posted by: BestJinjo  | Date: 05/27/11 07:22:17 AM]

You are all wrong the way to go is to keep the same architectura & backward compatibility:

1. Cell procesor with more than 7 cores, maybe 10 cores with higher clock rate
2. Ditch de XDR with less expensive RAM
3. Newer graphic card from nvidia
4. Keep bluray & hard disk

Doing this, they will be able to develop a small & afordable console, with 10 times the horsepower of the ps3 (considering this console will be released in a few years (2/3).
1 0 [Posted by: eduardor2k  | Date: 05/27/11 08:36:27 AM]
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1. Most developers expressed that complexity of the Cell processor made it more expensive and prolonged their development time. Valve even resented developing any games for PS3 until Portal 2 as they cited the Cell processor to be too complicated. It took developers almost 5 years before they could maximize the potential of the Cell design. That's smart engineering to you? You should be able to maximize performance from the processor as quickly as possible (i.e., making it cheaper and more efficient for developers in terms of development costs). From that perspective, the best thing Sony can do is ditch the Cell design for good.

It just costs a lot more $ to develop for PS3 without any tangible performance advantage (since GPU matters far more anyway). PS3 doesn't have better graphics than Xbox360 yet it costs more $ to develop for it. That tells me right away that something as complicated as the Cell processor is just not worth it when modern CPUs will mop the floor with it.

2. Backwards compatibility is overrated. I buy a new console for new generation of games. If I want to play outdated PS3 games, well I have my PS3 for that. Why do I want to pay more $ for PS4 when I have my old console for those games should I have nastalgia? It was smart for Sony to remove hardware backwards compatibility for PS3 Slim so that they could cut the cost of the console, thus making it more accessible to the average gamer.

3. Why from NV? You should go with whatever architecture provides the highest performance per watt. Today, that actually puts AMD parts far ahead. 6850 vs. 460, 6950 vs. 560, 6970 vs. 570, etc. In every case the AMD part is just as fast or faster and consumes less power. The only reason to go for NV is if they improve efficiency with Kepler OR they give Sony a price on GPUs that AMD can't match at the same performance level.

4. I never said these 2 features should be removed. Blu-Ray is beneficial for storage. Also, prices of those drives have come down significantly in the last 5 years so It's a very cheap feature to keep for Sony at this point.

Look at what it initially cost for Sony to develop the PS3 at in 2006:

BluRay = $125. Now you can easily get a blu-ray drive for $70 on the PC. So Sony can probably cut this cost to $50 given their volume.

NV GPU (7950GT) with half the bandwidth of the desktop part at the time = $129
^ By 2014, Sony will be able to purchase an HD6870 GPU for far less than that. In fact, AMD even has cheaper options like the E6760 with 480 stream processors, which will smoke PS3's GPU (< I presume something like this will make its way into Wii2 first though).

But remember PS4 won't launch until 2014 at the earliest. So by then expect even faster GPUs on 28nm.

Hard drive = 20Gb for $54.
You can get 1TB of space for $54 today. No problem. By 2014, 2TB for $50 should be within reach.

Cell CPU = $89
If manufactured on 22nm in 2014, this should cost at least half as much.

So there is no question the PS4 will be more powerful. The question is whether or not Sony chooses to invest into the right components.

3 4 [Posted by: BestJinjo  | Date: 05/27/11 11:51:04 AM]
You are right with all you've said, but remember that when the PS3 launched it was difficult to develop for that platform, i'm sure that now a days is a lot easier.

