"Cell was the precursor to today's accelerated processing units, very much a heterogeneous architecture. But unfortunately it was complicated to use," Mallinson said.
The PS3 combined an IBM Power-based processor with multiple co-processors and had many distributed memories that created access and synchronization issues for developers. The implementation of networking and an internal hard drive for the first time also created challenges, Mallinson said.
"We had to build systems software to make use of all these hardware features. We needed to build in a Web browser, a Blu-ray player with a Java Virtual Machine, media playback, network services, and so all of this caused a complexity and the cost of software and hardware to rise dramatically," Mallinson said.
PS4 designers learned valuable lessons from the challenges in making PS3, Mallinson said. As the PS4 design matured, the company studied the rise of mobile gaming and social networking to incorporate related features into the gaming console.
The company also made the PS4 capable of handling a wider range of digital content and the background download of patches and updates was made more efficient. It also improved the second-screen functionality feature, where gameplay can be streamed from the console to other devices.
"Now for PS4 we've really integrated down to the deep level, supporting second screen not only on the PlayStation Vita [handheld], but also on iOS and Android devices," Mallinson said.
Users will also be able to add more friends and they have they option of using their real names instead of avatars.
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