Mark Cerny gives us our first look at the PS4's internals.
We've already taken a reasonably detailed deep dive into the PlayStation 4's internals based on Sony's specifications for the console, and we know it looks more like a PC than any major game console before it, right down to the eight-core AMD-supplied x86 CPU. In a discussion with Gamasutra, PS4 Lead Architect Mark Cerny emphasized the extent to which these decisions were driven by game software and middleware developers.
"[C]learly we had had some issues with PlayStation 3, in that a very developer-centric approach to the design of the PlayStation 4 would just make things go more smoothly overall," Cerny said, a reference to the PlayStation 3's complicated Cell CPU. The developer outreach process began as early as 2007, when Cerny was put in charge of the new console's hardware, and was done before any work had commenced on the actual hardware design.
"The biggest thing was that we didn't want the hardware to be a puzzle that programmers would be needing to solve to make quality titles," said Cerny. Feedback from developers directly influenced several major specifications that we'll see in the finished console: a large pool of unified memory shared by both the CPU and GPU was a common request, and developers also asked that the hardware use no more than eight CPU cores because "the consensus was that any more than eight, and special techniques would be needed to use them, to get efficiency."