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A PC Gamer’s thoughts on the PS4

A couple of days ago the PS4 was announced and Sony gave us some information about the specs of the console and some of the games coming out for it. I guess it’s no secret that the two loudest groups on N4G are PS3 and PC gamers and this reveal caused a lot of arguing between the two groups. Unfortunately the arguments laid out by both groups were less than informed and intelligent debates and as time has gone on it has turned into insults and bickering. I have always wished that N4G would become a place where people had fun debates over these kinds of things however I don’t believe the systems in place (bubbles, vote down spam) allow for this.

I mention in the title that I am a PC Gamer however I do own a PS Vita and have a PS3 on the way so I think I am in a good position to talk about this without becoming clouded by an agenda. Anyway that is enough talk about N4G let’s get on to the PS4.

The most notable thing about the specs of the PS4 is how close the console is to regular PC components. Sony have described it as a Supercharged PC Architecture (whatever that means) and it contains an 8 core AMD Jaguar APU rumoured to be running at a low clock speed and 1.84 TFLOP GPU. Probably the most talked about part of the PS4 is the 8GB GDDR5 Unified memory. Well first what is unified memory? Well it means that the CPU and GPU both share the same pool of memory which has its own advantages and disadvantages. This part of the specification has left me a little bit puzzled as AMD has always struggled with making there CPUs play nice with high speed DDR3 ram and the PS4 is using GDDR5 which is a hell of a lot faster and with the CPU rumoured to be running at around 1.6Ghz it could become a potential bottleneck however that is all speculation and I am sure (hope) that this is not the case.

The console on paper seems a lot easier to develop for and I hope Sony will open up their console a little bit more like Microsoft did with the Xbox 360. The PS3 only had one core as opposed to the PS4s 8 cores which finally means we will be seeing some “easier” optimizations such as multithreading (I am not claiming multithreading is easy however it is easier than working with the SPUs of cell). For comparison the Xbox 360 had 3 cores however each core had two threads each. As a PC gamer with an 8 core CPU this is very exciting as it most likely means the big engines will push multithreading improving performance on both console and PC. The lower clock speed of the APU will not matter as much if games are optimized to work with all 8 cores.

I would comment on my thoughts on the GPU however I could not find a reliable source for specs of the thing so that leads me to talk about some of the other stuff that was announced at the conference. The first thing that struck me as odd was when they showed off that each new console used a different device for storing games. I think this means that we will be seeing a push towards Digital and Cloud solutions with the PS4, they will most likely not be sacrificing physical games however will be making there store more appealing when compared to a cheaper service like steam. The price of new games on PSN is ridiculous where on steam you usually find them discounted and around £10 - £15 cheaper. This for me is a step in the right direction, I do not have an optical drive in my gaming rig as they are slower than a HDD or SSD and less convenient leading to worse performance in games and disk switching.

The whole emphasis on share did not appeal to me at all as I don’t want other people to be watching me as I play. Of course the whole thing is optional so I don’t have to use this if I don’t want to and it looks like it will be a good feature for those who like this sort of thing. The push on social gaming and integration with facebook also did not appeal to me and I hope this will be optional. A lot of the stuff in the meeting I feel should not have been there such as the watered down tech demos of Unreal Engine and the high poly face which has been possible and outdone for ages however I think this was aimed at the casuals and people who are less into the industry / technology as it shows off what the PS4 can do compared to the PS3 and it is a big leap indeed.

The last thing I want to talk about is Sony’s graphical showpiece Killzone Shadow Fall. While watching the stream I thought the game looked terrible however after watching the footage again on youtube it is clear that the game looks very good. I would not put it up there with Crysis as it lacks a lot of the detail and high res textures most noticeable on the clothing of the characters. I was really disappointed to hear that the game was running at only 30fps at 1080p. With specs that Sony describe as a supercharged PC I was expecting close to PC performance and after playing Crysis 3 at 45 – 60fps on high it all felt a little underwhelming. Hopefully this will be improved as I and a lot of other games prefer performance over graphics.

