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Sony says PS3 Intentionally Hard for Developers

By - Source: Tom's Guide US | B 99 comments

One would figure that creating a positive environment for game developers to work inside would lead to the best results, but Sony appears to be thinking counter to the logic.

In an interview with the Official PlayStation Magazine, and transcribed by Eurogamer, SCEI head Kazuo Hirai said that the PlayStation 3 was intentionally designed to be a difficult platform for developers to work on. Wait, what?

"We don't provide the 'easy to program for' console that [developers] want, because 'easy to program for' means that anybody will be able to take advantage of pretty much what the hardware can do, so then the question is what do you do for the rest of the nine-and-a-half years?" explained Hirai.

He added, "So it's a kind of - I wouldn't say a double-edged sword - but it's hard to program for, and a lot of people see the negatives of it, but if you flip that around, it means the hardware has a lot more to offer."

Interestingly enough, the original PlayStation had a reputation for being relatively easy for programmers to get their concepts running, especially at a time when the games industry was moving from 2D to 3D. The PlayStation 2, on the other hand, was a difficult platform to work with, especially when compared to the Dreamcast, GameCube and Xbox.

Hirai does point out that having a difficult platform does allow the user to see some real growth over the lifespan of the console. The original launch games for PlayStation 2 look pathetic when put up against ones made during the console’s twilight moments. But is that necessarily a good thing for either developers -- who have to spend more time and resources in realizing their designs -- or for the gamer -- who has to wait years before getting just what he or she fully wanted out of the “next generation” platform?

Sony seems to be going backwards with the PS3 lately, recently claiming that the PS3 is still for early adoptors, and now the PS3 is intended to be difficult to program for. Do you think Sony took the right approach? The market sales doesn't think so. However, if you're a PS3 owner, are you happy with your system? Or do you own multiple consoles and spend more time on something other than the PS3?

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  • -3 Hide
    Tekkamanraiden , January 22, 2009 11:44 PM
    Was not the PS2 the same way?
  • 7 Hide
    baov , January 22, 2009 11:50 PM
    So they are saying, "the hardware is all there but we want to make money for longer so we throw shit in the way so that devellopers will only discover how to make good use of it after many years of putting out crap instead of just making good games right away, just so we can give the user the false impression that the machine is getting better without the possibility of upgrading the hardware itself".
  • -4 Hide
    Anonymous , January 22, 2009 11:50 PM
    Lets talk about wii? 320~ for ugly graphic and bad gameplay? and super bad resolution (480p), maybe this is the cheapest next gen consol, but u got nothing for the buck.PS3 have alot of potential, developers need to use it.
  • 4 Hide
    08nwsula , January 22, 2009 11:55 PM
    TekkamanraidenWas not the PS2 the same way?


    did you not read the article?
  • -9 Hide
    Tekkamanraiden , January 23, 2009 12:13 AM
    Nope I only glanced it
  • 9 Hide
    Tekkamanraiden , January 23, 2009 12:13 AM
    I should know better.
  • 5 Hide
    velo116 , January 23, 2009 12:14 AM
    I think this is a terrible idea because it punishes creative effort that is surrounded by sub-par programmers. A game that might have an excellent story and gameplay might be rendered useless because the developers couldn't figure out how to work the platform to get a good enough frame-rate. I've read many reviews talking about how the story of a game is good but it is plauged by too many glitches. Who knows how many of those could be solved if the platform were easier to program for?
  • 0 Hide
    tayb , January 23, 2009 12:21 AM
    Since when does and annoying program environment mean higher potential...??? Those two things do not correlate in any way. Because the PS3 is hard to program for does not mean it has a higher upside. The hardware is limited in itself and then you add in the tough programming environment a logical conclusion would mean a LOWER potential.

    He made other comments about how confident he was he would outsell the Xbox 360 which was hilarious. If you doubled the PS3 sales and kept the Xbox 360 sales flat it wouldn't be until 2014 until the PS3 caught the 360.

