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View Full Version : The PlayStation 3 could conquer the home-entertainment and computing markets...


Overlord
07-23-2002, 09:37 PM
Sony's vision for home entertainment may not look much different from the aspirations of other consumer-electronics companies. Like Sony, these companies hope to build a machine for the living room, capable of computing, communications, and entertainment functions. But Sony hopes to differentiate its machine--in this case, the PlayStation 3--by equipping it with a chip of unprecedented computing power, one that would make it as much as 1,000 times more powerful than the PlayStation 2.

The soul of Sony's new machine is a cell-computing chip. These chips enable a distributed style of computing (known as cell computing) that performs computing tasks in much the same way a cell phone network routes calls from base station to base station. Due for release in 2005, the PlayStation 3 will thus be able to use its broadband Internet connection to reach across the Internet and draw additional computing power from idle processors. And if still more horsepower is needed, the PlayStation 3 can use a home network to enlist support from other available machines to tackle big computing jobs. Pieces of a computing task--for example, creating realistic 3D graphics that simulate entire worlds--will be distributed among available processors to harness their combined power.

Buoyed by so much processing power, consumers will be able to interact with these worlds without worrying about hackers, viruses, or lost connections. Instead of using a mouse or game controller, players might wave their hands in front of a Web cam, showing what they want to do through gestures. They might play games without ever putting a disc into the console machine, downloading games from the Internet instead. They could tap into vast networks of movies and music, or they could record shows on the PlayStation 3 hard drive, which, by 2005, might hold 12,800 hours of music or 2,000 hours of video. And, starting with buying games from Sony, consumers will also be able to use the PlayStation 3 to engage in all sorts of e-commerce, through either a Sony ISP or a potential ally like AOL Time Warner.

Sony's plan to build a box that could be the nexus of home entertainment was revealed in a speech by Shinichi Okamoto, senior vice president of research and development at Sony's game division, at the Game Developers Conference in March. Mr. Okamoto said that Sony's next box will make good on the unfulfilled promise of the PlayStation 2--that the PlayStation 3 will be a broadband-enabled computing machine. As such, it will compete not only with game consoles from Nintendo and Microsoft, but also with PCs from the likes of Dell Computer and Hewlett-Packard, and with TV set-top boxes from Motorola and Philips.

It's a grand vision, and it won't be easy to pull off. "The notion of a game box becoming a universal 'everything box' is architecturally very difficult," says Mike Ramsay, CEO of the digital video recorder pioneer TiVo. "The demands for processing that gamers have are too high. They can't be interrupted by an email message or have a game slow down while they're recording a TV show."

Faced with such a challenge, Sony is not going it alone. The consumer-electronics giant has formed an unlikely alliance to design the needed cell-computing chip and to perfect its manufacturing process. The company's game division, Sony Computer Entertainment, headed by PlayStation business creator Ken Kutaragi, is partnering with IBM and Toshiba to develop the PlayStation 3's cell-computing chip.

Technical concerns aside, Sony faces other obstacles. The company's plan contains no mention of how it will handle Microsoft's software applications, which are widely used for home computing. Also, neither broadband subscriptions nor the cell-computing chips are likely to become ubiquitous in just a few years--and ubiquity of these two things is critical to making this vision a reality. Still, the network effect applies here: more processors acting together equals more computing power. Sony is sending out the message: "Match what we're doing by 2005, or we're going to race ahead of you," says Richard Doherty, an analyst at the Envisioneering Group, a market research firm. "The PlayStation 3 is clearly going to be a replacement for your PC."

HOME INVASION

The battle lines are already forming, and it may well become a war of competing chips. For instance, by partnering with IBM and Toshiba, Sony suddenly finds itself competing with Intel. Craig Barrett, CEO of Intel, notes that his company has so much capital (more than $11 billion in cash) that, even with a $5.5 billion capital-spending budget, it doesn't need partners to make chips for its ally, Microsoft. "Joint ventures never work," he grouses, referring to the alliances of rival chip makers. "It's like tying three legs together to try to win a race."

