Sony PS3 defense: developers can do more with it

Sony is doing its best to recover from what can politely be referred to as a lukewarm reaction to the PlayStation 3, and one of the ways they are doing so is by jumping on the corporate blog bandwagon. An entry by Dave Karraker, the senior director for corporate communications at Sony, has attempted to address the issue of the PS3 being harder to develop for than other game consoles. Karraker calls it an "interesting question" and says that games that are developed first for the PS3 have development costs "comparable with industry norms" when compared to Xbox 360 and high-end PC game development. He then adds that adding additional features that support the PS3's Cell processor will cost more to develop. "It's not that the PS3 is harder to write for," he says, "it's just that you can do more with it."

The Cell's architecture is an asymmetric multiprocessing (AMP) system with a single PowerPC core (PPE) and seven small calculating units that Sony calls Synergistic Processing Units (SPUs)—some literature refers to them as Elements (SPEs) instead. The Xbox 360 (and, for that matter, modern PCs) use a symmetric multiprocessing architecture, where all the processing is done by identical multiple cores on the same die. The different architecture designs make absolute performance comparisons difficult, especially when so much rides on the skill of the developer and the knowledge of how to best optimize for the architecture in question. While Karraker is correct that more performance can be achieved by using the Cell efficiently, it is also true that more can be achieved by using pervasive multithreading to fully utilize all the cores on the 360 or even on multicore PCs.

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News source: Ars Technica

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