Archive for April, 2005
In-Stat has a new report about IBM and Sony’s Cell processor. Cell is targeted for broadband media and graphics for the next generation of applications, like in the PlayStation 3. Kevin Krewell, an analyst for In-Stat, says “Some have called Cell an Intel killer, which is completely ridiculous.” He goes on to say that the only competition the Cell will give Intel is in PS3 vs Media Center PC space.
Which, well, kinda makes sense. The Cell is targeted to different audience than a Pentium is. It’s not like Sony will sell general purpose Cell-based computers. And it’s not like the Pentium is going into any next-generation consoles. IBM has that space sewn up (all three platforms will use IBM processors). While it has been reported that IBM and Sony may sell Cell-based workstations, I doubt that it’ll happen. Even if it does, it’ll be a highly specialized machine – for creating PS3 video games perhaps.
The fact remains that the Cell is a mighty powerful processor. And it’s going into the PS3. And the PS3 will be High-Def. That’s all I care about.
Toshiba has shown a film that shows the Cell processor simultaneously decoding 48 MPEG2 streams at the same time. I didn’t know that the cell processor was in production, even in samples, and this article doesn’t mention if this was a simulation or the real thing. But it heavily suggests the latter. If this is indeed the case, this is quite an accomplishment. Has Sony said how many of these processors will be in the PS3? Hmm….
The above article also links to another article – an interview with Sony’s Ken Kutaragi about the cell processor.
Evan Wilson, an analyst with Pacific Crest Securities, estimates that the cost of developing a next-generation console game will quadruple because of the new devices’ HD support and other advanced capabilities. I used to work at a video game company (albeit, PC games) and I just don’t see this.
I worked closely with artists on a published video game once and I think that HD support, at least, will be relatively painless to add. The artists spent a lot of time reducing polygon counts and making images consume less memory and have less resolution. They would first paint the graphic in high resolution and then downrez it. Much of that work can be avoided in an HD game. The time savings, I would hazard to guess, might even turn out even. As to other aspects of the new consoles, well, I can’t speak to those with as much authority. But we already have background music, online capabilities, and surround sound. Those things are just being amplified in the new systems. I find it hard to believe all this will cost four times as much.
In case you haven’t seen these images (and, like, WOW, if you haven’t) I just have to post these supposed images of the Xbox 360. Everyone’s saying they’re authentic, blah blah blah. Who knows. But in case they are, you saw them here first, or second, or maybe eleventh?
1up.com has an article that summarizes what is known and conjectured about the next generation gaming consoles from Sony, Microsoft, and Nintendo.