Interview: PS4 Developer Discusses Design Philosophy (page 2)

Apr 1, 2013
Tomohisa Takei & Tadashi Nezu, Nikkei Electronics

Not making 'puzzle' for game developers

What was the basic concept for the design of the PS4?

"What formed the basis of the design was the thought that we should not make a puzzle for game soft developers," Cerney said. "For example, if we use eDRAM (on-chip DRAM) for the main memory in addition to the external memory, the memory bandwidth will be several terabytes per second. It will be a big advance in terms of performance."

"However, in that case, we will make developers solve a puzzle, 'To realize the fastest operation, what data should be stored in which of the memories, the low-capacity eDRAM or the high-capacity external memory?'" he said. "We wanted to avoid such a situation. We put the highest priority on allowing developers to spend their time creating values for their games."

Therefore, SCE decided to employ its own technologies required for game consoles while using the same basic architecture as used for personal computers.

"We received very positive responses to the concept of 'Supercharged PC Architecture' from developers because we made a drastic improvement to performance and made it easy to develop games at the same time," said Cerney, who developed many games. "It is hardware for which games can be developed really easily."

As for the "supercharged" parts, or the parts that SCE extended, he said, "There are many, but four of them are representative." They are (1) a structure that realizes high-speed data transmission between the CPU and GPU, (2) a structure that reduces the number of times that data is written back from the cache memory in the GPU, (3) a structure that enables to set priorities in multiple layers in regard to arithmetic and graphics processing and (4) a function to make the CPU take over the preprocessing to be conducted by the GPU.

"We are claiming that our company is leading innovations," Cerney said. "And we certainly employed our own distinguished technologies for the PS4."