Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Sony Makes It Hard To Develop For the PS3 On Purpose

Soulskill posted more than 5 years ago | from the how's-that-working-out-for-you dept.

PlayStation (Games) 616

adeelarshad82 writes "CNet reports on a bizarre comment from Sony's Computer Entertainment CEO in response to complaints from developers on how hard it is to develop games for the Playstation 3. '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?' Given that games heavily drive console sales, and the fact that the PS3 is already 8 million units behind the Xbox 360, I think making a developer's job harder is the last thing Sony needs."

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

Call him Monkey Boy all you want (5, Insightful)

BadAnalogyGuy (945258) | more than 5 years ago | (#27030259)

Ballmer was absolutely correct in emphasizing the one thing that really matters for any platform.

Developers, Developers, Developers []

Re:Call him Monkey Boy all you want (3, Interesting)

telchine (719345) | more than 5 years ago | (#27030365)

I think this is quite a valid strategy. It's liek Visual Basic, it turns application development into a drag and drop excercise. Anyone can do it, even people who don't really understand programming! However that results in Visual Basic getting a bad reputation because anything that's written by bad programmers is going to end up a bit shoddy. Sony don't want their console associated with shoddy games. They'd prefer that only decent programmers create games for their system.

Re:Call him Monkey Boy all you want (5, Insightful)

BadAnalogyGuy (945258) | more than 5 years ago | (#27030405)

That really isn't what Hirai said, though. If I'm interpreting his comment correctly, he is saying that he wants to see a progression in quality over the 10 year lifespan of the PS3. The first games will take little advantage of the HW, but as time goes on and developers become more acquainted with the platform they create games that take more advantage of those HW features.

It sounds like a post-release justification for a massive blunder.

Re:Call him Monkey Boy all you want (5, Insightful)

Computershack (1143409) | more than 5 years ago | (#27030509)

The first games will take little advantage of the HW, but as time goes on and developers become more acquainted with the platform they create games that take more advantage of those HW features.

That's if they've not got sick of fighting the console and decided to put their development money elsewhere. Developing games costs a lot of money and there's not going to be many software houses happy about having to needlessly waste money on R&D just because Sony decide to make it deliberately hard in order to artificially prolong the life of a console.

Re:Call him Monkey Boy all you want (5, Informative)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 5 years ago | (#27030583)

It's true that end-of-life games are more-advanced, but that doesn't do much good if you're in a distant 3rd place. Some of the best Atari 7800 ProSystem games were made in the 1990, 5 years after release, but who cares? By that point it was a distant 3rd place behind the Master System and NES. The A7800 was a flop because it was too hard to program for. Same with the Jaguar of the early 90s. Same with the Sega Saturn of the mid-90s.

Too hard to program for == failure to impress gamers == flop.

Re:Call him Monkey Boy all you want (1)

Dogtanian (588974) | more than 5 years ago | (#27030793)

The A7800 was a flop because it was too hard to program for. Same with the Jaguar of the early 90s.

That was possibly one reason, but the other would have been that Atari couldn't market their way out of a wet paper bag.

The XE Games System wasn't exactly a shit-hot success either (*), despite being 100% compatible with the long-established 400/800 computers and their successors, which had years of development experience behind them. Even the older 5200 console was basically just 400/800-based-hardware (albeit with some stupid memory-map changes that rendered games not directly compatible).

(*) Though I think that was intended mainly for us Europeans who had a somewhat different market to the US and Japan. Even then Atari later released the 7800 here anyway- to no success whatsoever.

Re:Call him Monkey Boy all you want (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27030941)

I'm impressed by the games that are coming out on the PS3 though. Metal Gear and Killzone are easily the best looking games on any console.

cell programming (4, Insightful)

goombah99 (560566) | more than 5 years ago | (#27030665)

Multi-core and multi-cpu programming is the future. I include GPUs in this. And programming these using existing tools is sub optimal.

But it's a catch 22. Few people are going to get their fingers wet in GPU programming without bridge tools like CUDA and fortran wrappers that make it less painful to change over hardcore math libraries. Yet at the same time the resulting code is sub optimal. for example the zeroth order in tools in CUDA sweep the matrix multiply back from the GPU to the CPU memory-- which is not what you want if you are dooing two consecutive matrix multiples. But it gets you started. (I note that more advanced, less library bound, cuda programming get's around this, but only a fool would invest the time learn it before trying the simple way).

Cell programming is another knotch up in difficulty. So sub-optimal convestion approaches may not work well. You really need to program for the CELL. No one really is perfectly sure what the best way to exploit these things is.

I suspect SONY wants people to commit to figuring the CELL out rather than giving them tools to simply do ports. This is what he meant I think by "increasing quality".

I also suspect this means that games produced form the CELL wont back port easily since it will be so architecture specific. Which is also good for sony.

In the meantime if they sell half as many units as xbox 360, yet 100% of the game profits rather than say 10% of the came profits go to sony and committed exclusive cell programmers, SONY is coming out ahead.