Microsoft, Sony's main competition in this field, has placed two bets. It continues to work with Intel on its eHome project, which will enable a PC to communicate wirelessly with the TV or stereo. It has also allied with chip makers Intel, Nvidia, and Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company in the manufacture of chips for the Xbox, Microsoft's game console that sports a hard drive and a broadband Internet connection. Either the PC or the Xbox, a new version of which will be ready when Sony launches the PlayStation 3, will provide the hardware for Microsoft's MSN subscribers to receive all sorts of broadband services over the Web and to engage in e-commerce.

Chip startups are forming to arm the existing camps or to create their own skirmish lines. Other consumer-electronics companies, from TiVo to Scientific-Atlanta, will tap makers of custom chips like Broadcom and TerraLogic, or makers of media-processor chips like Equator Technologies, LSI Logic, and TriMedia Technologies, to make sure that their machines hold their own.

Sony's vision for the future is plausible and frightening to its rivals. Mr. Okamoto says the "third-generation platform," a temporary moniker for the PlayStation 3, will have 1,000 times the processing power of the PlayStation 2. That may be bluster; Sony's PlayStation 2 didn't quite have the horsepower that Sony originally claimed it would. But in 2000, Sony managed to deliver a PlayStation 2 that was several hundred times faster in some respects than the original 1993 PlayStation.

The performance the PlayStation 3 promises to deliver is far beyond the progress almost guaranteed by the chip- manufacturing advances codified by Moore's law. "If Sony gets 12 to 36 months ahead of other companies on Moore's law, it could be very threatening" to chip makers, Mr. Doherty says.

Yet as much as anyone tries to race ahead of Moore's law, few succeed in pulling that far ahead of other major chip makers, says Peter Glaskowsky, an analyst at In-Stat/MDR, a market research firm. Faced by a rival's advance, the best chip companies, like AMD and Intel, hold nothing back to improve their products. Sony, primarily a consumer-electronics company, will do well not to enter such a contest.

SILICON VOLLEY

Still, Sony is doing a couple of things to hit this 1,000-fold processing-power improvement and pack the advances of 20 years of Moore's law into just 5. The architecture of the cell-computing chip, which promises huge performance improvements, is one piece. To this end, the company is trying to develop a second partnership with IBM and Toshiba, this one to devise a custom manufacturing process for its PlayStation 3 chips. In East Fishkill, New York, hundreds of IBM, Sony, and Toshiba engineers are working to tailor IBM's silicon-on-insulator process to the new chip design. This process for making chips allows transistors, the basic building blocks of circuitry, to be packed extremely densely. Mr. Glaskowsky says this type of process is going to be required in the next few years because it's the only way to pack 500 million or more transistors onto the chip. (The PlayStation 2's Emotion Engine microprocessor has 13 million transistors.)

"This means that Sony will be able to design its chips to take advantage of a manufacturing process that doesn't yet exist," says Bijan Davari, vice president for technology and emerging products at IBM. "By combining improvements in chip architecture, software, circuit design, and manufacturing, this is how we move toward a thousand times current performance."

Sony's opening gambit in the next-generation chess game will have repercussions, effectively accelerating the plans of rivals to launch competing game consoles. This has happened before. In 1999, when Sony announced the huge performance leap of the PlayStation 2, Microsoft reacted by conceiving the Xbox. Rick Thompson, a vice president who would later manage Microsoft's Xbox project, told Bill Gates at a strategic retreat that an alliance between Sony, AOL Time Warner, and AT&T could create a game console that would be able to surf the Web and be given away for free at the local supermarket. Part of that alliance has been formed. Sony and AOL Time Warner have partnered to provide Internet connectivity and instant-messaging capability for the PlayStation 2--an alliance that might extend to the PlayStation 3.

When it developed the PlayStation 2, Sony allied itself with Toshiba to design and manufacture its chips. But it also spent $1.2 billion to build its own chip factory in Japan to manufacture the PlayStation 2's microprocessor and graphics chip. The strategy backfired when hiccups at the plant forced Sony to cut back on the number of machines it had planned for its launch. Microsoft, seeking to catch up quickly with the Xbox, used off-the-shelf PC microprocessors from Intel and a slightly customized graphics chip from Nvidia, which uses TSMC to make its chips.

