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Comment Re:As someone whose income depends on the PS3... (Score 1) 167

If piracy were really a big enough problem that it could massacre sales of a game, information about it would be all over the Internet.

Some of it is. If you look around, independent developers will sometimes post actual numbers and they are often quite impressive. For larger companies, you really, really don't want to give your investors the idea that your income will implode after some random number of days. Ever wonder why you cannot really get sales numbers for unsuccessful titles?
Anyway, companies are actively working to mitigate this effect. This is why multiplayer with a centralized authentication scheme is so popular these days.
But again, you'd have to take my word for that, as I naturally can't post anyone's real numbers. :)

In any case, go to a pub with a bunch of game devs. Get them drunk, then ask.

Comment Re:As someone whose income depends on the PS3... (Score 1) 167

And for the record, if you are a game developer, you shouldn't believe the hyperbole and propaganda that Sony and the major game publishers no doubt tell you about the dangers of piracy. It is a popular scapegoat for big companies that don't sell their media as well as they'd like, or that just want greater control over their products post-sale, but there's never been any solid evidence to connect high piracy rates with low or no sales. Just because the PS3 has been broken doesn't mean that sales of PS3 games are going to drop flat.

Sorry, that's just not true. The first game I worked on was a PC title. When we released it, it didn't sell spectacularly, but did pretty well, with a noticeable day-by-day increase in sales. Yes, you can get day-by-day sale reports in some places. :)
Of course, we watched gamecopyworld and friends for the first cracks to show up and literally the day the game got cracked, sales dropped like a rock. Well, actually, they were still pretty stable for a while, just at a much, much lower level.
Sure, if you're Call of Duty you still make money, just a good chunk less. If you are an independent studio, you may just have to close shop.

And if you're a console manufacturer? Well, you make your money off of the per-unit license fees (and I guess off of subscription, if you're Microsoft). If those go down, you're in trouble, as you just sold your hardware at a loss.
If you're at the point where you sell hardware at a profit, it might actually be good for the manufacturer, because you will move lots of boxes. The gamedevs are still screwed, though.

Comment Re:Speaking as a game developer (Score 2, Insightful) 232

As a graphics programmer, I must say that it's not so clear cut. Back in the day, the XDK-tools were much better. But nowadays, the PS3 has some really, really good tools. API-wise, I think it's a matter of taste. I prefer libgcm to DirectX, but the latter surely comes with more features "out of the box".

All in all, my experience is that you get stuff working so-and-so on the Xbox faster. But to get it up to maximum speed, you spend just as much time. So the 360 clearly wins in the prototyping department, but that won't necessarily get you to submission faster.

Comment Re:It also helped MS (Score 5, Informative) 155

For example in a console, you normally want all the RAM shared between GPU and CPU. There's no reason to have them have separate RAM modules. The Xbox 360 does this, there's 512MB of RAM that is usable in general. The PS3 doesn't, it had 256MB for each CPU and GPU. Reason is that's how nVidia GPUs work in PCs and that's where it came from. nVidia didn't have the time to make them a custom one for the console, as ATi did for Microsoft. This leads to situations where the PS3 runs out of memory for textures and the 360 doesn't. It also means that the Cell can't fiddle with video RAM directly. It's power could perhaps be better used if it could directly do operations at full speed on data in VRAM but it can't.

Being a (former) PS3 and 360 dev, I have to say this is not true. Let's start with the memory split. Both consoles have about 20GB/s of memory bandwidth per memory system. Only the PS3 has two of them, giving it twice the memory bandwidth. The 360 compensates for that by having EDRAM attached to the GPU, which removes the ROP's share from your bandwidth budget. Especially with a lot of overdraw, the bandwidth needed by the ROPs can get huge (20GB/s, anyone?), so this would be a nice solution where it not for two things: the limited EDRAM-size and the costs of resolving from EDRAM to DRAM.
The RSX can also read and write both to XDR (main memory) and DDR (VRAM), giving it access to all of memory. The reason it is tighter on texture memory is because the OS is heavier.

About access to VRAM, it is true that reading from VRAM is something you don't want the Cell to do. It's a 14MB/s bus, so it is of no practical use for texture data. Writing into VRAM is actually pretty ok, as it's at 5GB/s, which is more or less achievable without trouble. At 60fps that's more than 80MB per frame.

In general, both design teams made sound decisions. The 360 has a significant ease-of-use advantage to PC developers with DirectX experience. The PS3 on the other hand is a lot more to-the-metal, but allows for some pretty crazy stuff. Sadly, most development these days is cross-platform, so you won't see a lot Cell-specific solutions. It's just not cost-effective.

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