The lead design architect of the PlayStation 4, Mark Cerny, has revealed in an interview with Gamasutra that the console will give developers a "supercharged PC architecture". According to Cerny, the supercharged bit comes from the fact that the console is equipped with 8GB of GDDR5 unified memory.
The unified architecture is said to offer "a very straightforward benefit that you get even on your first day of coding with the system." This is because of the custom chip that AMD has designed for the PS4's GPU and CPU.
The new architecture also comes as a boon to developers since it is considerably easier to develop for, compared to the PS3's Cell architecture. While the Cell processor was powerful, developers had a hard time with it because learning the ins and outs of the chip were a necessity.
"The hope with PlayStation 4 was to have a powerful architecture, but also an architecture that would be a very familiar architecture in many ways," said Cerny.
Like a PC, but SUPERCHARGED!
Sony earlier confirmed that an AMD-based x86 processor and a GPU on par with the Radeon HD 7850 would be powering the console. It will have 8GB of unified high-speed memory and a “massive” hard drive. The new controller—dubbed the DualShock 4—will have a touch pad, a share button, a headphone jack and a light bar to identify players. The light bar also works much like the Move sensor through a 3D camera.
Epic Games has also announced that its next-gen engine—Unreal Engine 4—will be available for PS4 games. The company also demonstrated the graphical capabilities of Unreal Engine 4 running on a PlayStation 4 with a short video.
The video gives us a look at what the in-game graphics of games running on Unreal Engine 4 will be like. The lighting and particle effects have a large amount of detail. While such effects and details could previously be seen in pre-rendered videos, this is a huge step forward for in-game graphics. It's possible next-gen games with AAA-quality graphics will feature destructible environments, much like the current-gen Frostbite 3 engine.
Nvidia has also announced that its own physics-enhancement engine – PhysX – will be available on the PlayStation 4, which is curious, considering the fact that the PS4 is powered by AMD’s chips and Nvidia hasn’t supported AMD’s cards with PhysX in the past. This could perhaps open the door to having PhysX on both AMD as well as Nvidia cards.