Liked a lot your answer! thumbs up!
0 1 [Posted by: eduardor2k  | Date: 05/28/11 08:00:06 AM]
No, you are not (fully) right.
1.a. The developers have learned for good in the meantime how to use Cell efficiently.
1.b. They use the Cell for several tasks, like physics, and it helps the GPU in vertex processing, as well. (And so games that take use of this can have a better gfx than Xbox360 ones. I'm not speaking about brainless ports.)
1.c. A 4-core Sandy Bridge is still behind the Cell in floating-point power!
2. The PS4 could run the PS3 ones without extra expense in case they just update the existing platform. (And even it could run an all-software PS2 emulator, if it has the processing power for it already.)
3. The PS3 use a Linux-based OS and Nvidia supports Linux much better. It's going to be similar in case of PS4.
0 1 [Posted by: dezz  | Date: 05/31/11 03:38:59 AM]
You are all wrong the way to go is to keep the same architectura & backward compatibility:

1. Cell procesor with more than 7 cores, maybe 10 cores with higher clock rate
2. Ditch de XDR with less expensive RAM
3. Newer graphic card from nvidia
4. Keep bluray & hard disk

Doing this, they will be able to develop a small & afordable console, with 10 times the horsepower of the ps3 (considering this console will be released in a few years (2/3).

Since PS3 has had a quite limited success, backwards compatibility to PS2 would be more effective.

Return to an updated version of the PS2 hardware.

This will keep developers happy as they didnt like Cell
and the 150Million PS2 owners that didnt but a PS3 due to lack of ability to play their PS2 games
1 1 [Posted by: carl0ski  | Date: 05/27/11 05:36:31 PM]
I'm sure that in PS4 they could make a emulator that works flawlessly with the PS2, at least they would have enough computing power...
0 0 [Posted by: eduardor2k  | Date: 05/28/11 08:01:14 AM]
You are right, basically, but I don't think they are going to design a new Cell variant with more cores. Instead, they can clock the existing one much higher now at 32nm, and even more at 22nm!
Regarding memory, AFAIK IBM already designed a variant with a DDR2/3 controller. Or was it Toshiba with its SpursEngine (a Cell derivative)?
0 1 [Posted by: dezz  | Date: 05/31/11 03:56:45 AM]

Sony's tremendous investment and losses on the PS3 were because they used it to subsidize and push BluRay. It would have never defeated HDDVD format without it.
0 0 [Posted by: taltamir  | Date: 05/28/11 07:26:28 AM]

I suggest use AMD Fusion APU ...

Example: 3 module of bulldozer architecture + 1200 SPUs ... on same chip.
0 1 [Posted by: jshanaa  | Date: 05/28/11 01:12:37 PM]
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The problem with Fusion APU design is the GPU is memory bandwidth limited as a result of system memory bandwidth. The embedded E6760 design I linked with 480 SPs overcomes all those issues as it puts the GPU memory right next to the GPU in a very compact packaging.

Also, currently Fusion APU only applies to Llano designs which are based on the slow Phenom II architecture - not optimal for games or power consumption. I agree with you that if AMD has Fusion around Bulldozer core by 2014, that would be a sweet option!
1 0 [Posted by: BestJinjo  | Date: 05/28/11 07:37:12 PM]
When they say 'based on' that doesn't meen it's the same, it's an improved architecture for lower power consumption.
1 0 [Posted by: eduardor2k  | Date: 05/29/11 01:18:24 AM]
Right. Also, the old parts were manufactured using a 45nm process, but f.ex. Llano is a 32nm part already.
0 1 [Posted by: dezz  | Date: 05/31/11 03:47:05 AM]
Other problem is that it's x86, while both Sony and Microsoft prefer not to go with x86 in case of gameconsoles. (Now both use PowerPC based processors.)
0 1 [Posted by: dezz  | Date: 05/31/11 03:43:04 AM]

i think backwards compatibilty is going to be axed on their checklist. the reason behind it is that people can "rebuy" those games on their psn network to get more revenue.
i think they can just create a well-balanced/designed system with stuff already around the pc market. since it's going to be a closed system anyway, developers can squeeze more performance than their pc counterparts. developers would also benefit from programing a familiar set of hardware. it's really a win-win strategy...
0 0 [Posted by: goury  | Date: 05/31/11 12:59:57 AM]


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