What is the possibility of PS3 specs changing over time?

Discussion in 'Console Technology' started by Bohdy, Apr 19, 2006.

  1. Bohdy

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    Is there any chance that Sony would change the specifications of the PS3 over time? I mean, have all 8 SPE's functional or add another Cell to the BE, or even a more powerful RSX in later revisions?

    Presumably some previously released games (that use SPE's in an abstract way) would run better, while future games could take advantage of the upgrade explicitly. Would legacy games break due to the new configuration?

    I ask because for the different focus of the PS3 from just a console to a home multimedia hub, ala PC (with independant sub-components). Is the PC-style upgrading out of the question?
     
  2. superguy

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    Yes.

    Do you want your $499 PS3 to be obsolete later on?

    Same reason Microsoft is not gonna ship games on HD-DVD for 360, ever.
     
  3. Bad_Boy

    Bad_Boy god of war.
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    I think as hardware becomes finalized and launch becomes closer, chances become slimmer.
    If they do change something i think it would only be to the console "shell" or controller, or by whatever chance change something minimal to the final dev kits.

    Software wise, if they go by the PSP firmware ways, which i hope they do, they could change and add things anytime they want even after launch, which is pretty cool. (waking up one day and finding a new downloadable feature on your console is always nice)
     
  4. superguy

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    The upgradeable console model though, I have thought about it, and I find the possibilities very intriguing. I think it is the ONLY way a medium sized company could ever hope to break into the console market today.

    But none of the major players will attempt this anytime soon. It would have to be a player with nothing to lose, a medium sized company outside the industry, and I have no idea how it might work out in the end. Whether it could succeed or not.
     
  5. Shifty Geezer

    Shifty Geezer uber-Troll!
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    Upgradeable consoles are a rubbish idea, as games will always be developed for the minimum spec. If it did happen and later games wanted a better spec console to run, you'd have the hideous PC model of needing to check your specs were up to snuff, and having to pay for upgrades to play certain games. There's been plenty of console upgrades throughout history as peripherals and they've all failed. Releasing a more powerful version of the hardware a few years later will annoy those that bought early. It didn't happen with N64, PS1, PS2, XB, or GC, and it won't happen with future consoles. There's a possiblity of a Sony computer-type-thing that has better than PS3 specs and supports PS3 games, but those games will be tied to PS3 specs, and I don't hownestly think we'll such a computer either. Just leave it at PS3 with Linux.
     
  6. Crossbar

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    You will sort of be able to upgrade a PS3 system by adding an extra screen or an eyetoy peripheral. I believe this was not what you had in mind, but it would be a similar situation for the developers. It will be really interesting to see how many developers that will add support for these things in their games. Perhaps GT5 will have support for dual monitors, but it will likely appeal to a quite small market. I wonder how many independent developers who will think its worthwhile?
     
  7. Jon Brittan

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    Erm, memory upgrade...
     
  8. hey69

    hey69 i have a monster
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    and the same with the SAturns 4mbyte upgrade card..
     
  9. Shifty Geezer

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    Maybe i'm ill informed. How N64s had the memory ugrades and how many titles took advantage of it?
     
  10. hey69

    hey69 i have a monster
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    trough a litle memcard you plugged in. a few games realy took some extra juice from it.

     
  11. London-boy

    London-boy Shifty's daddy
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    Those "memory upgrades" were add-ons. Different from just changing the specs of a console.
     
  12. pipo

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    Required for Zelda? You sure? I have no memory of installing it...

    Edit - hmm. It seems I did install one. :)
     
    #12 pipo, Apr 19, 2006
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 19, 2006
  13. Paul_G

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    You have no memory...of installing more memory...:lol: shame we don't have an expansion slot

    On topic, I don't think there has ever been a device for a console designed to improve that machines performance that has been more than marginally successful, and on that basis, i worry for the success of the 360's HD-DVD drive. An upgradable console does away with the single biggest advantage a console has, a fixed machine that developers can design for, like Shifty says, you'd end up with games being made for the lowest standard of hardware, negating the point of an upgrade.
     
  14. Bohdy

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    I don't think it would be negated. Just as PC games have different graphic profiles and framerates on different powered hadware, so a PS3 game could look x good on the base model and run at say 30FPS, while still being able to run at 60FPS and look 2x good on later models.
     
