It seems that Sony is to drop its Cell processor architecture, used in the PlayStation 3, for development of a successor, named aptly enough, the PS4.
Sony’s PlayStation 3 suffered a slow start this console generation, and never quite picked up the same kind of momentum as Nintendo’s Wii or even Microsoft’s Xbox 360. Indeed, much of the blame for this was placed at the feet of the Cell processor, which was said to be giving developers all kinds of headaches that they weren’t seeing with Microsoft’s Xbox 360 architecture, being more similar to a PC.
According to TechRadar, Sony had been looking to work with Intel’s Larrabee, but has since moved on to considerations of more current-PC-styled multi-core processing. Certainly, game developers would be pleased with the shift, given the difficulties they had had with the Cell, but it’ll likely be a bit of a disappointment for those who felt the Cell was never used to its fullest potential.
Now that Nintendo is considering Larrabee, we’ll be curious to see what news comes from Sony when there’s more solid word on PlayStation 4 development. For now though, we’re expecting not to hear too much about a next-generation PlayStation for quite some time.
Sony’s own word on the PlayStation 3 was that it was expensive at launch because that was the cost of “future proofing” the device for what it felt would be an unusually long console life-cycle. Here we are, almost four years since the device’s launch, and there’s still no solid word on a next-gen PlayStation, so certainly that extended life-cycle is happening.
We’re curious to see how well Microsoft’s Xbox 360 weathers the extended life cycle, but there have already been complaints about the capacity of a DVD and the fact that developers aren’t allowed to make a hard drive mandatory. If nothing else, we’re expecting the fight between the two to heat up now that they’re more similarly priced.