Over the Christmas holidays the rumour mill started churning out a claim that Sony is considering ditching its Cell chip in favour of something more Intel flavoured. Several news sites picked up the story that Sony had a guts-full of the Cell and wanted to move to a multi-core chip from Intel.
However the move has left many scratching their heads. The Cell is still a good chip with many advantages in performance and creative research this generation. Its reliability has also seen the beast wired up to many DIY supercomputers.
But apparently Sony is blaming a lot of its problems on the fact that it has proved difficult to find developers to write good code for the Cell. Many of the skill sets out there are for Intel based chips and software houses are not keen to become focused on one bit of hardware. Interestingly it is the same decision that another cell user came up with two years ago. Apple messiah Steve Jobs saw what was happening with the Cell and scrapped it in favour of Intel multi-core.
The PS3 has been a disappointment to Sony and after years on the market is only just starting to make it is development costs back. It would be easier to blame the Cell for the outfit not attracting attention, however most of our sources claim that the problem was never the chip.
When the PS3 launched there was considerable optimism that it was going to be the world's leading games console. If it had archieved the same sorts of sales as the the Wii for example then the Cell would have become the default standard for games consoles. Developer skills would be there because everyone would want to write code for the leading console. Unfortunately Sony made its PS3 too expensive and had its clock cleaned by cheap and cheerful consoles.
If Sony does move away from the Cell chip it is an admission that it has to complete with the other consoles on the same terms. It can no longer afford to be flashy or rely on unusual technology.
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