Is the Playstation 4 hardware out of date less than 12 months after launch? Well – if you’re comparing it to a PC, then the answer is of course yes. But squeezing the most out of fixed hardware is something both game developers and those who’re responsible for the creation of the hardware are very good at by now.
Cort Stratton, part of the ICE Team, whose primary responsibilities have them pushing graphic API and graphic library updates to the Playstation 4 was question via twitter if he believed the PS4’s hardware was indeed ‘old’. “Squeezing 5-10 years of performance improvements out of a fixed hardware platform is what console programmers do best!,” Stratton reminded his audience
Stratton has a great deal of experience in hardware, helping out on titles such as The Last of Us, which despite being remastered on the Playstation 4 with higher resolution, frame rate and so on was a technical marvel on the PS3,“The HW is no longer top-of-the-line, sure. That’s how consoles have always worked & has very little to do with game quality.” Stratton said via another Tweet “For example: the PS3 is ~2005-era hardware, roughly. Compare TLOU (2013) to AAA PC games from 2005,” he furthe
The bottom line here is that neither the Sony’s or Microsoft’s machines were top of the line hardware when compared to a high (or even medium) spec PC on their release, Optimization and programmer skill is what will help push games development.
While improvements in the machines SDK’s, API’s and so on will certainly help ultimately it will come down to a programmer and designer being familiar with the hardware. Once they’re better antiquated with the technical shortcomings of the system, and their strengths we’ll see large improvements in the games coding. A great example of this is when Naughty Dog at SINFO discussed issues with moving data between the two CPU clusters caches of the PS4.