...-Whole Article. (http://redherring.com/insider/2002/0719/playstation071902.html)

Your Thoughts?

Black Ace
07-23-2002, 11:11 PM
I wonder if it does dirty dishes too.

chachiangel
07-24-2002, 12:17 AM
(chachi's brain contemplates the possibilities of a console that makes everything but his tv obsolete.)

(his brain shuts down from working too hard.)

(he begins to drool)

wow! how much?
nevemind, i'll take two!

hgblob
07-24-2002, 04:08 AM
It certainly sounds impressive, and if Sony can really pull it off, then more power to them.

But as long as the PS3's going to have the games I want to play, I don't care what they put in to make it go :)

Kid0_oIcarus
07-24-2002, 12:58 PM
Bah, I don't believe it. Not by 2005.

Unless of course- they want the console to be priced at $499 or something.

Come on' now! Moving you hands in front of your web cam for control? Harnessing the power of additional processors through a network or broadband connection!? What is that!?

aneep
07-24-2002, 02:06 PM
agree with kid icarus on this one

not by 2005

though i bet by the time PS3 is unveiled, we won't be seeing any of this wild vision of his (Ken Kutaragi)

IMO PS3 will take the traditional console approach
of course it will be faster, better, and more powerful than current console, but it will essentially do the same thing, evolutionary rather than revolutionary

-aneep-

Artfully Xtreme
07-24-2002, 02:45 PM
hey, I am new.... :)
anywayz- am I the only one that see that console gaming wont be the same? It just doesn't feel right.... Whose with me? :confused: :sing:

Kid0_oIcarus
07-24-2002, 03:17 PM
Hey! I agree -it should be more like PC gaming! :D

/me ducks barrage of rotten veggies that is sure to follow

:crazy:

What do you mean feel right? It doesn't feel right, now or won't be the same with all those changes Sony envisions?

SCEI_worker
07-29-2002, 08:15 AM
PS3 would may be show to the general public as early as 2004, but the target release date is 2005-2006 for Playstation 3.

The "cell" cpu is also base on MIPS but at 256-bit with a clock rate of at least 5 GHz(target clock rate) to meet the developers demand for more computing power. please keep in mind that cell is best used with grid processing, but it does not require it to produce life-like games.


Keep enjoying our Playstation 2

Kid0_oIcarus
07-29-2002, 09:42 AM
Hey working man, what consoles do you own? :D

My grief is with the whole all-in-one solutions everyone, except Nintendo, seems to be steering towards. I'd rather buy a high-quality, latest and greatest DVD playe- than shell out extra cash for one already included in my PS3, which I don't plan on using anyway!

SCEI_worker
07-29-2002, 11:22 AM
Originally posted by Kid0_oIcarus
Hey working man, what consoles do you own? :D



PSone,Playstation 2, PocketStation

Black Ace
07-29-2002, 11:33 AM
Originally posted by SCEI_worker


PSone,Playstation 2, PocketStation

Do you actually work for Sony Computer Entertainment?

SCEI_worker
07-29-2002, 10:30 PM
Originally posted by Bill


Do you actually work for Sony Computer Entertainment?

Yes, but under strick NDA. i really cant discuss any projects they are doing. I can only reflect on the accurate article that was posted here.

Black Sugar
07-30-2002, 01:14 AM
I personally believe that this is going out of hands here.

I'm not agaisnt the evolution. But it's feel like we're not talking about videogame anymore.

If I want to wacht a DVD movie, I'll go buy a DVD player. If I want to surf the net, I'll go buy a computer.

If I want to play a game, i'll buy a game console.

Get picture?


Good!

WickedBoy
07-30-2002, 09:08 AM
Originally posted by SCEI_worker


Lastly, we are also working on a totally new "mobile gaming device" to complement the PS3, with a trademark "PS2". I can not mention specific details of this device now.



