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Just like Microsoft Corp.’s Xbox One, Sony Computer Entertainment’s PlayStation 4 can offload heavy and latency insensitive computations to the cloud, according to Shuhei Yoshida, president of Sony Worldwide Studios. The PS4 has plenty of horsepower for virtually all game genres, but if it is not enough, the decision about usage of cloud computing is up to game developers.

“Linking, matchmaking. There are already many computations being done on the cloud side. There are limitations to what processes can be offloaded to a remote computer, due to latency and bandwidth,” said Mr. Yoshida in a conversation with Polygon web-site.

Microsoft recently said it will use cloud computing to assist Xbox One game consoles in latency-insensitive cases while leaving processing of latency-sensitive things to local graphics and general-purpose hardware. Things like physics effects modeling, fluid dynamics, lighting and cloth or hair motion are examples of effects that require a lot of compute performance that could be handled in the cloud without adding any delays to the actual gameplay. Basically, everything that does not need to be updated every frame can be processed in the cloud.

It is hard to estimate how much additional performance Microsoft can add using cloud technologies and whether it can actually conceal the performance difference between Xbox One and PlayStation 4 using the approach, but one thing can be said for sure: it will require support by game developers as well as constant and advanced Internet connection at the gamer’s home. Moreover, Microsoft admitted that in order to provide Xbox One cloud computing capabilities and rich online services, it had to install around 300 thousand servers.

Screenshot from #DriverClub, a PlayStation 4-exclusive title due later in 2013

The head of Sony Worldwide Studios claims that not all games will need additional performance, but claims that it will leave game developers to decide whether they use it or no. What is important is that Sony did not reveal anything about actual cloud compute capabilities it will provide to game developers should they need extra performance.

“We do not believe every title needs that. But if your title needs [an] online connection to provide some online features: Go for it,” said Mr. Yoshida.

Cloud computing capabilities should help Microsoft and Sony make their consoles more powerful over time and therefore improve graphics and visual effects quality of future generations of games. The main question about usage of cloud computing is to what extent cloud technologies can actually improve consoles, given the fact that there always should be a way to play (and enjoy!) a game in case the Internet connection fails.

Tags: Sony, Playstation, PlayStation 4, Orbis, AMD, ATI, Jaguar, GCN, Fusion, Radeon, Microsoft, Xbox One


Comments currently: 12
Discussion started: 06/13/13 10:02:12 PM
Latest comment: 06/16/13 02:56:56 PM
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So what i understand is, if you are a PC gamer, next gen games should run better with More cores?
0 2 [Posted by: Atlastiamhere  | Date: 06/13/13 10:02:12 PM]
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There's no mention of "cores" here.
0 0 [Posted by: Fill F. Fill  | Date: 06/13/13 10:11:56 PM]
He's suggesting that the additional cores will act like the cloud side...but the real reason for this...see below. PC's are usually connected all the time, anyway.
0 0 [Posted by: J Barnhart  | Date: 06/13/13 10:44:09 PM]

"Things like physics effects modeling, fluid dynamics, lighting and cloth or hair motion are examples of effects that require a lot of compute performance that could be handled in the cloud without adding any delays to the actual gameplay. Basically, everything that does not need to be updated every frame can be processed in the cloud."

I call BS on this, you are still describing either real-time effects or things that need to be downloaded in bulk. In other words, it's a grasp at trying to justify always-on connectivity.
2 0 [Posted by: Fill F. Fill  | Date: 06/13/13 10:10:14 PM]
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One use I can see this being used for is to have the ability to allow full character customization in any game and having the cloud render high quality cutscenes using the players custom character be it male or female.

I can't really see any practical in game uses for cloud rendering in most game given the latency we're talking about.
1 0 [Posted by: sollord  | Date: 06/14/13 02:43:03 AM]
Agree, This is what I was thinking also.
0 0 [Posted by: TAViX  | Date: 06/15/13 03:13:42 AM]

With its 8 processor cores and 8GB of RAM, the PS4 doesn't need help from the cloud. The only thing cloud computing will be useful for is exactly what Sony said; multiplayer game matching, massively multiplayer games, and other sorts of things that require interaction between consoles.

Microsoft is playing a game of misdirection and false excuses in order to require users to be continuously connected. I suspect it's so they can collect data that they can sell to advertisers. They'll know what TV channels you watch, what you are wearing, how your living room is decorated, and if you'd rather eat pizza or chinese food while watching TV.

Perhaps another Microsoft ploy to keep people connected 24/7 will be to sell crippled games that only work well when coupled with their "cloud computing". That wouldn't surprise me a bit. And Sim City 5 gave us a hint of how badly that can work out.
2 1 [Posted by: Anono Mouser  | Date: 06/14/13 12:13:48 AM]
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Quote: "While companies are offered powerful inducements to cooperate with US intelligence, many executives are motivated by patriotism or a sense they are defending national security, the people familiar with the trusted partner programs said".
0 0 [Posted by: linuxlowdown  | Date: 06/14/13 01:33:28 AM]
Are you aware how weak are those 8 cores in PS4 and Xbox one ?

We talking about 8 cores that are clocked @1.6GHz and based on jaguar architecture which has extremely low IPC compared to ivy bridge or haswell

Even if all cores are used, it not to going to be half as fast i7 4770

0 0 [Posted by: maroon1  | Date: 06/16/13 02:56:56 PM]

sony's this move simply means sony don't want to give even a single chance to xbx one. PS4 is much powerful, PS4 have eye like kinect, many social networking feature in every segment competition is very tough for xbx one.
now i just want to see microsoft's 1 billion$ bribe effect.
1 0 [Posted by: mudi1  | Date: 06/14/13 04:51:52 AM]

Call me a pessimistic but when I read this article all I could think was Sony was giving developers a loop hole to require internet for single players games if a game developers want to go that route but don't want to admit it. they can now say

"We needed to require internet to give gamers the best possible graphics and game play"

It would be a complete BS statement but I can see it happening.
1 0 [Posted by: CyranD  | Date: 06/14/13 05:40:39 PM]

The PS4 blatantly is a more powerful system but MS definitely has the better servers, especially since they recently added hundreds of thousands. I reckon cloud processing will become more important as internet speeds increase and the cloud technology develops.

It wouldn't be unlikely in the future that even if the PS4 wasn't DRM all of its games would be.
0 1 [Posted by: Ollie Crouch  | Date: 06/16/13 04:40:32 AM]


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