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Posted

 
Sony Computer Entertainment boss Andrew House has spoken of the internal discussions held within PlayStation as it attempted to balance the priorities of a PS4 with beefy technical specifications and a console able to launch at an affordable price point.
 
Speaking during this morning's keynote speech at Develop 2014, attended by Eurogamer, House mentioned the "sleepless nights" he faced as the conflict between the two lay unresolved.
 
"We were balancing priorities and a lot of the philosophy that underpinned PlayStation 4 came from our experiences with PlayStation 3," he explained.
 
"Sometimes these priorities were almost in conflict with each other. We absolutely wanted to build a platform with strong momentum out of the gate and that, from my point of view, necessitated a certain hardware price point and value proposition that could be more than just a niche market from the get-go."
 
But at the same time PlayStation 4 lead architect Mark Cerny - also in attendance this morning - was touring developers and painting a picture of PlayStation 4's user experience and the ease of development it would offer. These were elements Sony wanted to improve on after "bitter and painful experiences on PlayStation 3".
 
"We had to make a call and it was another sleepless one for me," House continued. "I think we have a fantastic hardware procurement and design group that can achieve the economics of a platform over time.
 
"I essentially put a bet that if we went out there with this and made a strong financial commitment upfront, there would be other ways to offset and mitigate that. First and foremost that was ease of development and great experiences, and we would manage the financial implications in some way."
 
Financial implications such as the choice to include a hard drive with PlayStation 4 rather than flash memory or another alternative. It was a billion dollar decision for the company.
 
"Hard drives are expensive, and it's not like you can put half a hard drive in a console," Cerny explained. "The alternative is flash but you can't put much flash memory in it. We went through all the pluses and minuses - many minuses - of not having a hard drive... the conclusion was we needed to include one and it cost a billion dollars."
 
RAM was another issue. "In the early days we were thinking do we need 2GB or do we need 4GB?" Cerny added. The final decision to choose 8GB was, again, "very expensive".
 
House's job was to work out how decisions like this would affect the PlayStation 4 business model for years to come - how it would impact the launch price, but also the console's future price drops and other deals. Choosing expensive technology had "massive implications", House said, but not including such things risked the vision of the platform Sony wanted to built.
 
"Financial issues aside we had to strive for a certain level of experience to get users to embrace a brand new platform," House explained.
 
"Does every player need to play Watch Dogs the way it was intended? If you wanted to save money, unfortunately the answer is yes," Cerny concurred. "Watch Dogs is a title that needed 15GB cached [storage memory], a very fast media like a hard drive to be the game people wanted it to be. [Having a hard drive] was embedded in such a basic level of what developers were thinking of making."
 
The proof of those difficult decisions, however - the 7 million PlayStation 4 consoles Sony has sold to date - is plain to see.

 

 

Source: http://www.eurogamer.net/articles/2014-07-09-sony-boss-talks-of-sleepless-nights-when-trying-to-balance-ps4-capabilities-and-price

 

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Posted

Two video clips of the conference

 

 

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Posted

Two video clips of the conference

 

<video snipped>

 

<video snipped>

As I posted in the first video, Mark Cerny always seems to be smiling. It's frustrating but he's very endearing, so it's hard to mind!?

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Posted

Building consoles today is a very stressful job. I'm not shocked that Sony was no different in this regard.

There are so many variables to consider and every choice you make is a gamble. Sony hit on most of the right points and it has resulted in a strong launch. Mark Cerny was at the center of those choice and he deserve the praise for getting it right.

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Posted

I want them to put those sleepless nights into getting more games.

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Posted

I imagine they began to sleep much more soundly when Microsoft kept shooting themselves in the foot during the launch of the One.

 

 

Lucky for Sony they weren't trying to push a new optical disc format like they were with the Blu Ray in the PS3.

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Posted

Emmmm, choosing between a hard drive and more memory does not sound like hard choices at all...I mean come on we are talking about next gen consoles. Anyway both consoles are under powered for today's standard let alone for the next 5-7 years so I guess more sleepless nights were needed because looks like you came up short :-)

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Posted

Microsoft now must pay for their enough sleeping time then.

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Posted

Emmmm, choosing between a hard drive and more memory does not sound like hard choices at all...I mean come on we are talking about next gen consoles. Anyway both consoles are under powered for today's standard let alone for the next 5-7 years so I guess more sleepless nights were needed because looks like you came up short :-)

 

PC hardware has advanced at an astonishing rate since the launch of the 360. It's not like the past where each gen would rival high-end PC's in the beginning.