Can this "PS2" be something like the GBA for the GC? If Sony has the technology to create a system 1000 times more powerfull than the playstation 2, they can surely create a device like this; but hey this are all just rumors, with all your respect working man, u can be my 18yo nerd cousin making us look like fools :P.
I guess we just have to wait and see...

aneep
07-30-2002, 02:22 PM
actually Sony can outdo GBA technically, hell Nintendo can too, they just don't want too

why? cost, and battery life consideration (Nintendo is profiteering more on GBA hw than GC hw, they lose a bit of money of GC hw even)

to combat GBA, Sony must have at least compatibility with PSX disc with its portable gaming system

and disc based system eats battery life like crazy compared to cartridge based

-aneep-

b0b
07-30-2002, 03:47 PM
1000x more powerful and all dependant on distributed computing..... ya right good luck, every time some one turns there system off how many cpu cycles did the network just lose, oh not to mention this would require everyone with a PS3 to have a broadband connection.... ya.... this'll work.... hahahha.

WINDJAMMERS
07-30-2002, 04:06 PM
I have several doubts:

1.Not a lot of broadband user compared to 56k. The number is going up, but not enough to base a system off by 2005.

2.Buying games through the system will never work. The average gamer doesn't have a credit card to make the purchase. It would be easy for a talented hacker to copy games store on in the RAM or on the hard drive.

3.How the webcamera thing will work is a complete mystery to me. Does it sit on the console? Do you need four for multiplayer?
How will it differentiate your hands from another persons or a moving object? WILL THERE BE A KEYBOARD OR WILL YOU NEED TO USE SIGN LANGUAGE!?!

SCEI worker enlighten me........

SCEI_worker
07-30-2002, 11:53 PM
OK. I'll make this short. cell is 1000 times the power of the Playstation 2. It is not dependent on grid computing. grid computing would serve to extend "cell" horizon. Even with a 56K modem, cell would give superior performance over the standard 56K pc base online games. We have thought of everything and they are being addressed.

As for the "PS2":
no comment

Some consumers are in fear of having PS3 as their set top box that does everything. We have considered it, and resolve this issue already:) I cant mention specific details. sorry

Just enjoy your Playstation 2

CodeNameRaiden
07-31-2002, 02:01 AM
I think Sony is getting carried away. I want a videogame machine. Not a all in one wonder machine. They need to look at what Nintendo did with the GameCube and make the PS3 developer friendly. I don't think I can afford PS3.

Kid0_oIcarus
07-31-2002, 09:31 AM
Yeah, right? How much is this going to cost? Will I have to finance my home for it?

SCEI_worker
07-31-2002, 11:04 PM
PS3 release price would be 299 USD. That wont change.

The concern of having PS3 as a set top box for all purpose has been taken care of. Though the article does not mention how that would be resolve. So its not a issue anymore. Please do not worry about it. We know what we are doing.

CodeNameRaiden
08-01-2002, 12:01 AM
HAHAHAHA!

Damn this guy must be smoking crack!

Necro ??
08-01-2002, 01:31 AM
you gota remember this is still the starting stages.Later on they could remove stuff or add stuff. Plus this is sony they could find a way to make cheap parts so it wont be over loaded and they lose profit like Microsoft.

Kid0_oIcarus
08-01-2002, 09:16 AM
I'm pretty sure they're still g0ing to lose money on this baby, even if they just use h4lf the components.

0f course, th3y could just use cheap techn0logy and not lose money on it- but then wh0 would want to p4y more for outdat3d hardware??

SCEI_worker
08-12-2002, 04:03 PM
Originally posted by Kid0_oIcarus
I'm pretty sure they're still g0ing to lose money on this baby, even if they just use h4lf the components.

0f course, th3y could just use cheap techn0logy and not lose money on it- but then wh0 would want to p4y more for outdat3d hardware??

you do not need to worry about this issue. We are considering releaseing 2 version of the Playstation 3.

dog$
08-12-2002, 04:08 PM
You should consider your credibility first; since when is the Pocket Station a console, pray tell?

Fixing your spelling and grammar errors would help, too.

SCEI_worker
08-12-2002, 04:56 PM
Originally posted by dog$
You should consider your credibility first; since when is the Pocket Station a console, pray tell?



where is it stated that i said, Pocket Station is a "console"? Also, english is not my main language excuse for the error.

