In his Road to PS4 speech for Gamelab 2013 in Barcelona, Spain last July 27, Mark Cerny shared details on the development of the Playstation through the years and his involvement with the company.
Cerny starts by sharing his early experiences working in Atari, Sega, and Crystal Dynamics. He recalls going to SCEI in Japan to ask for a dev kit for the first Playstation. In his later role as head of Universal Interactive, he had a hand in two of the console's greatest hits: Crash Bandicoot and Spyro the Dragon.
As a consultant under his company Cerny Games, Cerny made a game engine as part of an early Playstation 2 dev kit. He was even more involved in the development of the Playstation 3. As part of a group of developers called ICE (Initiative for a Common Engine), he moved between working directly with PS3 hardware engineers to test the system's usability in Japan, and back in the US to make the software architecture with ICE.
Cerny compares learning to use the PS3's Cell processor and its SPUs to solving a Rubik's Cube. He concedes he hadn't used this role to make the system easier for developers to use.
Again a consultant for the PS4, Cerny spent some time researching x86's 30 year history and deciding to use this architecture. At this point, he pitched himself to Sony and got hired as its Chief System Architect.
To get 3rd party input in making the PS4, Cerny inquired 30 dev teams on what they wanted in a console. He received requests for unified memory, a powerful GPU and straightforward programming.
Cerny is confident with his work in the PS4, claiming development time on its games will go down to 1-2 months, just like it was on the PS1.
Cerny shares more personal details in his talk, including his early experience in the gaming industry, his long term relationship with Yoshida, even namedropping Nintendo and hoping to match their reputation. You can watch the 47 minute talk below.