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Apr 12 2012

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Xbox vs Playstation: Next-Gen

What does a 16-Core Next Gen Xbox mean to PS4?

Some game developers now have the next Xbox dev kits (Durango) in their possession and sources say its packing an IBM 16-Core CPU, (IBM’s current top end CPU is the SUPER7 with 8 cores) and AMD Radeon HD 7000 series GPU. The GPU will be a custom AMD GPU when all is said and done (similar to what MS did with the 360), not the one that is currently in dev units and there very well may be two GPU’s in the final system!

To find out more details about the sources and leaks of this info, be sure to check out our sister site “Controversy Gaming News” by Michael Zoran on the side bar of this page!

So the rumor mill has been buzzing about Sony’s next gen console codenamed “Orbis”, which is rumored to have an AMD CPU and GPU. The rumors also indicate that the CPU will have integrated graphics that will work in parallel with the dedicated GPU.

To understand the answer to the question at the top of the page, we must first take a little trip down memory lane. When the original Playstation launched, the idea was already there as it was originally intended to be a Nintendo console/add on. The Playstation (concept) was technically in development from 1986 to 1991 when it was ready to go for Nintendo. When Nintendo didn’t come up with the compensation amount Sony wanted, the deal was off. Nintendo looked to Phillips and Sony looked to release their very own CD-Rom console. And so the Playstation was born as was Namco’s system 11 arcade board, which was Sony’s way into Sega’s market!

So moving on, Sony did well thanks to simple development and design that was loved by game developers the world over and therefore, gamers. And with that success it took them to the inevitable instant success that was the Playstation 2, which essentially took Sega out of the console market and left the Dreamcast dead in the water after just a year on the market. Even with a more complicated hardware design and development environment, the Playstation 2 was destined for success because of the huge fanbase they had already made with the PS1 and more importantly, no real competition with pockets as deep as theirs.

Sony drew a lot of success for its PS1 from the arcade being that arcades were popular back then and were a way into gamers’ pockets. They wanted to make porting arcade games to the home console easy, just the way Sega had done with the Genesis. And technically the way Sega was (again) intending to do with the Saturn. But while Sega prepared to bring millions of 2D pixels and sprites from the arcade into the home, they forgot one small detail that the future of gaming just couldn’t be without… The 3rd dimension. While Sega was developing a powerhouse 2D gaming console, Sony was developing a 3D powerhouse that was going to bring something new to the gaming scene and even though Sega threw in 3D processing power at the last minute, it just wasn’t enough. Development was too hard for the Saturn and Sega slipped.

So as we move forward, past the inevitable success that was the PS2 launch, out comes a new player to the field, someone with deep pockets and an idea that was loosely learned from Sega and Sony. That idea was indeed the arcade to home connection, although Microsoft saw that idea in the now… From the PC to your TV! Microsoft wanted to make a gaming console that developers could easily develop games for across both the PC and Xbox. Similar to the way Sega and later Sony did with the arcade. It was Sega’s idea, stolen by Sony and refined and updated by Microsoft!

So as we moved to the post Playstation 2/Xbox era, the Xbox 360 launched. Microsoft again took the PC to console development idea and turned it on its head by releasing hardware that was more powerful than any home computer on the market at that time and theres no doubt that MS will do the same again in the next generation. But here’s where things get interesting. Microsoft knew that they not only needed a powerful console and an easy development environment, but they also knew they had to launch first. Why?… Because Sony was top dog! 2 generations, over 100,000,000 consoles sold worldwide and a loyal fan base that was hard to sway. When you are top dog, you don’t have to get out before the competition and Microsoft knew its place and acted accordingly.

Unfortunately for Sony, Ken Kutaragi went for the jugular with the PS3. They put everything ($$$) into the CELL chip design, this was their ace in the hole, a CPU/GPU combo, an all in wonder chip, the be all, end all of processing power that was to go into all types of electronic devices. That was until they realized they couldn’t get graphics out of it and had to throw in a dedicated GPU that was straight from a PC, not fully customized from the ground up like the Xbox 360 GPU.

Sony’s other ace in the hole was blu ray, a disc based medium that stores a lot more data than DVD’s. The blu ray drives though were overly expensive to mass produce at the time. The discs themselves were more expensive too, especially when compared to how much a DVD cost at the time. Blu Ray was a good idea on paper, but it was a bit ahead of its time, especially for gaming as the drive is too slow for loading games and the hardware power just isn’t there to support a game filled with 25 to 50gb of high resolution graphics. It doesn’t help that the PS3 can only display 250,000,000 polygons a second compared to the Xbox 360′s 500,000,000 polygons a second. Blu ray for the PS3 is just overkill of space and more importantly cost. If the system were capable of displaying more HD graphic intense games, it may have been a good idea but as it stands, it wasn’t.

