In the newest installment of the Weekly Overseas News column, Technology writer Hiroshige Goto has shared a few insider tips on the future of the PlayStation. Previously, Goto reported that Sony was looking both into a Cell-based and Intel Larrabee-based architecture for the PlayStation 4. He talked about how Sony has began looking at the architecture, apparently because high ranking officials at Sony had expressed some interest.According to Goto, “Sony, IBM and Toshiba recognized some of the problems programmers were having with Cell and, early on, came up with a couple of plans for fixing the issues. Included in these was a plan for something that was at one point called “SPU2.” This new version of the SPU would shift the 256 kilobyte local store space that’s included on each SPU chip into the role of a hardware management cache, allowing the SPUs direct access to main memory and allowing programmers to program for a single memory space, similar to a standard PC CPU.” Goto also mentioned that there have been signs that some time last summer, Sony was looking into using this updated SPU design in the core of the PlayStation 4. At the very least, he says, “The design was a strong candidate.”
But now however, Gota’s recently started hearing about other plans. While he’s unable to get into the specifics, at a broad level, the new plans call for a PC-like multicore setup. With these new rumors beginning to surface, Goto provided a few guesses as to when we’ll see the next generation of hardware. He believes that because Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo, are looking into architecture solutions now in 2009, the next generation will come around 2012. The reason for this is that it takes 24 months to take a system from concept to production. In addition, he expects next generation portable systems like PSP2 to precede the release of next generation consoles.