 

The PS4 and XB1 would have had to launch with GTX 780 equivalents this gen to have the same effect, and thats a hell of a loss to absorb for consumers. Frankly I dont think Sony could have taken that.

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Posted

RAM was another issue. "In the early days we were thinking do we need 2GB or do we need 4GB?" Cerny added. The final decision to choose 8GB was, again, "very expensive".

:rolleyes:

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Posted

:rolleyes:

Are you rolling eyes at the fact that he says it was expensive? He mentioned that the 500GB HDD and 8GB of RAM choices were each ONE BILLION dollar choices.

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Posted

Are you rolling eyes at the fact that he says it was expensive? He mentioned that the 500GB HDD and 8GB of RAM choices were each ONE BILLION dollar choices.

In what world do you live in that 8gb ram is expensive? It's pretty much bog standard in even budget computers nowadays.

Especially since these consoles are "supposed" to last at least 5 years, it would have been an utterly retarded idea to go with 4gb. The price difference between 4 and 8gb is so minuscule that I highly doubt it was as expensive as they claim. Same thing goes with the hard-drive, 500gb hardrives aren't expensive at all. Then you're also forgetting that for the first time in history these consoles are profitable from day one. In the past both companies made massive losses for years, but now they aren't anymore.

Stop believing the marketing ###### that these companies put out.

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In what world do you live in that 8gb ram is expensive? It's pretty much bog standard in even budget computers nowadays.

Especially since these consoles are "supposed" to last at least 5 years, it would have been an utterly retarded idea to go with 4gb. The price difference between 4 and 8gb is so minuscule that I highly doubt it was as expensive as they claim. Same thing goes with the hard-drive, 500gb hardrives aren't expensive at all. Then you're also forgetting that for the first time in history these consoles are profitable from day one. In the past both companies made massive losses for years, but now they aren't anymore.

Stop believing the marketing ###### that these companies put out.

PS4 uses GDDR5 RAM.

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In what world do you live in that 8gb ram is expensive? It's pretty much bog standard in even budget computers nowadays.

Especially since these consoles are "supposed" to last at least 5 years, it would have been an utterly retarded idea to go with 4gb. The price difference between 4 and 8gb is so minuscule that I highly doubt it was as expensive as they claim. Same thing goes with the hard-drive, 500gb hardrives aren't expensive at all. Then you're also forgetting that for the first time in history these consoles are profitable from day one. In the past both companies made massive losses for years, but now they aren't anymore.

Stop believing the marketing ###### that these companies put out.

 

I live in the world where custom 8Gb GDDR5 is expensive... Which world do you live in?

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PS4 uses GDDR5 RAM.

And? GDDR5 isn't as expensive as you think it is. When the 580s came out in 2010 it was about $12 a GB, it's been 3 years so I'm sure the prices have gone down and since I'm sure Sony bought it in massive bulk it'll be even cheaper.

If it was as expensive as they claim (same with the hardrives) the consoles won't be profitable. But they are.

My point still stands 8gb ram is bog standard these days and it would have been an incredibly stupid decision for them to go with 2 or even 4. If they wanted to console to last 1 year sure, but they want it to last till 2018 at the very least.

I live in the world where custom 8Gb GDDR5 is expensive... Which world do you live in?

I live in the world of common sense, the one in which a $400 console is PROFITABLE.

Also read my above post, 4 years ago in 2010 GDDR5 was $12 a GB.

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Posted

Yet the PS4 is barely profitable... Funny that :D

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Yet the PS4 is barely profitable... Funny that :D

You do realize that the PS3 and 360 took several years to be profitable right? It's the first time that a console has been profitable at launch.

Even barely profitable is a good thing, it costs as much as a budget PC and yet the specs are pretty decent and they still make a profit.

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Posted

I didn't realise you were in charge of sourcing and paying for the custom GDDR5 RAM the PS4 uses. My apologies for questioning you.

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In what world do you live in that 8gb ram is expensive? It's pretty much bog standard in even budget computers nowadays.

Especially since these consoles are "supposed" to last at least 5 years, it would have been an utterly retarded idea to go with 4gb. The price difference between 4 and 8gb is so minuscule that I highly doubt it was as expensive as they claim. Same thing goes with the hard-drive, 500gb hardrives aren't expensive at all. Then you're also forgetting that for the first time in history these consoles are profitable from day one. In the past both companies made massive losses for years, but now they aren't anymore.

