Sony says PS3 Intentionally Hard for Developers

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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  • "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 ?"

    If Kazuo Hirai truly believes this, then he is either incredibly stupid, or he thinks his audience is incredibly stupid (or gullible).

    What you do for the rest of the nine and a half years is simply make great games - and don't waste time and resources on getting to grips with the architecture.
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  • Oh, and I forgot to say I own a PS3 and think it has the best hardware (Blu-Ray, wireless, easy hard disk upgrade, noise, reliability), but the 360 has the best software (Live etc.). There's not much difference in the games at the moment, and I doubt there will be for many titles in the future due to the extra development costs for a higher quality release, but we may see occasional titles that look better on the PS3 as time goes on (Killzone 2 ?) I had a 360 but sold it after it got repaired (due to the RROD), but will be getting another one when the Jasper models become available (hopefully with better reliability).
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  • Intentionally Hard for Developers? So they had an easy version and then spent a lot of time and money thinking about how to make it harder?

    Or they made a system and didn't want to spend the extra to make it easy and thought nah - let them suffer, cost too much to add easy of use?

    And what would we gain? Its not like the first year of great games helps any sell consoles and build a commanding market share.
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