So with the high cost of development for the CELL CPU that turned out to not even be all that much better for gaming than the Xbox 360′s CPU. And with the high cost of the mass storage space of blu ray, which was better served for HD movies than games. Sony has had a rough couple of years. They just announced this week that the company lost 6+ BILLION DOLLARS last year (2011) and will also be laying off at least 10,000 employees by years end. All the while, Sony uncharacteristically is saying they will launch their next gaming console BEFORE Microsoft launches theirs. That statement alone tells me Sony knows they are no longer the top dog in the gaming world.

So what led to Sony’s horrible collapse and why hasn’t the PS3 sold as well as its predecessors did in this same time span?… In part was this quote: “599 US DOLLARS!”

And this leads us to the answer (finally) to the question at the top of this page…
Sony as a whole is a company hurting for money and this is somewhere they have never been before. And as good as the PS Vita is, its not going to get them out of the red. Sony will not launch a new console this time UNLESS it generates cash out of the gate. And Sony knows gamers will not go for another 599 US dollars and therefore anything remotely comparable to a 16-Core CPU is out of the question. If Microsoft does in fact release a 16-Core console, it will be the demise of Playstation as we know it. Because unlike Sony, Microsoft has deep pockets and will price competitively and will have the more powerful hardware and will even take a greater loss of money early on just to end out on top.

The tables have turned in the gaming industry, Sony used to have the deep pockets, but no longer. If Sony is not prepared to take a loss, they are not prepared to compete with Microsoft in the next generation. They are not ready!

About the author

KRUZ8ER

Husband, Father, Gamer.....

Xbox Live, PSN, Steam, MiiVerse, GameCenter- Gamertag: KRUZ8ER

1 comment

5 pings

  1. Michael Zoran

    Excellent article Morris!

    I love the way you are great at taking us on the journey visiting memory lane with the tale of Nintendo and Sony working together at one point. Believe it or not, I've actually heard rumors of Microsoft and Nintendo working together next gen! There were several people who said Microsoft likes it that Nintendo is right around the block from them geographically. And the word on the street is that Microsoft has an offer on the table to make it so the Wii U would be compatible with Xbox Live Arcade!

    Let's hope that's true!

    But as far as your article here is concerned, I completely agree that Sony just doesn't have the cash reserves it previously did. Formerly worth $200 billion, and now worth only $20 billion! That is a HUGE difference!

    How HUGE, you ask? Well, compare the two lines I will draw below:

    __________

    _

    That is an ULTRA HUGE difference!

    Sony just cannot afford to take a risk with PS4, which will likely be what ironically brings the Playstation brand to an end. Kinda makes you wonder if Sony will support all the consoles as a third-party company or sell off their companies.

  2. Michael Zoran

    Morris,

    Another factor is that Sony cannot rely on success in Japan anymore. Firing all those tens-of-thousands of Japanese employees is considered a "Dishonorable" action in the Japanese culture. The way things go over there, if you are hired it is supposed to be for the rest of your life. Take a look at the disappointing PS3 sales in Japan as proof. The PS3 doesn't even come close to the PS1 or the PS2.

  3. Michael Zoran

    Morris,

    Another factor is that Sony cannot rely on success in Japan anymore. Firing all those tens-of-thousands of Japanese employees is considered a "Dishonorable" action in the Japanese culture. The way things go over there, if you are hired it is supposed to be for the rest of your life. Take a look at the disappointing PS3 sales in Japan as proof. The PS3 doesn't even come close to the PS1 or the PS2.

  4. Michael Zoran

    Morris, you raise another great point about the Cell chip.

    As I'm sure you know, the colleges use multiple PS3 units linked together because if you link enough of those things together in a parallel processing way, it can imitate a supercomputer.

    And Sony themselves has even shown PS3 games such as Gran Turismo running on four PS3 units simultaneously in order to generate exaggerated graphics and obtain false hype (the game ran at 3840x2160p resolution at 240 frames per second — far better than the 960x1080p resoluton of Gran Turismo 5, which actually drops below 60 frames per second at times).

    But the really important thing is to look at the design of the PS3 and see how it compares to the PS2. Then, think about what Sony was likely planning for the PS4.

    You will notice that the PS3 uses the PS2 Emotion Engine CPU (which is similar to the Cell CPU the way it focuses on mathematics and claims to be a supercomputer). The PS2 CPU is just a piece of the PS3, but it's still there. This makes me wonder if Sony planned on using a more powerful version of this type of chip with the PS4, and then keeping the Cell CPU from the PS3 inside the PS4. They all would have been running parallel together.

  5. Kyle

    You definitely made some good points in this article and I agree with some of them. I do have a difference in opinion, slightly. First, I just wanted to say that I am a fan of both machines so I won’t be making any fanboy remarks. With that being said, I do think that the competition will be a little closer than what your article implies. I feel like Sony has some upcoming tricks up their sleeves and currently they do have the favored feelings among the developers. I want to see both machines come out of the gate doing well. It’s going to be a tough race. I hope neither company goes down because of this economy. I think it will be better for all of us gamers if these companies last and continue to push each other on the limits of their technology. 2013 will be an interesting year.

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