Sony Looking to Cut Cost of Console Development for PS4

Sony Looking to Cut Cost of Console Development for PS4

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Doing everything for itself proved to be rather costly for Sony.

The gaming side of Sony's business turned a profit this year, but for the last few years, it's been a different story. Sony is blaming the amount of money the company spent in developing the PS3 for a significant portion of the losses it has suffered, and says that it will not make the same mistake with its next console.

Sony designed and manufactured many of the PS3's inner workings - including the Cell Processor - itself, spending billions of yen on semiconductor fabrication facilities. This investment had a significant impact on the profitably of the PS3 and the gaming division as a whole, which just as recently as last year made an operating loss of 83 billion, or just over $1 billion.

Speaking during an investors briefing, Sony CFO Masaru Kato indicated that when Sony was developing the PS3, seeking outside partners for chip manufacture wasn't really feasible. However, the situation for the PS4 was different and the idea of investing so much money upfront into the company's next console was unthinkable.

High manufacturing costs always been something of a bugbear for the PS3. It looks like Sony has finally started to overcome it though, as reduced hardware costs, along with increased software sales, are credited with the 35.6 billion, or $438 million, profit posted by the division.

Source: Andriasang

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i wonder what they intend to put into these new consoles as its going to be difficult to make any worthwhile developments to graphics i dont see why they dont just try and optamise what they can do with the PS3

The Cell Chip was actually developed in a cooperation with IBM and Toshiba and there are other systems using it than the PS3...

Good. Cheaper consoles for us hopefully

Spacewolf:
i wonder what they intend to put into these new consoles as its going to be difficult to make any worthwhile developments to graphics i dont see why they dont just try and optamise what they can do with the PS3

The graphics on the current gen consoles are not that great and are years and years behind PC. Bring out the new consoles! And hurry up!

the_green_dragon:
Good. Cheaper consoles for us hopefully

Nope - just better profit margains for them.

New consoles have been a few hundred, games 40-50 for a long time - it's not really what it costs but what the market's prepared to pay and seemingly we're prepared to pay these figures..

I feel like the industry itself is pushing for a new generation of consoles more than consumers are. Sales are strong and the PS3's hardware is more than capable of keeping up with current games. I mean, PCs will always surpass consoles in terms of technical ability and power (especially with 1080p being the standard of home entertainment, which PCs have substantially outclassed for years), so why try to push out a new system when consumer and technological demand doesn't justify it?
Sure, Microsoft "won" this last round of the console wars because they pushed the 360 out before the rest of the competition (and before some technical issues had been solved)...and maybe that is what Sony is shooting to reclaim for a smaller pricetag now that Nintendo is publicizing its latest effort (which is really only going to catchup to the current generation anyway), but I'm still happy with my PS3. C'est la vie. I guess newer is always better for some.

Why is this article headlined "Sony Looking to Cut Cost of Console Development for PS4" when it appears that what's really afoot isn't "development" costs but, rather, "manufacturing" costs? The two are not the same.

No! Don't do it!

You'll just end up creating some shitty PS360!

Spacewolf:
i wonder what they intend to put into these new consoles as its going to be difficult to make any worthwhile developments to graphics i dont see why they dont just try and optamise what they can do with the PS3

The PS3 and 360's current tech is *WAY* behind current PC tech. A new console could run what current consoles are running at 1080p at 60 fps, and could fit eight times as much data (ie, eight times as much area without having to load) with specs that are fairly moderate compared to a current gaming rig.

Wow, natural logic still works.

Sony spent a ton on PS3, so much that even it's original pricing was a massive lost. But those loses were amplified by the price leading to weak sales which built a smaller than desired install base they needed rely on to recoup developing the dang thing.

At the same time Wii came out with a much more reasonable price that actually *gasp* returned a profit. And that's before factoring in Nintendo won the phenomenon lottery.

While expecting such a phenomenom to strike again is nuts, where did you think Sony was going to direct the successor's development?

the_green_dragon:
The graphics on the current gen consoles are not that great and are years and years behind PC. Bring out the new consoles! And hurry up!

BloodSquirrel:

The PS3 and 360's current tech is *WAY* behind current PC tech. A new console could run what current consoles are running at 1080p at 60 fps, and could fit eight times as much data (ie, eight times as much area without having to load) with specs that are fairly moderate compared to a current gaming rig.

The technology may be behind PC tech but all games for consoles are usually optamised for that particular system as PS3s and 360s are a standard system rather than the multitude of options for PCs which mean developers have to try and get it just working on as many setups as possible. Also i dont understant the need for 60FPS it wouldnt make the game look like its running any smoother as humans carnt distiguish images moving that fast so it would just end up looking like 40ish FPS

As for graphics just look at the assassins creed games or other games people have been gushing over. There is no need for greater graphical capabilitys as the cost of getting them would be greater than the return, and people dont need better graphics as the current level gives the nessicary level of detail for pretty much any conciveable situation.

