Should Sony have waited with PS4 Pro?

Discussion in 'Console Industry' started by ProspectorPete, Apr 6, 2017.

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  1. DSoup

    DSoup meh
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    Not incomparable because there is Sony's non-VM
    solution which is causing no problems. This used to be Microsoft's solution on 360 and is Microsoft's solution for Windows. Not deprecating APIs caused many of Windows' legacy problems not the desire to maintain compatibility. There is a happy middle ground.
     
  2. Shifty Geezer

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    For present machines, but clearly causes problems for BC in future hardware that isn't abstracted via VM. We also don't know what the maintenance costs are with a monolithic OS and having to test changes against games, but they are certainly higher than MS's VM solution where they don't need to test older software that runs on an older VM. Sony changes affect software on the disc placed in the machine; MS changes don't.
     
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  3. mrcorbo

    mrcorbo Foo Fighter
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    How do you know he doesn't mean 1024x768? ;)
     
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  4. mrcorbo

    mrcorbo Foo Fighter
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    TBH, I wasn't even thinking about the OS. Of course, that has stupid legacy bits too, but I was thinking more along the lines of modern PC hardware having the equivalent of vestigial organs.
     
  5. DSoup

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    How does it "clearly" cause problems when differing evolving, and sometimes radically changing hardware has been the norm for 40 years of computing and compatibility has been managed very effectively through APIs and hardware drivers? It's not necessary just because Microsoft chose to do this. They no doubt had reasons for their choice on Xbox one, but to say this is a clear problem is to ignore the myriad alternative methods have worked well for other products, including Microsoft Windows. Adopting a VMs approach to encapsulates a machine/OS environment for an app (or rather a game) is a trade off and presents as many challenges as it solves problems.
     
  6. GrimThorne

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    I didn't think they needed the Pro given the substantial lead, the 1st party advantages and the continued strong support of the gaming community. And it wasn't something that the Playstation install base was asking for at all.

    Given how it arrived with such little pomp and circumstance and the insistence that it wasn't needed for PSVR, I've begun to wonder how high of a priority it's market presence may be to Sony. No Ultra Blu-Ray or several other hardware progressions not even considered for it. But again because of their position, they didn't have to push the Pro with the same kind of aggression that we're seeing from MS.
     
  7. Shifty Geezer

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    Because it hasn't. All that maintenance investment in making tweaks and hacks and updates to accommodate differing hardware, and we still end up with broken BC, dodgy driver updates breaking software, and new apps not running on older machines because supporting them is no longer tenable. VMs solve all that, certainly when written for a fixed hardware where you don't have to worry about hardware variances affecting the VM.
     
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  8. one

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    FYI, these are some PS4 Pro related patents such as checkerboard rendering, ID buffer and backward compatibility.

    Gradient adjustment for texture mapping to non-orthonormal grid
    https://patents.google.com/patent/US9495790B2/en
    Priority date 2014-04-05 Filing date 2014-04-05 Publication date 2016-11-15 Grant date 2016-11-15

    Method for efficient construction of high resolution display buffers
    https://patents.google.com/patent/US20150287231A1/en
    Priority date 2014-04-05 Filing date 2014-04-05 Publication date 2015-10-08

    Graphics processing enhancement by tracking object and/or primitive identifiers
    https://patents.google.com/patent/US20150287239A1/en
    Priority date 2014-04-05 Filing date 2014-04-05 Publication date 2015-10-08

    Backward compatibility through use of spoof clock and fine grain frequency control
    https://patents.google.com/patent/US20160246323A1/en
    Priority date 2015-02-20 Filing date 2015-02-20 Publication date 2016-08-25

    Backward compatibility by algorithm matching, disabling features, or throttling performance
    https://patents.google.com/patent/US20170031732A1/en
    Priority date 2015-07-27 Filing date 2015-07-27 Publication date 2017-02-02

    Backward compatibility by restriction of hardware resources
    https://patents.google.com/patent/US20170031834A1/en
    Priority date 2015-07-27 Filing date 2015-07-27 Publication date 2017-02-02
     
  9. 3dilettante

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    If it's future hardware, it seems like Sony could opt to put the non-abstracted legacy applications into a VM or perhaps a para-virtualized version of the old firmware.
    At least in theory virtualization wouldn't be virtualization if the applications within needed to know about being virtualized in the first place.

    Sony does evidence a strong hardware preference for its compatibility measures, perhaps in part due to its history of non-standard hardware.
    There are certain things it is paranoid about that a VM traditionally wouldn't handle well, such as an ISA or feature discontinuity in the base hardware for timing-sensitive code.
    It's why I think the PS4 Pro's hardware is extended, but with certain elements fixed in-place to maintain the ability to run existing binaries trivially. The GCN3-4 ISA is not compatible in certain significant aspects, so certain features may simply be the same as the PS4.

