The Great Dumbing Down of Video Gaming Consoles

Marc Cerny, lead architect of PlaySation 4, introduces the BioShock4, the new controller for Sony's PlayStation 4 at a news conference February 20, 2013 in New York Photograph by Emmanuel Dunand/AFP/Getty Images

In the gaming console world, it used to be cool to brag about your custom silicon. In years past, Sony thumped its chest while announcing the Cell chip that would power its PlayStation. Costing well north of $1 billion, the Cell was billed as an engineering marvel that required the combined smarts of Sony, Toshiba, and IBM to build. Similarly, Microsoft teamed up with IBM to design its own super-powered gaming chip for the Xbox. The idea was that investing 10-figure sums in these chips would imbue the consoles with unique properties and make them attractive to game makers looking to push the limits of computing.

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