Thursday, June 16, 2005

Next Gen Consoles and Cultural Differences

On Tuesday I had a few drinks with a good friend whose family comes from a Malaysian background, and he was saying that his Mum doesn't like the work ethic in this country because people are too lazy. She means that people don't give 100% all the time, and I have to agree because in the west we try and find elegant or innovative solutions to challenges, instead of tackling them with brute force or hours of monotonous labour.

The philosophy for getting rich in the west is to invent something or start a trend that makes you rich, but in the east it is believed that people get rich by giving it your all and working hard. I see this as a work smarter Vs work harder difference viewpoint, but I don't think anybody could say either was wrong.

So I was reading an article over at Gamesutra (registration required) which talks about some developer comments on the next gen consoles from the Japanese magazine Famitsu.

One of the comments was by Keisuke Kikuchi (Fatal Frame) about the PS3 and he said
It has a very attractive high machine spec. It may be difficult to design a system that can balance out the use of its power, but it should be worth the effort.

So that makes we wonder wither the XBox360 is using a work smarter development approach and the PS3 is requiring developers to work harder to get good performance out of the system.

And that makes sense when you look at the architectures. The XBox360 has been designed so it can run general purpose computing applications just as well as games, plus the graphics chip has been designed so that developers don't have to worry about bottlenecks. So if a developer wants to put a few background proses into the game for physics or reflections I don't see why the XBox360 won't be able to handle it without lowering framerate and causing a bottleneck.

The PS3 on the other hand has some serious architecture concerns, specifically around data access to the memory from the cell chip. This might mean that developers choose to develop more processor light games, but Sony has been marketing the PS3 as a super computer that happens to be able to run games, so that makes me think that the PS3 is very procedural based and won't be able to handle many background processes. I wonder if Sony really knows how the PS3 will preform because they haven't addressed any of the statements made by Microsoft personnel about the PS3 architecture.

Only time will tell, but I still find it interesting that both sides think they have the upper hand, and possibly because of their cultural differences.