DBJAY
08-12-2002, 05:15 PM
Please, this is all smoke and mirrors, just like the pre-hype of the PS2. Can anyone really tell if the Emotion Engine has ever given a developer the opportunity to express "emotion" in a game? Nope, and none even mentioned for release. In the end, after the hype, the EE merely was a more powerful processor. And it was eclipsed by the PC market in less than a year.

Now, we have the "cell" technology. Anyone with a brain would see that this will never fly.

Reason 1: Not every game player in America (or Asia, Euro, etc.) for the PS3 will have a broadband connection. Sony is not dumb enough to release a console, or any device, that is limited in it's potential user base.

Reason 2: The game consumer will not want to invest in creating a LAN in thier own home. The key of the cell concept is to share the duties of the among various devices. A cell console will need to have something to work with, say a cell equipped tv. Try telling a new PS3 customer that they also need to upgrade thier tv at the same time (even if they have an HDTV!) or better yet, need to have a cell equipped PC at a cost over 1000+.

Reason 3: Software. No game designer on earth will be able to figure out how to program a game that can run on multiple configurations of the cell network. Do they design for the consumer that is jacked into a broadband network? Do they design for the fellow with 3 cell devices in his home, or for the guy with 2, or for the kids who only have the cell processors in the PS3?

Kid0_oIcarus
08-12-2002, 05:26 PM
I disagree with your third reason, as this is what happens now in the PC scene.

DBJAY
08-12-2002, 07:12 PM
Well, the logic behind reason three is this: PC game makers have a known range to work with, they have the highest end cards and set a base of minimum requirements. There are differences in the power of the cards, but they don't create games that can be played well, or if at all, on every system.

That is the problem with cell. The bare requirements will be the PS3 with it's one cell. The catch is, what is the high end? 100 cells working together? 12? How many consumers will have a 100 cell network? How many will only have 2?

With cell, the way it currently is proposed, the difference between one cell operating by itself, and the difference between dozens/hundreds of cells operating over a network (sharing data, rendering the entire game on the fly) is huge.

So is a game designer supposed to program a huge massive worlds with incredibly complex geometery (physic routines, a.i., lighting) that works best on a 100 cell network, but then at the same time needs to also be simple enough to have a single cell processor in the PS3 handle all the game information?

Unlikely to say the least.

Havoc2049
08-13-2002, 02:46 AM
"Buoyed by so much processing power, consumers will be able to interact with these worlds without worrying about hackers, viruses, or lost connections. Instead of using a mouse or game controller, players might wave their hands in front of a Web cam, showing what they want to do through gestures. They might play games without ever putting a disc into the console machine, downloading games from the Internet instead. They could tap into vast networks of movies and music, or they could record shows on the PlayStation 3 hard drive, which, by 2005, might hold 12,800 hours of music or 2,000 hours of video. And, starting with buying games from Sony, consumers will also be able to use the PlayStation 3 to engage in all sorts of e-commerce, through either a Sony ISP or a potential ally like AOL Time Warner."

LOL...lol...this sounds like so much BS...it is killing me. Hackers and viruses beware, the PS3 has your days numbered...:D
Playing games with gestures...ya, okay. I have a gesture for all this BS..<the bird>. I'm still waiting for Sony's Magic Stick/Memory Stick revolution to take off.:D Where I download music onto the memory stick for play on my MP3 player, car stereo and home entertainment system. Where I can download movies onto my magic stick for play on my TV, DVD player, computer, PDA and portable DVD player in the SUV. I guess now, "The Cell" will do all this and more.

dog$
08-13-2002, 03:15 AM
Originally posted by SCEI_worker; 08-12-2002,5:56pm
where is it stated that i said, Pocket Station is a "console"


Originally posted by Kid0_oIcarus
Hey working man, what consoles do you own?

PSone,Playstation 2,PocketStation


Last edited by SCEI_worker on 07-29-2002 at 12:27 PM


You said it yourself, in this same thread, 14 days earlier.

Seska
08-13-2002, 05:32 AM
Originally posted by SCEI_worker
Even with a 56K modem, cell would give superior performance over the standard 56K pc base online games. We have thought of everything and they are being addressed.


