Sony Computer Entertainment Inc. Develops System for Computer Entertainment Content Creation in the Broadband Network Era

Key Content and Technology Providers Collaborate to Demonstrate the Future of E-Cinema and Real-Time Digital Creation at SIGGRAPH 2000


Sony Computer Entertainment Inc. (SCEI) announced today its strategic vision for the evolution of computer entertainment in the broadband network era. Just as the PlayStation®2 computer entertainment system ushered in a new era of consumer-based computer entertainment, the company looks to escalate the evolution of digital cinema and high definition content development through a real-time development system designed for a broadband network environment. This system will provide the world's greatest content creators in film, TV broadcast and interactive entertainment access to a new community for digital creation and distribution.

Continuing to illustrate its role as an entertainment visionary, the company will unveil real-time technology demonstrations with leading strategic partners in the areas of content creation, servers, video, sound and middleware to drive future broadband experience in computer entertainment and e-cinema, the future of in-theater entertainment through a broadband network. Key demonstrations will be conducted during SIGGRAPH 2000 expo, the leading international conference on computer graphics (CG) and interactive techniques, held July 25-27 in New Orleans.

In cooperation with partner companies from the entertainment industry, such as film, production and interactive entertainment, Sony Computer Entertainment's vision is to provide the next step in high-resolution CG technology for the evolution of computer entertainment and e-cinema demonstrating how powerful new technologies will enhance creativity in the production of digital content. This vision, a theme reinforced through Sony Computer Entertainment's booth at SIGGRAPH 2000, can be realized through a new real-time development system based on an enhanced version of the architecture found in its cutting-edge product, PlayStation 2 computer entertainment system, called GScube™.

The new development system, GScube, is to evolve into a graphics "visualizer" for broadband network applications. The GScube prototype includes 16 sets of graphics units, which are a combination of the EmotionEngine™ CPU, developed jointly by Sony Computer Entertainment Inc. and Toshiba Corporation, and an enhanced architecture of the company's world-renowned graphics rendering processor, Graphics Synthesizer®, that includes a 32MB embedded frame buffer memory, eight times the capacity of the 4MB embedded graphics memory of the PlayStation 2 computer entertainment system. The GScube will offer unrivaled real-time graphics power and capabilities with an overall image quality of 1920 x 1080 resolution, with a progressive scan of 60 frames-per-second, which is beyond the interlaced scan of the digital HDTV standard.

This powerful architecture will initially provide 10 times the performance of the PlayStation 2 computer entertainment system, with future iterations of the technology potentially exceeding this 100 fold. The combination of the GScube and high-end broadband servers, such as the soon-to-be announced next generation SGI™ Origin™ series server, create an optimal environment for the creation, manufacturing and distribution of computer entertainment content, while charting the path towards realizing real-time generated e-cinema productions.

In collaboration with the content creation community, Sony Computer Entertainment plans to initiate the roll out of the GScube development system this winter.

SIGGRAPH 2000 "E-Cinema" Experience - Fusion of Games and Movies

The company's booth at SIGGRAPH 2000 offers a glimpse of the framework for the future evolution of the networked digital entertainment market. This environment is divided into quadrants each demonstrating specific applications utilizing the GScube development system. These areas include the main theater, an advanced theater experience using a Digital Projection Inc. LIGHTNING 15sx projector based on core DLP™ technology by Texas Instruments, and a "backstage" technology area comprising of broadband network content production, distribution and an in-home experience through a "living room of the future" display. Some content will be demonstrated and viewed through a newly developed, 24-inch high-definition monitor that handles 1920 x 1080 resolution at 60 frames-per-second progressive scan. Sony Corporation designed this monitor for use in the high-end broadcasting and editing markets.

Key Partners

This massive SIGGRAPH 2000 demonstration could not have been realized without the support and efforts of key strategic partners, including the following (listed by category):

  Content Creators
  -- Eon Entertainment
  -- Manex Visual Effects/Manex Entertainment Inc.
  -- PDI/Dreamworks
  -- Silicon Studio, Ltd.
  -- Square USA, Inc./Square Co., Ltd.
  -- Warner Bros.

