The PS5’s design was influenced by ‘brutal meetings’ with developers

The PS5’s design was influenced by “brutal meetings” which ultimately helped Sony make a stronger console, PlayStation 5 lead system architect Mark Cerny has revealed.

Speaking in a new video from Wired, Cerny touches on almost every aspect of the PS5, and how Sony met with developers to discuss what they needed to make the games they’d been dreaming of. 

Cerny noted that it’s a “pretty recent” practice for hardware developers to meet with software developers during the design process, but that their input fundamentally helped the PS5’s design. 

“I’m looking for the developers that give me the hardest time, and the ones who really have strong opinions about what it is that they need to make the game that they’ve been dreaming of,” Cerny said. “Those are just brutal meetings to be in, but they’re good to have because, at the end of the day, you’re making a stronger console.

“It’s great to have worked with a lot of teams over the years, and understand a bit about what helps them and what just gets in their way."

Cerny noted that Epic Games founder Tim Sweeney, along with other developers, particularly pushed Sony to pursue using an NVMe SSD with a read speed of at least 1GB per second, as opposed to the traditional mechanical hard drives of old. We now know that Sony ended up using a much faster drive in the PS5, one that is capable of read speeds of 5.5 GB/s.

“The game developers wanted to get away from hard drives, as that’s where all the data is stored… so-called fast travel is still taking 15 to 30 seconds to get to one map to the other side,” said Cerny.

Cerny also said that even though Sony had its own ideas of what it wanted to include in the PS5, as well as a list of features that didn’t make it into the PS4, there was an even longer list of “all the things the game development community would like to see".


Analysis: Sony’s developer discussions have paid off

While it sounds like it can be a fairly arduous process, it’s clear that Sony’s conversations with developers have been beneficial. We’ve seen PS5 games take full advantage of the new SSD to provide near-instantaneous load times, and the PS5 DualSense controller, which includes haptic feedback and adaptive triggers, has been adopted by almost every title. 

Interestingly, Cerny notes that ray tracing, one of the tentpole features of next-gen hardware, wasn't actually on most developers' wishlists, but it was soon implemented into several titles once they learned the PS5 could handle it.

"They had difficulty believing they'd have enough ray tracing performance to do anything interesting with it," Cerny said. 

The PS5 continues to be extremely hard to find at retailers due to the ongoing global semiconductor shortage. We're expecting to see another influx of interest during Black Friday 2021 and Cyber Monday, but the best deals will involve PS5 games and accessories as opposed to the console itself.

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