The latest issue of Weekly Famitsu published an interview with Sony Interactive Entertainment executive vice-president Masayasu Ito celebrating the 5th anniversary of the launch of the PS4 in Japan.
Ito-san mentioned that at the beginning of the PS4 generation, rather than just chasing specific sales numbers, he was just thinking how to regain the momentum enjoyed by the first PlayStation and PlayStation 2.
As opposed to the approach adopted with the PS4, Sony focused on making life easier for game developers. That way, by receiving support from everyone in the creative community, those at the helm of PlayStation thought that more and more good games would be released, and this would result into strong support from gamers as well.
After that, Sony talked with the developers themselves, and this changed quite a few things. For instance, the console’s memory allocation wasn’t initially planned to be 8 gigabytes. However, many developers clearly stated that the RAM wasn’t enough. It was a costly decision to increase the memory beyond the original plans, but Ito-san heard from so many that they required 8 gigabytes, so he decided to go with it.
After all, if Sony didn’t make things as easy as possible for developers, issues would arise, and creating good games would become difficult. That’s why 8 gigabytes were implemented while saving on the cost of other parts.
On top of that, all of previous PlayStation consoles used their own specific chips and system architecture. Developers provided feedback that indicated that it made creating games more complicated. Therefore, the PS4 adopted the same architecture as a PC. Since game creators were already basically developing their games on PCs, having this affinity with the architecture of the console was a very welcome change.
Speaking of the PS4 Pro, it was the first time for Ito-san to work on a fully new model during a console’s life cycle. Previously, only the appearance of the hardware had been changed. Yet, nowadays technology evolves very fast and PC hardware changes every year. That’s why he thought “is it possible to do something similar to that?”
Sony wanted to improve the visuals and to support HDR without having to switch to the next generation. As a matter of fact, during the development of PS4 Ito-san was aware that HDR would come at some point, so the physical components necessary to support it were included in the hardware. That’s why it became possible to add support even on standard PS4s with a simple update.
At that time, TVs still didn’t support HDR. Superficially, it made little sense to implement it. Since the technology has since become popular, Ito-san mentions that he can now boast a little about having considered supporting it so early.
About PlayStation VR, he explains that PlayStation has always been about introducing innovations and providing them to customers. It’s s a stance the current team inherited from the original engineers, so they always take on new challenges, and basically have to adopt new tech as soon as possible.
Ito-san also remembers the launch event of the PS4 and being able to release the console after many hardships, trial, and error. When he saw the users’ excitement he thought “I’m glad we made it this far.” While the release event was in New York, he is Japanese, so it was a great satisfaction for him to be able to release the console for the Japanese fans afterward.
He feels that games that fully take advantage of the performance of the PS4 have been released starting with last year. He was especially surprised by Horizon Zero Dawn. Not only it’s amazing, but even just sitting by his son’s side while he is playing it, it’s like watching a movie.
He believes Horizon was the first game that really drew out the maximum power of the console. After that, with games like Marvel’s Spider-Man, God of War, and third-party ones like Monster Hunter World, he feels like the PS4 is now being utilized to its full potential by developers.
Ito-san believes that this is going to continue. The price has been revised (in Japan), making it easier to purchase the console and more and more charming games are being released, so he hopes that the users will keep enjoying PS4.
If you want to read more, you can also check out another interview with Worldwide Studios President Shuhei Yoshida on similar topics.
Source: Weekly Famitsu