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PS5 architect Mark Cerny on the influence of game developers on hardware design

The PlayStation 5 started with a simple brainstorming session. At least that’s how Mark Cerny, the console’s lead systems architect, puts it.

In a new video from Wired, Cerny explains how Sony built the PS5, detailing why each component was chosen and how they all help power the system. Aside from all the tech talk about graphics processors (GPUs), solid-state drives (SSDs), and the computations behind real-time ray tracing, Cerny sheds light on the kind of people who helped Sony prioritize what (and should) t ) should be included in the console.

Cerny begins by working on his own four decades long career as a game developer on titles such as. to speak Marble madness and Crash bandicootbefore moving on to a discussion of how Sony has considered developer input in designing the PS5’s hardware and software.

“It’s great to have worked with a lot of teams over the years and to understand a little bit of what’s helping them and what’s getting in their way,” says Cerny.

In their first brainstorming session, Cerny’s team came up with a list of what they wanted for the PS5: all the features that didn’t make it into the PlayStation 4 plus a bunch of new ideas. In addition, according to Cerny, there was a longer list of “all the things the game developer community would like to see”.

One of the top requests, for example, was an NVMe SSD with a read speed of at least 1 GB per second; Cerny quotes Epic Games founder Tim Sweeney, among others, as saying that the slow hard drive technology in previous consoles held developers back. Sony opted for a much faster drive to give developers some wiggle room – the SSD in the final console can read raw data at 5.5 GB / s.

According to Cerny, it is a “fairly young” phenomenon for hardware developers to involve software developers in the design process. But he says he wanted to have conversations with developers in person because he worked on games himself.

“I’m looking for the developers who make it hardest for me and the ones who really have strong opinions about what they need to make the game they’ve dreamed of,” says Cerny. “These are just brutal meetings, but they’re good to have because at the end of the day you make a more powerful console.”

Much of the video is pretty technical as Cerny breaks down the PS5 hardware part by part, but it’s an intriguing look at how the console design team actually created the latest generation of PlayStation consoles and their DualSense controllers.

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