When the PlayStation 3
was being talked about and released, Sony made a huge deal about the Cell processor. I mean a HUGE deal as one of the things that set this console apart from the rest.
Sony was hoping the Cell would make it into other mainstream products and it seemed a lot of people were talking about. In reality, outside of a few little side things, the Cell has been relatively quiet after its introduction in the Sony console. Some Toshiba TV's use the Cell and IBM has a supercomputer that utilizes it as well. But other than that, not so much.
Well, Kotaku is reporting that sources
have told them they will be going another route with the PlayStation 4. Sony might go with an AMD architecture and one that seems to make sense would be AMD's Fusion architecture which puts the CPU and GPU in one chip. I've used a Fusion product myself and it's not bad, but I'm guessing the one that Sony would consider would be a lot more powerful than what I had.
Now, the PlayStation 3 hasn't been one of the more developer friendly consoles and some developers have complained about how it was more complicated to get things done on that box over the Xbox 360 or the Wii. So, moving to a more familiar x86 architecture should make this less of an issue.
Then there's the question of backwards compatibility. Would moving to an AMD chip enable the PlayStation 4 to play PlayStation 3 games? You know there's always a big stink about backwards compatibility in a console's first year or so in the wild. I'm guessing emulating the Cell isn't something that's going to be easy, but this would be something to think about for team Sony.