details on PS 3 so far "Earlier this week, the Rambus Developer Forum was held in Japan. During the conference, SCE detailed some information about memory usage in the PS3. First, it was stated that XDR DRAM production is still on schedule to begin mid-2005, which further confirms the previously announced begin date. The three producers of XDR, Toshiba, Elpida, and Samsung, will all begin production at that time. If all other elements of the PS3 are can begin production at that time, production of the PS3 could also start soon after. Second, Sony announced that the amount of XDR DRAM to be placed in the PS3 has been cut in half, from the previously announced 512Mbit to 256Mbit. This could mean one of many possible scenarios. The first scenario is that system memory has simply been slashed in half. Another possible scenario is that memory speed has been doubled from 25.6 GB/sec to 51.2 GB/sec. A third possibility is that on-chip memory has been increased. Until more details are released about PS3 specifications, it is impossible to know which scenario, or possible other scenario, has been fulfilled. It was also mentioned in the article that a goal of the PS3 will be to render currently pre-rendered material in real time. It was not mentioned as to what material this would include. Sony did mention how current CG movies are rendered with computers prior to playing them, so that they are not interactive with the gamer. The goal of making such movies interactive, rendered by the PS3 in real-time, is something they are confident in achieving with the PS3." ------------------ Playable examples of Sony's next-generation console will be shown at next year's E3, Sony Computer Entertainment CTO Masa Chatani announced today at the annual PlayStation Meeting event in Japan. That will be the second step in the public unveiling of the successor to the PlayStation 2. It will publicly debut in some form at a special event early next year, before the end of March, according to Chatani's timetable. E3 2005 will see the first interactive demonstrations of the system, and if development continues on its current track, the first game titles will be shown at next year's Tokyo Game Show. Developers, Chatani said, will receive the first version of the new console's development tool around the turn of the next fiscal year, at the end of next March. That's not long after Sony and IBM plan to make their Cell-based computer workstation -- hardware related to the next console's development environment -- available to customers. The second, more complete version of the development system will subsequently become available early in the second half of fiscal 2005, around next September. According to that timetable, the 2006 holidays seem like a reasonable ballpark for the console's retail release, although it's still hard to predict how much development time its first titles will require. So far, development of the new console "is going smoothly," Chatani said. If it remains smooth enough to stick to the current schedule, E3 2005 may feature three new consoles at once -- Nintendo has already committed to debuting its "Revolution" hardware at the show, and Microsoft will all but certainly have the successor to the Xbox on display. ----------------- Mr. Niani, who has been collaborating with Sony on the PS3 for some time, suggests that the PS3 will use Blu-Ray technology as a possible playback option. Blu-Ray technology uses a blue colored laser to read data off of optical discs. BD-ROM is the hardware format of that technology, allowing 25GB per layer of recording, over five times that of a DVD. (this is sony's bid to own the High Definition DVD market) If they can make affordable HD-DVD players into their playstations they are alost sure to get universal acceptance.) ---------------- In a recent job posting by SCEA, information was revealed as to possible software capabilities, as well as the pledge to develop a response to Microsoft’s DirectX platform for PS3. The job posting for Lead Software Engineer clearly states this during the job introduction: “Lead the creation and development of Sony’s response to DirectX, in close cooperation with our online and 3d groups.” DirectX has become the standard for PC gaming over the past few years, and it appears that Sony is going to try to standardize gaming development similar to what Microsoft has done. What exactly is DirectX? From the website: Microsoft DirectX is an advanced suite of multimedia application programming interfaces (APIs) built into Microsoft Windows; operating systems. DirectX provides a standard development platform for Windows-based PCs by enabling software developers to access specialized hardware features without having to write hardware-specific code. The recently touted Microsoft XNA is a further extension of this. What Sony is planning to do is still unknown, but it appears that the use of APIs will be a major part of programming for the PS3. This no doubt comes after many complaints about programming for the difficult PS2 hardware. Another curious mention: “Personally lead the creation of SCEA portable OS and hardware abstraction layer.” This basically means that the software will be easily transferred to another hardware system besides the PS3. A PC version may be in the works to take on the dominant DirectX in an unfamiliar area for SCEA. Other job positions postings include Lead Software Tools Engineer and Software Tools Manager. Visit this post on our message boards to view the job postings or use the link below (registration required). Thanks goes out to forum member Nirey. ---------------- Recent moves by Sony Computer Entertainment (SCE) strongly suggest that PS3 will make use of Open API formats, rather than the proprietary formats used on all previous consoles. A few weeks ago, SCE announced that they joined the Khronos Group, a “member-funded industry consortium focused on the creation of open standard, royalty-free APIs to enable the authoring and playback of dynamic media on a wide variety of platforms and devices.” The group supports development and use of OpenGL ES, OpenML, OpenVG, and OpenMAX. At the time, SCE commented that they joined the group to explore possible future uses of the technology. This could mean it being used in PS3, or PS4, or possibly, PS27. This all changed today with a posting on the SigGraph website. Collada is an Open 3D graphics format which is specifically designed for videogames. SCE will introduce Collada at the SigGraph 2004 Tech Talk which is being held August 11th. Collada was built from the collaboration of many 3D toolchain companies, including SCE, and like Khronos Group, will make use of the group support to enhance and standardize Open formats. What does this tell us? Well, SCE has heavily invested into Open formats and are pledging their support of the formats now. This heavily suggest that the PS3 will use Open formats. What does this all mean? This means that developers will have a much easier time making games for the PS3 than ever before, and those games can be simply ported to an computer device which supports Open formats. More effort can be spent perfecting games rather than worrying about building multiple copies of the same game. When Microsoft announced XNA, their upcoming format which would be used for all gaming applications, I bet they never thought that Sony would be working on the exact same thing. SCE not only found a format battle XNA, but possibly a format to crush it. ----------------- In an interview conducted by the official PlayStation website, SCEE president and COO, David Reeves, revealed that there may be two version of the PS3 available to consumers at launch. Reeves said that, “there might be a normal PS3 for gamers, who just want to play the movies and have better games.” This version would be aimed at those who are willing “to pay 200 Euros ($243 USD) for a new generation games machine.” Another version, considered to be a “home server”, would feature “all-singing, all-dancing features with maybe a hard disk drive” which would retail for 600-700 Euros ($728-$850 USD). When asked about the ultimate goal of the PS3, he commented, “to get into electronic broadband distribution.” It is the hope of Sony that all users will have a broadband Internet connections at time of purchase. When asked on how fast the connection would need to be, he said, “it’s going to have to be 2 or 3 MB [per second], something like that. Ken [Kutaragi]’s even talking about 30MB [per second]! And when it gets to that, then it is broadband distribution, and people then can just download whatever game they want. But it's got to be secure, and that's where DNAS (Sony's online security protocol) comes in." Reeves also commented that the PS3 would be “intrinsically linked with PSX” meaning that existing owners of PSX will not be left out in the cold. This could possibly mean that the base version of the PS3 would connect to the PSX to form the “home server” version of the PS3. As E3 comes closer, we will hopefully get some more comments about the possibilities of PS3.