If you’re here, you’ve probably heard about our lightning talk at the 32nd Chaos Communication Congress demoing Linux on a PS4. This post continues where the talk left off and clarifies a few aspects of what we’re doing, and why.
If you haven’t yet, please watch the talk before reading the rest of this post:
As you’re likely aware, our team gave a lecture at the 30th Chaos Communication Congress on hacking the Wii U. This blog post is a follow-up to the talk and contains clarifications, corrections, and material that we couldn’t fit in the one-hour time slot.
It’s been almost 7 years since the Wii was released. Back in 2006, not many owned a living room PC. PCs were still relatively bulky, and the Chinese offerings were limited to horrible media players. At the time, the prospect of having a game console double as a HTPC and being able to browse the web, play games for older platforms with emulation, and run homebrew games on a device which you already had in the living room was rather appealing.
Fast forward to today. Mobile SoCs have made huge advances - you can get a quad-core chip in a phone these days - and have made the jump to the living room. Spend $25 and you can get a Raspberry Pi, which is about on par with the Wii at 1⁄10 of the launch price and 1/7th of the power consumption (with HD video). Spend $100 and you can get an Ouya, which beats the Wii U’s CPU and doesn’t have too shabby graphics at one third the cost. These mobile-derived devices aren’t quite a replacement for game consoles yet, but they’re catching up fast. They’re cheap enough that they’re almost disposable. The software ecosystem is much larger and wider than any console has ever had. More importantly, they’re open, and the development tools and environments are way better for open development than any game console ever was.