Even if you’ve never been to Japan, you’ll probably have some awareness of Akihabara. Literally the nation’s Electric Town, the district is famous for its abundance of gadgets and electrical goods. And according to lead architect Mark Cerny, the Tokyo-based shopping haven was one of the inspirations behind the design of the PlayStation 4.
“When I did pitches to developers about the hardware, I talked about what I call the Akihabara test,” he told Polygon. “I knew that at some point, there'd be out on the [Akihabara] sidewalk a PS3 and a PS4, and they might even be showing the same game, and the PS4 had to be powerful enough that when people walked by, they had to look at the PS4 and say, 'Wow, I have to have that.'”
Cerny believes that the console’s incredible pre-order numbers prove that the manufacturer’s passed the test, but that there are still some people that need convincing. “Believe it or not, at the PS3 launch, I was hearing a lot about how PS3 graphics aren't really that different from the PS2,” he continued. “I think that speaks to both how large people's expectations are, and also how launch titles are not fully exploiting the hardware.”
Much like with the current generation console, though, the Marble Madness creator believes that those criticisms will fade over time. “It's a supercharged PC architecture, so you can use it as if it were a PC with unified memory,” he explained. “Much of what we're seeing with the launch titles is that usage; it's very, very quick to get up to speed if that's how you use it. But at the same time, then you're not taking advantage of all of the customisation that we did in the GPU. I think that that really will play into the graphical quality and the level of interaction in the worlds in, say, year three or year four of the console.”