    He also made a ridiculous comment about Xbox 360 "longevity" because apparently Sony didn't release a successor to the Playstation 2...oh wait...
  • 5 Hide
    Anonymous , January 23, 2009 12:24 AM
    I wonder if the translation should have been that the platform is more complex as opposed to more difficult. The PS3 was designed with far more powerful capabilities, but they are different than previous generations of hardware and, in that way, are more difficult.
  • 1 Hide
    Anonymous , January 23, 2009 12:49 AM
    Sounds like he's trying to make lemonade out of lemons. Except these lemons are rotten.
  • 1 Hide
    Anonymous , January 23, 2009 12:51 AM
    I don't think it's a bad thing to made something tricky to program--to an extent. Game budgets are ballooning and people are having a rough time meeting deadlines as it is. Sony seems to like having a console that has games look better over time, but we saw eventual improvements in games even for the first Playstation. I'd say that Sony may have overdone it this time.

    Killzone 2 looks good, but it also took almost 5 years and a huge budget. Not everyone can afford that, especially with this economy.
  • 4 Hide
    TheCapulet , January 23, 2009 12:52 AM
    I was thinking about buying a PS3 for blueray playback with my new HDTV, but I've just changed my mind completely because of this article. Way to go sony.
  • 1 Hide
    Anonymous , January 23, 2009 12:56 AM
    "Are you happy with your ps3?" I freaking love my ps3! It doesn't have as many great games as the xbox 360 (which I also own), but the games it does have like MGS4 and Resistance 1&2, Uncharted, Motorstorm, etc are timeless. Sony did not properly explain themselves in this interview. The reality as a gamer is, those who develop on the ps3, are able to develop a much more dynamic and intuitive experience because so much more time was put into making it. Yes, thats not always been the case with all of the case. But, Developers who make a game exclusively for ps3 will definitely show this trend. Blu Ray- while not necessary for most consumers at the moment- will in the next few years give sony a huge advantage as HD resolution becomes a more practical and affordable feature for the market.
  • -1 Hide
    sacre , January 23, 2009 12:58 AM
    Hah, imo, they took the wrong approach.

    I mean, evidance lies in the numbers as we discuss.. PS3 is what, third? out of the 3 that are out there.

    For one, why make it difficult? You WANT all the subpar games + big games on your console.. because if you don't have the subpar games, what do you play between the larger more intense games?

    Play a big game...wait 8 months..play another big game..wait 2 months.. etc..
    or
    Play big game, play 50 mini games, play big game, play 55 mini games..

    Really I don't see their logic behind this, I think they're just making excuses.
  • 1 Hide
    Blessedman , January 23, 2009 1:19 AM
    the original playstation had like 20% of its power hidden. it wasn't until later in the consoles life did sony release how to access commands that were otherwise hidden? I just remember that being the case way back in the day. I guess almost like nintendo's mode7? *i can't remember all the details of that one.
  • 0 Hide
    zodiacfml , January 23, 2009 1:22 AM
    as though i'm hearing words coming out from a kid.
    how come sony/ps3 never said that when it first came out?

    if that's the case, i'll be seeing next generation xbox and nintendo consoles still easy to make games and ps3 remains difficult.
  • 0 Hide
    fonzy , January 23, 2009 1:40 AM
    Look at the money Sony has lost so far and by the time Game developers learn how to take advantage of the PS3's full power the Xbox720(what ever it will be called) will be out and probably capable of far better graphics.

  • -4 Hide
    Anonymous , January 23, 2009 1:46 AM
    is every tomshardware article going to end with a series of questions begging for user comments?
    bah.
  • 0 Hide
    Humans think , January 23, 2009 1:49 AM
    TheCapuletI was thinking about buying a PS3 for blueray playback with my new HDTV, but I've just changed my mind completely because of this article. Way to go sony.


    See Metal Gear Solid 4 i think they cracked the code of Sony, the game is simply amazing. Moreover due to the excelent hardware built in inside PS3 is still one of the best Blue-Ray players in the market. So before thinking of revenge just buy what is best for your money.
  • 2 Hide
    fonzy , January 23, 2009 2:01 AM
    Humans thinkSee Metal Gear Solid 4 i think they cracked the code of Sony, the game is simply amazing. Moreover due to the excelent hardware built in inside PS3 is still one of the best Blue-Ray players in the market. So before thinking of revenge just buy what is best for your money.


    I don't know about cracked,it probably cost a fortune to make a game like MGS4,I'm a PC guy and if I had to buy a console it would be the PS3 for the Blue ray player to go with my new 40 inch LCD so the BlueRay player is a major selling point. honestly though I think he is lying when he said they deliberately made it hard for game developers, they put the most powerful hardware in the PS3 thinking the game developers would figure it out like they did with the PS2 but it kind of backfired on them.
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