    Microsoft's virtualized system does significantly help with maintainability and flexibility within a hardware version, but the Scorpio announcement hints at a more intensive backwards compatibility effort for running Xbox One applications, where Microsoft takes on the responsibility for managing bugs. This does have the upside of allowing Microsoft to offer greater enhancements, but getting it to work would be a cost Microsoft itself takes on.

    I'm not sure, but I thought the Xbox One could have pre-compiled GPU code. It's a step beyond just having a VM if something is intercepting incompatible binaries and replacing them.

    Within an architecture line, instructions could be trapped and emulated, but that can be an expensive proposition in software. Even Scorpio didn't leave Jaguar, citing compatibility reasons.
    A GPU is less amenable to trap and emulate than a CPU is, so I am curious if that means Scorpio is doing some additional software work or has made certain decisions about the hardware similar to Sony.
     
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  10. MrFox

    MrFox Deludedly Fantastic
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    Oh! I think I figured it out. When he's saying 1K, he means Filthy Peasants, and when he says 4K he means the Glorious Master Race.

    Let's see the translation:
     
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  11. DSoup

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    Microsoft have knowingly chosen, out of necessity, to break some really old compatibility in recent version of Windows. The remainder is on drivers which is on Nvidia (and having owned Nvidia cards since the Riva 128) which have progressively gotten worse over time. But that's on Nvidia and not on Microsoft. But you're mistaken if you think VMs solve all problems. VMs offer a further layer of abstraction to to allows software to run in a familiar environment that it may not expect. It's not magic pixie dust that solves hardware architecture incompatibilities. Somebody has to address the incompatibility. Whether you do it via a VM or in some other layer, it doesn't matter, it remains a problem to be solved.
     
  12. mpg1

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    I'm not sure if it was early but if the goal was to stem console owners switching to PC mid-gen then what's to say they wont switch to Scorpio?..
     
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  13. Jubei

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    Well if they are invested in an ecosystem with hundreds of dollars worth of digital games then switching and starting over from scratch wont be an easy decision. If there is a large group of consumers that regularly look to play the best version of third party games then its also consumers that Sony will win back once the PS5 launches. Because ultimately the power game will keep going back and forth since the companies are on different roadmaps
     
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  14. mpg1

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    Right but I personally don't believe we are seeing a PS5 for a while...
     
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  15. Jubei

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    Well we arent seeing it for a while because the next jump in process node and big improvements to memory and CPU at a reasonable price are still a couple of years away. But what would Sony have gained by waiting with the Pro? We can see from Scorpio that its not using cutting edge specs, same cpu, same GPU uarch and the RAM could have been done last year aswell

    If we speculate that PS4 can launch in late 2019 then waiting until 2017 would create more problems than fix because it shortens the Pro life for a moderate difference in performance
     
  16. DSoup

    DSoup meh
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    After the prolonged 7th generation I think Sony will click back into six year release cycles (1994, 2000, 2006, 2013, 2019) making Pro the exact mid-gem console they said it was. If they know PS5 isn't coming until later then it would have benefited them to let Pro bake a little longer and release later. But a later release doesn't make sense if they're on a six years cycle after PS4's introduction in 2013.
     
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  17. Cyan

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    sounds reasonable, but if they favour Slim it is also because Sony are seeing that they aren't happy with the VR content out there. not enough. Pro is meant for VR.
     
  18. bunge

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    Because the Scorpio isn't much better and people are speculating that it will cost more?
     
  19. mpg1

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    If it's a case of stemming console owners switching to PC for playing the lastest multiplats..then I would think Scorpio is going absorb more of them than Pro simply because it is the more powerful console.
     
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  20. manux

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    No, sony should not have waited. If you do only reactionary business you will go here and there and be lost without direction.

    Imo. sony is well setup for their own purposes, ps4 and ps4k. Reasonable bom on both products and nice segmenting of market. Sony also is very well positioned to sell a lot(lower price) and make a good proposition for upgrading when ps5 comes.

    Microsoft is doing what they must. If they want to gain market share they have to try something new but that also means scorpio muddles the water between generations and pricing. scorpio might make generational transition for microsoft much more difficult as the performance and cost doesn't scale the same way it used to. Scorpio might end up being surprisingly close to "next generation" in paper specs. Yet scorpio isn't so far ahead of ps4 pro that I would expect scorpio to turn the tide for microsoft. Of course I might be wrong and microsoft is willing to buy market share by subsidizing price but that is not a great business plan if your intention is to make money. Especially when there is no quick fix to bring bom down as manufacturing technology improves so slowly and new nodes keep getting more expensive per transistor.
     
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