All in all the PS4 looks like a very powerful system on paper and I hope that the games shown are not representative of its performance and are just a result of the developers being new to the hardware as the games are being outclassed by mid-range PCs (Crysis 3 and Project Cars). I have a feeling it is the latter and we will see some very impressive visuals soon from first party developers such as Naughty Dog. I hope you all enjoyed the read and would love to hear your comments on the PS4. All I ask is that you keep it as civil as you can.

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striker453040d ago

I enjoyed reading this post. I pretty much agree with everything you said. The PS4 is pretty much Sony's loveletter to the fans, giving them what they skimped on this generation, from what they have said about the hardware so far. I have hope that it will be a fantastic console and provide some real competition to the other next-gen consoles

Dylila3040d ago

ps4 basically embarrasses people that built high end pcs for games like crysis 3 who ran around claiming that ps4 will never be able to do what their pcs can do on medium settings. killzone 4 in alpha looks better than crysis 3 the best looking game on pc now. pc games arent normally as advanced in graphics like crysis 3 so there might not be a game that is as advanced in graphics till next year but because of sonys history we know that killzone 4 might be out done soon after release or upon release by another ps4 exclusive.

Welshy3040d ago

The main thing you're missing from you're argument is optimisation.

With a PC game, the developers need to reach as broad a user base as possible, allowing both people on mediocre PC's to at least play it, while providing something to brag about to the guys like myself and the writer of this with dedicated powerfull PC's.

By default this means sometimes they need to pull back a little toensure those guys with weaker PC's can still play. While with PS4 games, everyone will have the same spec, so they can focus on squeezing every last morsel from that system knowing they won't alienate anyone, so for at least the first while, yes PS4 games will go toe-to-toe with PC, but as with all consoles that can't last forever and PC's will create a visual gap again.

PS4 looks amazing and i'm without a doubt getting one, but it by no means makes me feel silly at all for my £1000 gaming PC =)

landog3040d ago (Edited 3040d ago )


i wish i could disagree with you more than

how would they be embarrased, a modern gaming pc with a gtx 680 or better will DESTROY everything that ever comes out on ps4

so, i doubt they would feel bad at all

ps4 will do games in 1920x1080 with 2x-4x aa at 28-30 frames

a pc with a gtx 680, i7 2600k and 8 gb ddr3 will do games in 2560x1600 with 8x aa at 30-60 frames, way more effects, better shadows, better lighting and more realistic textures

come on, you honestly think a $500 console will come even close to a mid-spec $800 pc

you're dreaming

not to mention with the gtx 780's on the horizon, those will be more powerful than the entire ps4 and nextbox combined

ps4 will produce amazing visuals for consoles, but nothing that isnt already available on pc

lol...and crysis 3 destroys everything shown at the ps4 reveal, same with witcher 2, bf3, crysis 2, crysis 1 etc...etc...

compared to this; contest....crysis 3 kills kz, watch in fullscreen, look at all the jaggies and low res in killzone sf

joeorc3040d ago

the Cell SPE's are in fact true processing cores.

I do not know where this myth keep's coming up about The Cell SPE's not being true processing cores is coming from, but they are not correct.

The Cell processor's SPE's are in fact a processing core with 256 KB of local store Memory. With DMA to system Ram and or DMA to each other SPE's local store Ram.

Bladesfist3040d ago

Yes my bad, they are specialized cores which are great at what they do and not much of anything else.

joeorc3040d ago (Edited 3040d ago )

"Yes my bad, they are specialized cores which are great at what they do and not much of anything else."

well in one aspect they do thing's very well , in other's not nearly as well they can still do other thing's beside's Graphic's tasks like cloth physic's, Lightning, deformation of matter.In many thing's for Gaming related compute tasks the Cell is ideally suited for, the one real weakness for the PS3 was to this day was not using enough Pool of ram, to make the PS3 better one idea was 512 MB of each pool would have done wonder's! for the PS3. the Bandwidth, of the EIB was 204 GB/sec plenty of speed for that EIB Token ring DMA data transfer speed, just not enough raw pool of ram to do all of the task's they needed to do @ once. But the PS4 as you said look's to fix that issue quite well.

