The man responsible for Doom and sparking life into the FPS genre agrees with Sony’s design decisions for the PlayStation 4.
I can’t speak freely about PS4, but now that some specs have been made public, I can say that Sony made wise engineering choices.
— John Carmack (@ID_AA_Carmack) February 21, 2013
In the past, John Carmack stated that although the PS3′s raw performance is there it is simply a “more difficult” machine to develop for.
Now the PS3 in particular, and this has been passed over many times over the years, but the core architectural decisions of having the cell processors versus additional symmetric processors makes life more difficult, unquestionably it’s harder to develop for those there. You have to use a separate tool chain, the debugging is crappier, and all this. The upside of that is, there is more raw performance for computing there than there is on 360.
However, Carmack isn’t the only developer that has felt this way about the PS3. Midway developer Shaun Himmerick stated the following:
Anyone making a game, if you’re going to make it for both, just lead on the PS3 because if it works on the PS3, it’ll work on 360. We had to play catch-up on the PS3 because of the memory constraints and how it renders; how it processes is just different. And it’s harder on the PS3.
Perhaps the most scathing of words came from Valve CEO Gabe Newell before he warmed up to the console.
[The PS3 is a] waste of everyone’s time. Investing in the Cell…gives you no long-term benefits. There’s nothing there that you’re going to apply to anything else. You’re not going to gain anything except a hatred of the architecture they’ve created. I don’t think it’s a good solution.
However, now the tides have turned. The Playstation 4 is mostly utilizing traditional PC hardware with some extra tweaks added into the mix. Developers can expect a generous 8GB of GDDR5 system memory, an 8 core AMD CPU, and a decent AMD GPU. Simply put, there is no doubt that Sony made some great decisions with the hardware for the PS4, and making multiplatform games and first party titles will be much easier on developers.