March 21, 2002 3:35 PM PST

PlayStation 3: The next generation

SAN JOSE, Calif.--If distributed computing can unravel the building blocks of life, it can probably help make a better version of "Crash Bandicoot."

That appears to be Sony's thinking as the electronics giant moves ahead with development of the next version of its PlayStation video game console.

Speaking at the Game Developers Conference (GDC), an annual trade show for the creative and technological sides of the game industry, Shin'ichi Okamoto, chief technical officer for Sony Computer Entertainment, said research efforts for the PlayStation 3 are focusing on distributed computing, a method for spreading computational tasks across myriad networked computers.

Distributed computing is making headway as a way for researchers to conduct demanding computing experiments, such as an ongoing project by Stanford University to unlock protein structures.

Okamoto said the method also appears to hold the most promise for dramatically boosting the performance of the next PlayStation. Game developers have said they would like the next console to have a thousand times the processing power of the PlayStation 2. There's no way to do that with hardware advances alone, he said.

"Moore's Law is too slow for us," Okamoto said, referring to the long-held truism that semiconductor power doubles roughly every 18 months. "We can't wait 20 years" to achieve a 1,000-fold increase in PlayStation performance, he said.

Okamoto said Sony is working with IBM to apply Big Blue's research in "grid computing," a variation of distributed computing, to the next PlayStation. While he didn't share details, the plan presumably would involve networked game machines sharing software, processing power and data.

Okamoto added that the released kit that allows PlayStation 2 users to run Linux software on the console is the foundation for much of the research.

Looking further ahead, Okamoto saw even bigger changes for Sony's game business. "Maybe the PlayStation 6 or 7 will be based on biotechnology," he said.

While Sony focused on the future, Microsoft looked at the recent past. Pete Isensee, lead developer for Microsoft's Xbox Advanced Technology Group, used his GDC talk to deliver a mostly positive critique of the Xbox's journey to the market, lauding a product launch that happened on time and without major bugs, a departure from Microsoft history.

"Microsoft has this stigma about not getting it right until version three," he said. "We didn't have a choice with Xbox. If we didn't get it right with version one, Sony and Nintendo would eat us alive."

Xbox glitches Isensee touched on mainly centered on international issues. The game console's bulky controller repelled Japanese consumers, for instance, forcing Xbox to design a slimmed-down version that comes standard with the Japanese Xbox and as an add-on purchase for U.S. and European users with small mitts.

"There is a perception we didn't know what we were doing when it came to the controller," Isensee said. "What we failed to do is a usability test for a global market. You need to do that, because things that work in the U.S. don't always work in Japan or Europe."

That includes the Xbox start-up screen, which had to be redesigned for the Xbox's European launch because nobody realized that the German "einstellungen" wouldn't fit in the same text space as "settings."


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Microsoft VS Sony
I honestly think that Microsoft and Sony are both great companies. Sony in recent years has always dazzled us with upto date cool radios, tv's, and cameras. For Microsoft, computers and IT Tools.

We all know big billy gates is always trying to take over every market to still remain the wealthiest man in the world, who would have thought the worlds biggest computer geek could have so much power.

But on with the artical Im posting.

Sony's Playstation 3 has yet to be released and some of the biggest companies are looking to make a profit from it. Microsoft probably will come up with a handheld and impress our friends of the technological world of japan. Sony needs to release some more information on thier top secret project of the Playstation 3.

If you search playsation online ( you will find NO results for the ps3. Not a single thing. Looks like we have to play the waiting game.

Lets hear a vote, Sony or Microsoft?
Posted by bpoejr (1 comment )
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Xbox 360 always
all u Sony freaks will be disapionted when i say this...or be ,ad. But Sony is a lieing lil cheat. At E3 last year most of thier trailers were pre rendered...(fake)and all of the 360s were REAL...take that...oh and lets not forget that even though Sony has been the leading console makers for 2 years in a row, they always lied about something to make it seem better...not Microsoft though...they are all angle.
Posted by Unibrow Of Doom (1 comment )
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First PS3 Hands-on?
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HAHAHA look whos laughing now yest again playstation have been vote the best gaming console have a guess why "COS WHERE THE ******* BEST" take that *****,
Does xbox have blu-ray no has xbox got plans for the new generation increases in comunity such as create and visualise included in games ermmmm nope and oh may i ask HOW MANY TIMES UVE HAD TO TAKE UR "XBOX" BACK TO GET IT FIXED COS IT KEEPS GETTING RED RING hahaha LOSER :D
Posted by sam g123 (1 comment )
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