WOW!!!!1!!!1 OMG!!! OMFG!!!!!!!1!!!!

PS3 is gonna be so L337 THAT EVEN AT 56K ITS GONNA MAKE THE NET MOVE FASTER!!!!1!11!!!1!1!!!

:p

Forgive me if I find that a little hard to swallow, unless you are talking of hooking 10 ps3 consoles up together and using the combined bandwidth over 10 indipendent lines.

Thats just PR hogswash and clearly not feasible to your average user.

Alucard
08-13-2002, 05:32 AM
Icarus, it isn't exactly how it happens in the PC scene. PC has a CAP. If a geforce 4 can only do 26mill something a sec, then thats the limit of the card. You can't add 2 Geforce 4's together and double it, like this SUPPOSED theory of PS3. Not going to happen. This is a console. Not a supercomputer.

Pantymon
08-13-2002, 06:00 AM
Pantymon hears that Praystation free will have whole of internet inside of it. It comes from space. Space has a terrible power.

Kid0_oIcarus
08-13-2002, 11:45 AM
Putting it in that light, it does make things sound more complicated than I think they should be.

I mean, why wouldn't the developers target just one cell "system"- namely the PS3... just like they're doing now with the PS2?.. Perhaps then, they could add "extras" or "bonuses" in case you also happen have another Cell-powered system just lying around the house.

Maybe if you have two or more "Cell Inside" products, your games would load faster or you could turn up the image quality or hear enviromental sounds or special effects without slowdowns or something.. it shouldn't enforce limits, but rather should open up possibilities... "You can't run this game unless you have two-or more Cells," would be the wrong way to go about it, I would think.

Really to me all I see as benefits to having Cell is that perhaps if you have two or more Cell-powered devices, such as a PS3 and perhaps a microwave.. your games will load faster and maybe look better and your meals will heat up and maybe taster better better... due to the harnessed power and combined efficiency of the Cell chips, of course. :rolleyes:

Alucard
08-13-2002, 12:17 PM
Lets say in this altered future there are games that require 2 or more PS3's to run with full effects. Will the majority of the consumers actually go out and fork out an extra 300 bucks just to add a few spiffy features? I doubt it. Will developers spend extra time and money implementing features that only a vast minority will be able to use? I doubt it..

And for those who say you will, I'm sure majority of you are also the lot who say PCS ARE TOO EXPENSIVE TO UPGRADE I SHALL STICK WITH MY S3VIRGE 2MB VIDEO CARD CAUSE CONSOLES ARE THE WAY FOR ME!!! For some reason I see these types would happily 'upgrade' their console then their PCs.

That last part is just my rant at alot of console users I've come into contact with who think its not worth upgrading PCs. Like it isn't half obvious. RANT!

Kid0_oIcarus
08-13-2002, 02:25 PM
Obviously in the beginning, like with most new technology- the manufacturer will be the one doing all the pushing for it to become a standard. Take Nintendo's GBA-GC cable connection... the same will be true with this Cell "extra" power... Sony and whoever they pay to will be the only ones making use of it at first- it's up to them and the sales they generate to see if this thing is truly commercially viable.

Like I said, I should think the games would run and look just fine without the "extra" kick additional "Cells" will supposedly generate- otherwise how will they sell the PS3? Throw in a free "Cell" powered HDTV set? :D

I too am a member of the "PC Upg4d3 4Eva'" clan.. and also part of the "Ov3rcloc|<ers"

Seska
08-14-2002, 03:45 PM
I am 100% certain that technically it works, that youll be able to hook up your PS3 to your TV and to your microwave oven and to your toater and to your Alarmclock radio and your Cell-pwered lawnmover, and your Philishave with 2 Cell data cores in it, all sitting nicely in front of your HDTV, cluttering so much space up that you have roughly 2 square cm of room to get comfy in. Just to get an extra 20 FPS on MGS4.

Yep.

This is the bright future of Cell.

:p

Kid0_oIcarus
08-15-2002, 11:26 AM
Now you guys are just being silly.

Bah, this thing is a long ways off anyway - a lot can change between now and then.