Lead architect Mark Cerny says new-gen game concepts shaped PlayStation’s new console

PS4 specs were ‘based on what devs were thinking of making’

The technical specifications of the PlayStation 4 were partly dictated by developer demands, PlayStation figureheads have explained this morning.

During the keynote at today’s Develop Conference – a look at the past, present and future of PlayStation – group CEO and president Andrew House and PS4 lead architect Mark Cerny discussed the process of decided what would and wouldn’t be included in the platform holder’s newest console.

On the subject of hard drives, Cerny revealed that a tricky issue was the decision of whether or not to include hard drives in the console.

“It’s a point of debate because it would cost about a billion dollars,” he said. “Hard drives are expensive. You can’t put half a hard drive in, you can’t use Flash because you can’t get much memory, so we were searching for alternatives.”

Ultimately, it was developers and the ambitious games they were attempting to make for the new device that made the decision for Sony.

“There was a lot of debates,” said Cerny. “Does every player need downloadable content? Not every player does. Does every player need to play Watch Dogs the way it was intended? Yes.

“Watch Dogs needed 15GB to be cached on a fast-moving medium like a hard drive. So decisions were made based on what developers were thinking of making.”

Developers also asked for eight cores rather than four, despite how expensive this would be. Cerny said that some of the decisions were made specifically based on feedback, but others were made to pre-empt it.

“Some of it was ease of game creation,” he explained. “We didn’t want developers worrying about how to shove data into a small amount of memory.”

Mark Cerny will be receiving the Development Legend prize at tonight’s 2014 Develop Awards.

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