  15. London-boy

    London-boy Shifty's daddy
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    That's a PC with the Playstation name on it... Console games have always been about running exactly the same on every unit, and i'm not sure lots of people would feel comfortable if that changed.
     
  16. Crossbar

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    Of course this is doable. But I think the question is, will this help Sony to manufacture dirt cheap consoles and sell them in mass volumes and will it make the game developers life easier? My gut feeling is that it won't do that.
     
  17. PSman

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    I think there's a pretty good chance that Sony is going to upgraded the PS3 specs, before launch
     
  18. Bigus Dickus

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    I agree. While what Bohdy is describing is certainly possible and wouldn't really break compatibility, I doubt we'll ever see it to any significant extent.

    One of the things I look most forward to on my 360 is that as the years go on devs will be under a lot of competitive pressure to squeeze every ounce of performance out of my console as possible. If consoles had, for example, a graphics card slot where you could plug in upgraded modules year after year, devs would be a lot more inclinded to behave like PC devs... that is, tinkering with the new feature set but not using it efficiently (or oftentimes properly), getting the last generation featureset pretty much up to par, but never developing a game to use any module's abilities to its maximum.

    Even if upgrade modules were limited to core speed and framebuffer memory size/speed, for example, and kept exactly the same architecture and featureset from year to year, you would still have devs waiting on a new module. Why? Well, imagine you are a dev and you have a game targeted to run at 60fps. The development is done, but on current hardware it runs at 50fps. Your choices are: take out features, disable vsync and have frame tearing, let the game run at 30fps, or wait 3 months for the next upgrade module so you can market the game at 60fps in all its glory. Or maybe the game runs fine on the current module and even the previous one, but the base configuration is really just about unplayable. Why would a console dev want to face those kinds of choices?

    We'd find that one of two things happened: (1) you have to upgrade each year to be able to play new games reasonably, or (2) there would never be a need to upgrade as all devs agreed to always target the base configuration for the target framerate.


    As for HD-DVD on 360, that doesn't concern me. Microsoft will never allow a game to be produce that requires the HD-DVD to play it. Worst case is that a game is released as single disc HD-DVD and multi-disc DVD, in which case it is only a convenience factor and would never affect length of gameplay, size of worlds, graphical quality, cutscene footage, etc. Though I still doubt that will happen, it is possible... and even in that case, where only convenience is affected, you would see a backlash from consumers. Imagine if the HD-DVD was a required upgrade!?!
     
  19. Shifty Geezer

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    Developing for PCs is firstly a pain in the arse trying to accomodate all those different specs, secondly most games target a lower than high-end specs which is the key problem with upgrades not being fully utilised, thirdly developing for consoles is already hard enough without having to cope with multiple console configurations, and finally, what are the benefits? Devs already have 6 SPEs to fill up. They can't change the fundamentals of the game between low and high variety consoles, so the extras will just be cosmetic. More particles, more clouds, more mud, high poly models. Going from 30 fps to 60 fps is going to be unlikely without doubling everything in the console (if the game is well balanced). That means PS3++ would need to have two Cells, twice the RSX capacity, twice the memory bandwidth... An increase in something like just more SPEs would give you the chance for more physics and raytraced clouds, perhaps, but that's not going to contribute a lot of difference in the grand scheme of things. You've still got 512 MBs RAM to limit you, while a more RAM flavour PS3++ will just be more developer headaches as they need to create twice the assets. And you'd be cutting into Sony's profit margins. Having designed a powerful platform in the PS3 who's price will scale, you lose all that price advantage, don't get the returns on PS3 hardware seen with PStwo and PSone, and Sony gets less money to invest in developing in PS4. The only platform PS3 is going to look weak to within 3 years time is expensive, highend PCs. PS2 looks weak to PCs now but it still manages to sell. The PC 'threat' isn't, providing no economic incentive to release an up-spec'd PS3 which makes devs lives harder.
     
  20. Bigus Dickus

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    edited... just noticed PSman included the "before launch" at the end. That answered my question.
     
    #20 Bigus Dickus, Apr 19, 2006
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 19, 2006
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