Re:cell programming (4, Interesting)

powerlord (28156) | more than 5 years ago | (#27030869)

I also suspect that because the Cell is a new architecture with much longer "legs" they can design the PS4 as an incremental improvement over the PS3. Essentially a PS3 with a faster Cell and perhaps a full compliment of cores, more memory, throw in a possibly better graphics chip.

If they follow this strategy (which is very likely) then:

1) The PS4 would probably need a shorter development cycle since it would be an "evolutionary" hardware increase similar to spec-ing out a new PC, not a "revolutionary" increase like going from the PS2 to the PS3.

2) The PS4 would probably be able to have direct backward compatibility "built in" similar to the PS2 supporting PS1 hardware.

3) Any expertise a company gained with PS3 programming would be directly applicable to the PS4.

Nintendo's Wii2 should be fine from a hardware standpoint (bump the specs a bit more, maybe include low end HD graphics, but keep things "lite").
MS on the other hand have saddled themselves with a multi-core PowerPC architecture, that even Apple was moving aware from in their competition with MS. Which it may have worked for this generation of console, I wonder how expandable the design would be for the NEXT generation.

Re:cell programming (1)

Gorobei (127755) | more than 5 years ago | (#27030909)

Yeah, multi-core is clearly the future, but the future is too expensive for a single game-dev shop. You have to provide tools to abstract away the DMA transfers, the SIMD stuff, the chunk-size tuning, etc. At a minimum, you wind up with a functional language type framework, perhaps with classic imperative code at the bottom layer. Ideally, you also want a general parallel algorithm framework with good application tuning tools.

Even then, only 20% of current game developers are going to be able to use it effectively.

Total cost to create? Probably around $100M/year for 5 years, starting when the cell concept was first given the green light. Sadly, it's a bit late now.


Re:Call him Monkey Boy all you want (1, Interesting)

0xygen (595606) | more than 5 years ago | (#27030735)

PS1 and PS2 had the same development learning curve.

In the early PS1 days, a lot of people used the Sony provided libraries from the SDK.

As time went by, studios learned to master the hardware and use the limited resource more efficiently.

Same thing happened with PS2.

If they didn't want this to happen with PS3, I suspect they would have chosen a more conventional architecture and learned from what would have been the "mistakes" of two generations of consoles.

Re:Call him Monkey Boy all you want (5, Insightful)

Sparks23 (412116) | more than 5 years ago | (#27030785)

Except the PS2 was like this as well. (Albeit to a lesser degree.) Until later in the life-cycle, no one had really fully figured out what you could fully do with the hardware.

Speaking as someone who actually did work a bit on coding for the PS2 at a past job, my understanding is not that they /deliberately/ made the console difficult, but that they poured technology into the console without regard for saying 'this piece must be used in this way.' As such, people figured out their own paths (and innovated what was done on the platform).

In some ways, it's a valid strategy. PS2 games unquestionably got more advanced as people explored what they could do with the console's capabilities. (Granted, this understanding comes from other developers at the PS2 training seminar I went to, not officially from Sony themselves.)

Since different companies came up with different techniques (probably including some Sony didn't expect), there was some real variety in the games as well. But the PS2 was also the dominant console, hands down, and so developers were targeting that as their primary platform; they had the freedom to get into exploring the edges of the hardware and figuring out what they could do with future projects.

I suspect the same philosophy applies here. Not so much 'let's make it hard,' but 'let's put lots of power in this thing, and not provide guidance on any particular best way to use it all.' There's a sort of hacker beauty to 'there's no One Right Way, find your own.'

The issue this time around, of course, is that the Xbox 360 is 'good enough' for most gamers; even if the PS3 is more advanced, the 360 is a perfectly workable gaming platform and quite popular. Most major games need to release on both platforms, and so developers are generally not trying to innovate on the PS3 but just trying to take the same game and shoehorn it more or less equally onto both. And so the PS3's untapped potential becomes less a cool puzzle to figure out ('hey, look what I realized we can do!') and more of a higher bar to entry.

Re:Call him Monkey Boy all you want (1)

perlchild (582235) | more than 5 years ago | (#27030821)

I was thinking he meant they'd get the freedom to set the pace of development by gradually releasing better SDK and tools. But only to developers who released games on the ones they already have.

Re:Call him Monkey Boy all you want (1)

svendsen (1029716) | more than 5 years ago | (#27030443)

Now that's a strategy they dont teach you in business school. You want the hurdle to be high so your compliment products can't be developed as quickly or cheaply (money) which your product depends on for sales?

If sony didn't want their console associated with shoddy games then they certainly failed, just go to gamespot, IGN, etc and see how many crappy games are on the platform (like all consoles have).

Sony messed up and are trying to cover their asses with a lame ass statement.