Stop believing the marketing ###### that these companies put out.

 

In what world do you live in that you dont know PS4 is using GDDR memory not DDR.

 

Memory itself in the PS4 costs around $140...considering Sony is buying it in large quantities probably a little discount.

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You've also got to remember that it is not just the raw cost of the chips which is a factor.

 

Didn't Digital Foundry say at one point before release that 8GB GDDR5 would be near impossible to implement? So to do so they would have had other technical challenges to overcome which would have had a cost impact.

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In what world do you live in that you dont know PS4 is using GDDR memory not DDR.

Where the hell did I even state DDR3?

My entire point is 2gb or even 4gb ram would be pathetic for a console from 2014-2018+. Same thing goes with the hardrive.

The expense thing is pretty simple, these consoles are profitable at a pretty low pricepoint. $400 isn't a lot of money and yet even if they're making just $1 of profit, the expenses can't have been that high.

End of story.

Memory itself in the PS4 costs around $140...considering Sony is buying it in large quantities probably a little discount.

So $140 for the RAM. $60 for the hardrive. You're telling me EVERYTHING else, the development costs, the shipping costs, the CPU, the GPU, the box, the optical drive (though those are dirt cheap), the power supply and HDMI cable (dirt cheap too), the controller comes to just a measly $200?

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I live in the world where custom 8Gb GDDR5 is expensive... Which world do you live in?

He's very right, in terms of economics DDR3 price ramped up along the release of these consoles due to a massive fire in one the largest factories. Remember reading about it. So even though GDDR5 was expensive, MS was paying roughly the same for DDR3 which must of been a kick in the nuts for them.

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Where the hell did I even state DDR3?

My entire point is 2gb or even 4gb ram would be pathetic for a console from 2014-2018+. Same thing goes with the hardrive.

The expense thing is pretty simple, these consoles are profitable at a pretty low pricepoint. $400 isn't a lot of money and yet even if they're making just $1 of profit, the expenses can't have been that high.

End of story.

 

You were talking about memory and about 8gb but no mention of what memory. While you can easily get 8gb of ddr3 for around 50-60 bucks then GDDR is way more expensive than that. About one fourth of the price of the console is the memory already.

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While you can easily get 8gb of ddr3 for around 50-60 bucks then GDDR is way more expensive than that.

Nvidia stated that in 2010 they were paying $12 for 1gb of GDDR5.

Do you keep skipping over the point of going 2gb or 4gb would have been bat ###### insane? Or do you choose not to listen to that.

I just refuse to believe that the RAM and a pathetic 500gb hardrive were $1 billion decisions each. Sorry that's marketing BS.

This data comes from IHS iSuppli, which reported its bill-of-materials teardown analysis of the PS4 last week, and then the Xbox One today. The cost of making an Xbox One mostly boils down to the APU ($110 from AMD), 8GB of RAM ($60 from SK Hynix), and the Kinect ($75). The cost of the console itself comes to around $332, with the Kinect, power brick ($25), gamepad ($15), and headset making up the remainder.

For the PS4, iSuppli estimates that the APU was slightly cheaper ($100), but the GDDR5 RAM cost a lot more ($88). The hard drive ($37), controller ($18), and various other bits bring the total build cost of the PS4 to $381.

http://www.extremetech.com/gaming/171697-xbox-one-costs-more-to-make-than-the-ps4-thanks-to-esram-and-kinect

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Nvidia stated that in 2010 they were paying $12 for 1gb of GDDR5.

Do you keep skipping over the point of going 2gb or 4gb would have been bat ###### insane? Or do you choose not to listen to that.

I just refuse to believe that the RAM and a pathetic 500gb hardrive were $1 billion decisions each. Sorry that's marketing BS.

http://www.extremetech.com/gaming/171697-xbox-one-costs-more-to-make-than-the-ps4-thanks-to-esram-and-kinect

At $12/gb.. we are talking $24 (2gb), $48(4gb) and $96(8gb). The difference of $72 (2gb --> 8gb) is significant if you consider current estimate of 10Million consoles for first year, it's $700M right there.

 

It's not difficult to imagine that Sony is referring to $1B spread over the life of the console.

 

(I am probably the last person to defend sony so think about it :p )

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