Sony’s Mark Cerny (PlayStation 4’s lead system architect) spoke to Japanese press (translated courtesy of NeoGAF) recently, regarding 4K resolutions in gaming. Sony have confirmed that the PlayStation 4 will support 4K video playback and downloads, but, according to Cerny, 4K gaming isn’t quite feasible yet.
Essentially, 4K resolution is twice the resolution of FullHD (1080p). 4K is practically UltraHD. What Cerny is aiming for (and is still in the initial stages of), is to achieve support for both 4K and 2K resolutions on the PS4, for both video playback and gaming respectively. Since the console can’t support 4K for gaming, Cerny’s focus is to “provide for a solid FullHD experience,” implying that games on the PS4 will be displayed in 1080p.
As for the matter of 4K gaming itself, Cerny said that he is personally “very interested in 4K.” However, he then explained that displaying such a high resolution (practically displaying two displays worth at once) would require an incredible amount of memory per second. It’s for that reason that Cerny is concentrating on a FullHD experience for gaming.
“We’re still in the initial stages of supporting 4Kx2K in games. Our focus is to provide for a solid FullHD experience. We can secure the display buffer for Game and OS separately, and can provide for independent scaling of both as well. (Regarding 4K) We can provide an extremely smooth user interface, Cerny told the press.
If we consider purely memory bandwidth, with 4K, securing 2 displays worth of display buffer requires 10GB/sec. That just for simply displaying. This is our simple answer for why we’re focusing on just the FullHD experience.”
Despite that, perhaps 4K gaming is not too far out of our reach. Sure, it might be another five years before 4K-compatible TV sets become affordable to the everyday person, as well as hardware to catch up to it, but maybe it is still within reach.
Take, for example, the recently revealed Battlefield 4. During its initial showing at its reveal event, the game was running at 3K resolution, and maintained a steady 60 frames per second. Granted, this was achieved thanks to PC hardware, and the game itself was running on unoptimised code, but nonetheless I view it as a stepping stone.
If 3K can be achieved on PC, I suspect it won’t be long before consoles take the trend. I say “won’t be long” loosely, as it could take nearly another decade for such technology to be readily available. Until that time, I’d better invest in a FullHD television.