Spacewolf:

The technology may be behind PC tech but all games for consoles are usually optamised for that particular system as PS3s and 360s are a standard system rather than the multitude of options for PCs which mean developers have to try and get it just working on as many setups as possible. Also i dont understant the need for 60FPS it wouldnt make the game look like its running any smoother as humans carnt distiguish images moving that fast so it would just end up looking like 40ish FPS.

Optimization isn't magic. There's only so much you can do with 256MB of system memory, and with the current generation of consoles it shows. With a new generation of consoles they could do their optimizations on hardware that is an order of magnitude more powerful. Also, 40FPS isn't the limit of the human eye. Especially when that 40FPS is dipping to 10-20FPS every so often.

Spacewolf:

As for graphics just look at the assassins creed games or other games people have been gushing over. There is no need for greater graphical capabilitys as the cost of getting them would be greater than the return people dont need better graphics as the current level gives the nessicary level of detail for pretty much any conciveable situation.

It isn't just graphics. Developers are having to "optimize" current gen games by make tradeoffs in what they can do. Things like level geometry and AI are limited by what the console can handle as well.

maybe if sony wasnt sniffing the space between their toes they would have settled on a cheaper, if slightly slower processor that would have raised their margins and, no one would have noticed.

Spacewolf:

the_green_dragon:
The graphics on the current gen consoles are not that great and are years and years behind PC. Bring out the new consoles! And hurry up!

BloodSquirrel:

The PS3 and 360's current tech is *WAY* behind current PC tech. A new console could run what current consoles are running at 1080p at 60 fps, and could fit eight times as much data (ie, eight times as much area without having to load) with specs that are fairly moderate compared to a current gaming rig.

The technology may be behind PC tech but all games for consoles are usually optamised for that particular system as PS3s and 360s are a standard system rather than the multitude of options for PCs which mean developers have to try and get it just working on as many setups as possible. Also i dont understant the need for 60FPS it wouldnt make the game look like its running any smoother as humans carnt distiguish images moving that fast so it would just end up looking like 40ish FPS

As for graphics just look at the assassins creed games or other games people have been gushing over. There is no need for greater graphical capabilitys as the cost of getting them would be greater than the return, and people dont need better graphics as the current level gives the nessicary level of detail for pretty much any conciveable situation.

Where are you getting your info from? The human eye can see past 60 fps even as far as 120. Even IF we can't see above 30 fps, having a high margin could prevent the fps from dropping too low in the action.

Reference
http://amo.net/NT/02-21-01FPS.html

http://www.tweakguides.com/Graphics_5.html

Deliver a quality console at a reduced price and i'm sure i'll be interested.

As a general rule, hardware has become powerful enough so that the innovation can now be driven through software and not necessarily hardware only. You only have to look at Kinect for that.

So even if Sony don't release a massively revolutionary console in the PS4, so long as it's great quality, financially accessible and has a host of developers on board, that's your winning formula.

For the love of the arcadian gods, please don't buff up the graphics too much more. Games are already hard to afford, and a new console that costs half as much as my tuition isn't even feasible right now. Making more games at the higher quality without a reason to do so just continues to drive up the cost of production, which drives up the cost of purchase. Graphic quality is already high. Go with aesthetics, and with polished aesthetics, but don't needlessly buff things that are already on the pricey end of things.

A part of the reason I took up Gamestop's $100 off coupon is because, after the hacking fiasco, I though there wasn't going to BE a PS4.

Oh well.

BehattedWanderer:
For the love of the arcadian gods, please don't buff up the graphics too much more. Games are already hard to afford, and a new console that costs half as much as my tuition isn't even feasible right now. Making more games at the higher quality without a reason to do so just continues to drive up the cost of production, which drives up the cost of purchase. Graphic quality is already high. Go with aesthetics, and with polished aesthetics, but don't needlessly buff things that are already on the pricey end of things.

It's not just the graphics/aesthetics that is limited by hardware. There is geometry, AI, loading time and a host of other hardware limitations. Take a look at dragon age origins and the difference between the pc and consoles outside of controls. There were so many enemies the console could bring out compare to the pc.

Akisa:

BehattedWanderer:
For the love of the arcadian gods, please don't buff up the graphics too much more. Games are already hard to afford, and a new console that costs half as much as my tuition isn't even feasible right now. Making more games at the higher quality without a reason to do so just continues to drive up the cost of production, which drives up the cost of purchase. Graphic quality is already high. Go with aesthetics, and with polished aesthetics, but don't needlessly buff things that are already on the pricey end of things.

It's not just the graphics/aesthetics that is limited by hardware. There is geometry, AI, loading time and a host of other hardware limitations. Take a look at dragon age origins and the difference between the pc and consoles outside of controls. There were so many enemies the console could bring out compare to the pc.

Granted, yes. The PC will always be able to do more for a given situation, varying on the quality and state of the PC in question. That said, as someone who had an opportunity to view both the PC and PS3 versions of the game, there wasn't that much of a difference. Things were more polished to a shine in the PC version, and that's about it. There wasn't some massive breathtaking view on the PC that wasn't on the console version, from what I've seen. The PC version didn't make the other look terrible, as I've heard, they both looked more or less the same, just varying for how precisely one wanted to see the veins on a leaf, or the blood splatter on a character.

