Sony Talks PlayStation 5 Development, Simplified Transition For Game Devs
In a little over a year, Sony will launch its next-generation PlayStation 5 console, and already there has been much made about the hardware inside—it will feature a custom Zen 2 CPU and Navi GPU with hardware-accelerated real-time ray tracing support and a solid state drive for faster load times. But while we already have an inkling of the PS5's brute power, PlayStation CEO Jim Ryan wanted to clarify some points about the behind-the-scenes development strategy and transitioning users from the PlayStation 4 to the PS5.
Those things go hand-in-hand, and there is a lot at stake. Notably, Sony recently reached 100 million unit sales of the PS4, which is somewhat of a rare benchmark in consoles—the PS4 is the second best PlayStation console of all time, behind only the PlayStation 2. It also ranks as the fastest to reach 100 million console sales, having met the achievement two months quicker than Nintendo's Wii.
In an interview with GamesIndustry.biz, Ryan wanted to address some points the site made in a previous article, particularly in regards to concern over Sony's organizational consolidation efforts. Historically, it has operated three PlayStation divisions—US, Europe, and Japan. More recently, however, Sony has take a centralized approach.
"When we look at this transition and the ambition to do things at a scale and pace that we haven't seen, we have to look at ourselves and make certain changes," Ryan said.
Sony's mindset is that in order to be successful, it has to "leverage the opportunities that globalization brings." Ryan explained how approach can benefit the PS5's development, "productization" of the console, deciding on features, and then executing the implementation of those features.
"That process, this time around, has been massively more streamlined compared to anything we've done in the past. The product planners are now having one conversation instead of three different regional conversations, where they needed to reconcile positions that were often conflicting or contradictory, with an endless process of iteration and consensus. That's not happening anymore. We have one conversation and we get on and do stuff," Ryan explained.
This kind of effort is not new to Sony. It has been taking this approach for the past couple of years, and in that time, it has seen the centralized approach be successful.
"The first global campaign that we ran was around Spider-Man. It's a great game obviously, but it also ended up as PlayStation's bestselling first-party game. It was one global campaign conceived and executed in an outstanding manner, as opposed to three different regional campaigns that are often executed very well, but the same thing in essence done three times," Ryan said.
Ryan says he is also encouraged by what he is hearing from developers and publishers. According to Ryan, they have had a much easier time getting code running on the next-gen console than they have on any previous PlayStation platform.
He had plenty more to say and it's worth a read if you have a few minutes to spare (hit the link in the Via field below).