PS4 Developers Will Hit Their Stride In 3-4 Years
That’s according to PS4 lead architect Mark Cerny. Chances are that he’s spot on because it was roughly 3-4 years before we started seeing the really generation-defining games of Xbox 360 and PS3. Give or take some early standouts and outliers.
I mean, titles such as Halo 4, Uncharted 2, Heavy Rain, Forza 4 and plenty more came out in the second half of this console generation. There are plenty more names that should be up there but my brain is mushy.
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Essentially, it takes some time for developers to truly warm up with a new console and really learn to unlock its potential.
Speaking with Polygon at Gamescom, Cerny said this should be rather easy for developers considering PS4 has 10 times the performance power of PS3.
“We set our target at 10 times the PlayStation 3′s performance, because that’s what we felt we needed to achieve in order to differentiate the titles,” Cerny said. “It’s a supercharged PC architecture, so you can use it as if it were a PC with unified memory. Much of what we’re seeing with the launch titles is that usage; it’s very, very quick to get up to speed if that’s how you use it. But at the same time, then you’re not taking advantage of all the customization that we did in the GPU.
“I think that really will play into the graphical quality and the level of interaction in the worlds in, say, year three or year four of the console.”
Cerny said when he pitched the console to developers, he talked about something he calls the “Akihabara test”
“Akihabara is a electronics district in Tokyo, it’s just full of stores where you can buy just about anything you plug into a wall socket. I knew that at some point, there’d be out on the sidewalk a PlayStation 3 and PlayStation 4, and they might even be showing the same game, and the PlayStation 4 had to be powerful enough that when people walked by, they had to look at the PlayStation 4 and say, ‘Wow, I have to have that.’
“Believe it or not, at the PlayStation 3 launch, I was hearing a lot about how PlayStation 3 graphics aren’t really different from PlayStation 2. I think that speaks to both how large people’s expectations are, and also how launch titles are not fully exploiting the hardware.”
I think one thing that will accelerate the rate at which developers familiarise themselves with the PS4 is the more familiar x86 architecture as opposed to the PS3’s cell-architecture which took a lot of time and a very large manual to get the most out of it.