Sony Addresses PS4 RAM Report

by Mike Futter on Jul 29, 2013 at 03:19 AM

Following a story last week about the PlayStation 4's RAM profile, Sony has taken the opportunity to provide clarification. As you might recall, last week we shared a report that the PlayStation 4 held 3.5 GB of RAM for operating system functions, 1 GB of which would be available on a flexible basis for gaming. Sony has provided a correction.

In a statement issued to Eurogamer's Digital Foundry, Sony addresses a key technical matter from the original story.

We would like to clear up a misunderstanding regarding our "direct" and "flexible" memory systems. The article states that "flexible" memory is borrowed from the OS, and must be returned when requested - that's not actually the case.The actual true distinction is that:

  • "Direct Memory" is memory allocated under the traditional video game model, so the game controls all aspects of its allocation
  • "Flexible Memory" is memory managed by the PS4 OS on the game's behalf, and allows games to use some very nice FreeBSD virtual memory functionality. However this memory is 100 per cent the game's memory, and is never used by the OS, and as it is the game's memory it should be easy for every developer to use it.

We have no comment to make on the amount of memory reserved by the system or what it is used for.

This changes the outlook for development, possibly opening up significantly more available memory. The implication from Sony's comment is that the processes in place for handling virtual memory will be largely seamless and easy enough to use. The intent seems to be that regardless of the direct allocation, the flexible memory will be available for gaming.

[Source: Digital Foundry]

Our Take
We still don't know how much memory will be reserved for the system, and Sony's statement doesn't shed light on that yet. However, the process detailed in the statement made to Digital Foundry provides confidence that more than the 4.5 GB of direct memory and 1 GB of flexible memory will be accessible for game purposes.