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How Mark Cerny became the lead architect for PS4

Mark Cerny got his job as lead architect for the PlayStation 4 by pitching his case to a number of Sony executives, after spending his time off mulling feedback from developers testing the hardware, Cerny said during his keynote at the Developer Conference in Brighton today.

IGN reports that in his talk, Cerny said he scrutinized feedback from developers working with Sony's next-generation hardware while it was in the first stages of development. After many first-party developers suggested the PS4 use the X86 CPU computing architecture, Cerny spent his off hours researching it.

"I remember spending my November holiday 2007 researching the 30-something history of the X86, from its creation in the 1970s all the way through to the most-recent enhancements," Cerny said. "And my conclusion was that conventional wisdom hadn't been right, but progressive enhancements by Intel and AMD over the years had finally resulted in something that the console game programmers could embrace.

"And then I started thinking, I just sacrificed my holiday to investigate some philosophical part for a console that I'm not really assigned to be working on, that won't be released for at least five years," he added. "That's passion, that's enthusiasm — maybe I should consider working on this project more deeply?"

Cerny said he went to Sony Worldwide Studios president Shuhei Yoshida to pitch himself as lead architect for the PS4, and "to [his] amazement," Yoshida agreed. From there he spoke with CTO Masa Chatani, who agreed that Cerny should leave Worldwide Studios to work on the hardware at Sony Computer Entertainment headquarters. Cerny added that his status as a consultant meant his role was flexible, and he was able to transition to working on the PS4 without any major shakeups.

Read our interview with Cerny about the PlayStation 4 and the game he is developing for it, Knack, here.