  Broadband Server
  -- SGI

  Video Hardware
  -- Digital Projection Inc., An Imax Company - LIGHTNING 15sx projector
  -- DLP™, A Texas Instruments Technology
  -- Sony Corporation

  -- DiMagic
  -- Yamaha

  Tools & Middleware Demonstration
  -- AiCube Co., Ltd.
  -- Criterion Software
  -- Intrinsic Graphics
  -- Softimage Co./Avid Technology

  Tools & Middleware Partners
  -- Alias/Wavefront
  -- Data Plus Co., Ltd.
  -- Kaydara
  -- Side Effects Software, Inc.

"As Sony Computer Entertainment Inc. fused the technology of computers and the world of entertainment to create and evolve a new market called 'Computer Entertainment,' we are now pioneering the creation of real-time digital entertainment through an extension of the technology of the PlayStation 2 computer entertainment system," said Ken Kutaragi, president and chief executive officer, Sony Computer Entertainment Inc. "At SIGGRAPH 2000 we are unveiling a development system that will enable conventional and traditional content creators to realize new methods to communicate storylines and experiences through the digital network environment. We embrace the software development communities and hope that together, we can usher in the future of entertainment currently not realized through existing technologies."

Recognized as the undisputed global leader and company responsible for the progression of consumer-based computer entertainment, Sony Computer Entertainment Inc. (SCEI) manufacturers, distributes and markets the PlayStation® game console and PlayStation®2 computer entertainment system. SCEI, along with its subsidiary divisions Sony Computer Entertainment America Inc. and Sony Computer Entertainment Europe Ltd., develops, publishes, markets and distributes software, and manages the third party licensing programs for these two platforms in the respective markets worldwide. Headquartered in Tokyo, Japan, Sony Computer Entertainment Inc. is an independent business unit of Sony Corporation.


GScube consists of 16 EmotionEngine and 16 Graphics Synthesizer I-32 and each output are merged by Pixel Merger. GScube is controlled by a host computer via high-speed interface.

  CPU                             128Bit "EmotionEngine™" x 16
  System Clock Frequency          294.912MHz
  Main Memory                     Direct RDRAM
  Memory Size                     2GB (128MB x 16)
  Memory Bus Bandwidth            50.3GB/s (3.1GB/s x 16)
  Floating Point Performance      97.5GFLOPS (6.1GFLOPS x 16)
  3D CG Geometric Transformation  1.04Gpolygons/s (65Mpolygons/s x 16)

  Graphics                        "Graphics Synthesizer®I-32" x 16
  Clock Frequency                 147.456MHz
  VRAM Size                       512MB (embedded 32MB x 16)
  VRAM Bandwidth                  755GB/s (47.2GB/s x 16)
  Pixel Fill Rate                 37.7GB/s (2.36GB/s x 16)
  Maximum Polygon Drawing Rate    1.2 Gpolygons/s (73.7Mpolygons/s x 16)
  Display Color Depth             32bit (RGBA: 8 bits each)
  Z depth                         32bit
  Maximum Resolutions             1080/60p (1920x1080, 60fps, Progressive)
  Merging Functions               Scissoring
                                  Alpha Test
                                  Z Sorting
                                  Alpha Blending

  Sound                           "EmotionEngine™" native audio
  Maximum Output Channel          16
  Sampling Frequency              48KHz
  Output Data Length              16bit
  Output Data Format              AES/EBU Digital Audio Format

  Other Specifications
  Host Interface                  Peak transfer rate 2.4 GB/s (approx.)
                                  Parallel bus 1024 bit for data/32 bit for

  Physical Dimensions             424mm x 424mm x 424mm(WxDxH)
                                  fit in for 19-inch rack
  Weight                          106lbs (approx.)
                                  48Kg (approx.)
  Power Requirement               100-240V  50/60Hz

SOURCE: Sony Computer Entertainment, Inc.

Contact: Molly Smith of Sony Computer Entertainment America,
650-655-6044, or pager, 888-501-7669, or; or
Samantha Sackin of Fleishman-Hillard, 213-489-8246, or,
for Sony Computer Entertainment America