As to whether the various versions could host more foes at a time, I cannot say. Any version I've seen has always had roughly the same number of beasts for a given point--and I say this as someone who's played it at least 12 times, and seen quite a few sections of it played at least three or four times, on various systems. The only time I think it would matter would be the final fight, where you get spammed with enemies, but even then, I'm not slightly concerned with how many are on screen, I'm just concerned with how many I can kill to prevent them from killing me while I deal with the Archdemon.

BloodSquirrel:

Spacewolf:
i wonder what they intend to put into these new consoles as its going to be difficult to make any worthwhile developments to graphics i dont see why they dont just try and optamise what they can do with the PS3

The PS3 and 360's current tech is *WAY* behind current PC tech. A new console could run what current consoles are running at 1080p at 60 fps, and could fit eight times as much data (ie, eight times as much area without having to load) with specs that are fairly moderate compared to a current gaming rig.

That's kind of funny because that's what sony said we would be getting with the PS3. And it might even be able to do that but we wont find out because the devs don't need to in order to sell a game for $60 and all of the (hundreds of) future updates will all be about anti-hacking.

JDKJ:
Why is this article headlined "Sony Looking to Cut Cost of Console Development for PS4" when it appears that what's really afoot isn't "development" costs but, rather, "manufacturing" costs? The two are not the same.

I think you missed something. The main point of this article is a comparison to what they did with the PS3, which is blow a ton of money "developing" new tech for the console. While yes, the article does discuss how that relates to manufacturing costs, the main point is simply that they're not bothering with the same development approach.

GonzoGamer:
That's kind of funny because that's what sony said we would be getting with the PS3. And it might even be able to do that but we wont find out because the devs don't need to in order to sell a game for $60 and all of the (hundreds of) future updates will all be about anti-hacking.

No, Sony was just full of it. The PS3's hardware isn't some mysterious technology from another dimension that top scientists are still trying to figure out. It has a PowerPC-based processor, 256MB of system memory, and what was at the time an almost off-the-self graphics card.

I think Sony realized they went super ambitious for the PS3 and no want to create the next console that is around the same specs but nothing more. If it makes it cheaper but doesn't feel cheap, then I'm all for it.

Maybe this is a sign that 3D won't be in it...?

The thing about the loss they take for the console in sales, is recouped in game sales over the years. sure they sell the console for less than it takes to make. but they know that in the first year your game purchases will cover that. every game after is pure profit. and thats not just purchased games but rentals as well.

heres and idea:

http://www.newegg.com/Store/SubCategory.aspx?SubCategory=309&name=Mini-Booksize-Barebone-Systems

Now contact ATI and Nvidia and have them bid to put in a current gen GPU in something like that, and put in the best processor. maybe the cell in a more current faster model. plus optimize the current OS for it and your done.

better:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813130305 $49.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16819115037 $178.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820104203 $48.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16822136847 $49.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814125366 $79.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16827106325 $55.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817338019 $61.99
retail price: $525.93 add on the $25 custom case and fans $550.93
OS is simply having the already working for you code monkeys make the exhisting OS work on this hardware. and thats retail prices, what your or I would pay for it, they would pay half that atleast.

Spacewolf:
Also i dont understant the need for 60FPS it wouldnt make the game look like its running any smoother as humans carnt distiguish images moving that fast so it would just end up looking like 40ish FPS

What? No. It's quite easy to tell the difference between 30 and 60 fps. Very obvious in an arcade. And you can with a bit more effort tell the difference between 60 and (true) 120 fps even if you can't pick out every individual frame. Assuming your display supports that of course.

Besides the visuals, the more fps you push the faster the game can react - 30 fps means each frame is 33 msec. And if you're double buffering that's 100 msec minimum before your character reacts to what you're telling it. You have a cap of 120 msec before things start feeling really laggy, but the lower the better. Go to 60 fps and your input latency is cut in half. This is very noticeable.

What I'm really hoping for here is that they toss the ridiculous Cell architecture out the window and go with something like everyone else is using, so devs don't have to put in ridiculous amounts of effort to get a game that looks good. Yes, someone like Naughty Dog or Insomniac can get gorgeous results from a PS3, but those are well funded first/second party companies with unlimited access to Sony's PS3 experts. How many third party devs can manage that?

The real strength of the PS3 isn't the Cell (it's been a constant albatross) or any of the hardware except maybe the Blu-ray player for movies: It's the amazing developers who are tied to the console. And those devs could do just as well, or better, on a normal multi-core Intel or PPC CPU - while still letting less rich and connected developers put in much less effort to get something that looks decent. People know how to program PCs with DX9/11 GPUs. I firmly believe this is one of the reasons XBox 360 did much better than almost anyone expected, and even Nintendo has learned the lesson - Cafe (Wii HD) uses the same model. Give us a powerful, familiar, PC platform in a box, add your necessary proprietary crap but don't make it too onerous, and the software library will explode.

 

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