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Τετάρτη, 13 Ιουνίου 2007

PS3 faster than Xbox 360, harder to manage

(This article is from
"Since PS3's Cell processor allows more features -- better physics, more complex graphical processing, lighting or sound -- there is inevitably going to be more cost in supporting those extra features," Sony officials said. "It's not that PS3 is harder to write for, it's just that you can do more with it.

"If a game starts life on PS3, then man-hours per feature or costs related to asset production are comparable with industry norms."

But what if a game doesn't start life on the PS3? What about ported games?

According to Dr. Dobb's, applications must be "radically redesigned" for porting due to the Cell's finicky architecture, limited support, and scrupulous compiler. Translation: Developers can't just recompile their existing 360 builds as ports for the PS3 without first making significant development changes.

Sony says the same.

"If your game starts on Xbox 360 you will have to re-engineer aspects of the game to run properly on PS3. This means additional effort," writes Sony's Dave Karraker after consulting with the company's development team. "Some developers have been complaining about this, but I don't believe we can solve that," he adds.

Prevailing belief maintains that developing games for Sony's PS3 is more difficult than Microsoft's Xbox 360. If it is, third-party developers aren't jumping at the chance to talk.

"Nobody wants to touch this issue right now," conceded one anonymous publisher who works on high-profile ports for both the PS3 and Xbox 360. The source declined further comment.

But a report by Dr. Dobb's long-running software journal confirms what many suspected -- that the PS3 is immensely powerful but difficult to work with.

When comparing next-gen architectures, the journal found that Cell development can be more costly than the PC-inspired innards of the Xbox 360. "It's difficult to program for," say the authors when speaking of the PS3. "Software that exploits the Cell's potential requires a development effort significantly greater than traditional platforms."

Greater effort requires greater costs, and that could leave publishers wary when undertaking new PS3 projects.

Even Sony acknowledges the PS3's complexity while admitting to its development challenges. "There is a trade-off between performance and versatility," said Sony's product development group in an email to GamePro.

But ultimately the company sees the situation in a slightly different light.
And maybe they don't have to assuming developers appreciate the differences of each platform. "The 360 is a different machine with good, but lower powered hardware in a different architecture. Developers have to view them as two different machines not as a common platform," concludes Karraker.

Developers have a choice, then: Leverage the superior performance of the PS3 at an additional cost, or make due using a more developer-friendly, less-capable Xbox 360. Despite added development challenges, the Dr. Dobb's report ultimately advocates the PS3's untapped potential. "Programming the Cell processor may be tricky, but the performance gains are worth the effort." One of their benchmarks observed Cell performance to be 22 times higher than a comparable Intel chip.

So the PS3 is more capable and scalable than its contemporaries, at least in a technical sense. But until developers determine how to harness its power, the Mercedes could be stuck in second gear for a while.
(This article is from

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