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PS4 ditching Cell-like CPU for AMD PC-like innards - report

"It's not about exotic, groundbreaking hardware any more."

PlayStation 4 won't be powered by complicated Cell processing technology as is the PlayStation 3, "gaming industry sources" have told Kotaku.

Kotaku's report bolsters both a Forbes' report from last week - about AMD being in "a hush-hush-effort" to put a graphics chip inside PS4 - and what Digital Foundry editor Richard Leadbetter has heard.

"And they'll love me for it!"

A "reputable source" told Leadbetter that Sony's new console will be "essentially a PC" in terms of architecture.

"An AMD collaboration on the CPU holds many attractions," wrote Leadbetter in his column. "For the first time since the launch of the original Xbox, we could well be seeing an x86 processor in a console. It may be hard to imagine that the company that brought us the Cell would be embracing PC tech so wholeheartedly, but a look at the make-up of Vita suggests a fundamental shift in the way Sony builds its consoles in the wake of Ken Kutaragi's departure.

"It's not about exotic, groundbreaking hardware any more, it's all about creating the best possible games machine with an enviable set of development tools."

Richard Leadbetter, editor, Digital Foundry

"It's not about exotic, groundbreaking hardware any more," he pressed on, "it's all about creating the best possible games machine with an enviable set of development tools - and it's an approach that has already yielded results.

"While PlayStation Vita may lack a stand-out killer app, I still think that it's set the bar in terms of overall quality and quantity over and above any console launch I've seen in over 21 years in the business. Extrapolating that same philosophy towards PlayStation 4 makes a PC-style approach to Sony's next console seem very likely indeed."

The architecture of PS3 has resulted in developers calling the machine "a pain in the ass to work on". The result: multi-platform games still tend to perform better on perceivably weaker, but initially easier to work with, Xbox 360 machinery. Only dedicated Sony developers like Naughty Dog, and its Uncharted series of games, really expose what PS3 can do.

It's unlikely Sony overlord Kaz Hirai will ever say anything like this again:

"It's not easy to program for the PS3. I wouldn't say it's endless in terms of what the console can do, but we pack so much depth into our consoles that it takes a while for anybody, including first party studios, to really harness the power," remarked Hirai to Official PlayStation Magazine in 2009.

"We don't provide the easy to program for console that they want, because easy to program for means that anybody will be able to take advantage of pretty much what the hardware can do, so then the question is what do you do for the rest of the nine and half years?"

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