The Bandwidth between each part of the SOC will do quite well and fast if the Chip is indeed a 3D stacked TSV like sony's CEO of Technology development for playstation system design gave in their keynote. a cple of years ago.

HeroReborn3040d ago

Nice thoughts good read I think for me one of the biggest achievements of the chip set is having the CPU and GPU both on the same die. Turned my Ps3 in for a wiiU on Black Friday because didn't play it much anymore, but I will sure as hell be getting a Ps4. Just seems as if Sony is going back to their roots

OcelotRigz3040d ago

I really liked the presentation, i like the features, even though im not on facebook or mad into this social age we've come into, but its good to have them for the PS4. I like the streaming feature, we've all had those one-in-a-million moments that wished we could show our friends.

Unlike most people though, im not really excited, or vice versa, regarding the graphics, sure its nice to have beautiful looking games, but my favorite looking games are usually because of the art style opposed to the graphical power.
But what i am really excited for is the tech the devs have now to make better games, not better looking ones, just better performing, more interactive worlds and characters, better AI, level of detail etc... All these things are going to be better and as a result leading to better games. Think of your favorite games, im sure the ones you choose are not because they look great, its because of a great story, solid, fun and immersive gameplay, the style and atmosphere of the world not the textures etc...

Either way, i cant wait, it has all the ingredients to be a great console.

s45gr323040d ago

Damn were have you been that is exactly what I was thinking...

bunfighterii3040d ago

"The price of new games on PSN is ridiculous where on steam you usually find them discounted and around £10 - £15 cheaper."

The difference of course is that Steam as a digital distribution platform don't need to satisfy a massive physical retail distribution network and can offer games cheaper without worrying about annoying retailers.

Sony and their partners however still rely on the bulk of their sales going through physical mediums and will into the future, so they can't offer games at lower than RRP without upsetting their main customers being physical retail distributors and stores.

s45gr323040d ago

While I do agree with you as and respect you. I strongly believe this is the end of consoles being partnered with retailers. Just by watching the ps4 conference. All I saw was cloud computing (gakai) the and the big push of digital distribution. Come on we as gamers saw the whole ability to play games while the game is downloading, the idea of expanding the play station store, the digital movie/tv show services, etc., etc.. The big three no longer need the retailers anymore.

OcelotRigz3039d ago

The digital age for gaming is some years off yet, yeah loads of people have embraced it and Steam is doing great, but the difference being consoles sell because of the convenience they offer over PCs, if you're going to game on the PC then you usually know what you need and what to expect beforehand, a lot of people dont and just buy a console because you plug it in, go to your nearest game store to have a browse, pop in your game and thats it.

Most people around my town still play by this method, they dont really know or care about the digital aspect. There is still too many people like this who you cant afford to exclude.
Im mixed, i love the tradition of going to the store on a games release day and getting the game and rushing home, the feel of a new box and popping in the disc. But i also download a fair share of PSN games and i use Steam on my gaming PC.

Tradition aside, there is still the matter of a good internet connection required and i know that here in Ireland the standard, and this is just recently, is 8mb with the cities like dublin, cork etc... having much higher speeds. 8mb gets me by fine but there is still too many people with lower or no connections at all that love gaming. These are guys who just buy a console to play games, not a media hub or a social thingofamajig, purely gaming.

So yeah, long story short, digital only is a few years off yet.

Bladesfist3040d ago

Steam is pressured by retailers quite a bit here in the UK with brick and mortars like GAME refusing to stock the console version of a game if it goes on steam. A load of THQ games were not listed because of this blatant retail abuse.

Raf1k13039d ago

UK game retailers have no one but themselves for their bad performance and they're just looking for anything to keep themselves afloat.

I really didn't like GAME crying about Steam and think they need to step their game up if they expect to be around for the long term.

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