Re:Call him Monkey Boy all you want (4, Interesting)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 5 years ago | (#27030523)

Yeah but then you go to and you read the exact-opposite (quoted from memory): "We made the Nintendo 64 too difficult to develop games, and therefore they made the Gamecube easy to program." The Wii is probably extremely-easy, since it's essentially a Cube with some improved specs. Wii's at the top of the pile as the best-selling unit.

Previous #1 console: Were they easy to program relative to their competitors?

PS2 - no.
PS1 - yes.
SNES - no.
NES - yes.
Atari VCS - no.

I guess there's no real pattern there; it's rather random.

Re:Call him Monkey Boy all you want (2, Interesting)

frieko (855745) | more than 5 years ago | (#27030535)

Great. Or:

1. Make development easy
2. Deny publication rights for games that suck
3. ???
4. Profit!

Re:Call him Monkey Boy all you want (1)

xch13fx (1463819) | more than 5 years ago | (#27030853)

I said this in the resident evil post here. []

So that means that they are not using the complexity of the cell processor for anything more then a 360 emulator

I hope someday I can be a playstation fan again. and the ps3 invents whole new genres like they did with the original two.

Re:Call him Monkey Boy all you want (4, Interesting)

Mascot (120795) | more than 5 years ago | (#27030575)

"Real programmers" love Visual Basic. It enables them to fulfil their customers' requests a lot quicker. Rather than spending a week in C they can spend a few hours in VB. This means happier customers, and more revenue.

The only ones that think Visual Basic has a bad reputation are kids in bedrooms that think there's some inherent value in using the lowest level language available, rather than the right tool for the job. VB isn't by any means the right tool for all jobs, but it is the right one for quite a few.

As for the actual topic, I agree with the others that feel this was just a very poorly phrased way of saying the architecture makes it complicated, but that it will pay off in the end. Having said that, the Sony person seems to equate "powerful hardware" with "difficult to develop for". That seems ridiculous.

Re:Call him Monkey Boy all you want (2, Interesting)

Dogtanian (588974) | more than 5 years ago | (#27030781)

I don't see anything inherently wrong with using a visual programming environment if it's the right tool for the job and you aren't using it as a crutch for your lack of skill.

However, Visual BASIC, the specific language? Ugh.

I used to program in old-school BASIC, but haven't used it for years... now, used to languages with C-derived syntax, VB seems horribly clunky and not easy to use, as basically used to be (supposedly).

Basically, I'm guessing VB was originally designed for people who were familiar with BASIC because back then it was "easier" than hard languages like C (and probably wasn't being used for such major projects that its inappropriateness wasn't such a problem).

I'd guess that it then retained BASIC style syntax over the years because it's what they were used to, even if it was clunky and now no easier to learn from scratch than C-syntaxed OO languages like C# if you weren't "locked in" to the BASIC way of doing things.

Fortunately, VB finally seems to be dying with the advent of .Net. Perhaps given the third choice of C# (rather than just C++) for Windows development and faced with having to change much of their Classic VB code for the not-really-compatible VB.Net, they realised that VB's dated approach was more hassle than it was worth, even for a dyed-in-the-wool user?

Re:Call him Monkey Boy all you want (1, Troll)

RCL (891376) | more than 5 years ago | (#27030857)

There's a lot more about programming than just "satisfying customers". Comparing VisualBasic "rapid programming" to "real" software products is like comparing tunes created for TV commercials and "real" music.

If you do programming for money only, then you will never advance above a certain, "good enough" level. That is a valid strategy, though. Not everyone wants to dedicate his/her entire life to a single activity.

Re:Call him Monkey Boy all you want (1)

xch13fx (1463819) | more than 5 years ago | (#27030921)

real programmers use alice and you all know it.

Re:Call him Monkey Boy all you want (4, Informative)

tixxit (1107127) | more than 5 years ago | (#27030533)

They did this same strategy with the PS2 and its emotion engine or whatever. I remember after about a year, hearing about how these first gen games still hadn't even used a good hunk of the PS2's power. Well, if you look at some of the games that came out over the next few years, I'd say they were right! And he is right, you are not really going to see a vast improvement in the games on the Xbox over the next years. Developers are already trying to max out the hardware. The PS3 may be tricky, but there is still huge room for improvement in games (and its not like they look bad already).

Re:Call him Monkey Boy all you want (1)

plasticsquirrel (637166) | more than 5 years ago | (#27030903)

To go one step further, this is the way things naturally worked out for the PS1 as well. By the end of the 90's, early PS1 games almost looked like they were developed for a different console altogether. Compare Battle Arena Toshinden to Tekken 3, or Twisted Metal to Vigilante 8, for instance. Developers became so good at milking all the power they could out of a 33MHz CPU and 2MB of RAM.

The results of developers becoming better and better and programming these systems are truly impressive. Of course, the only thing that kills these systems off is the next one in line. I'm sure we would have even more amazing Square RPG's today, for instance, if we were limited to the 32-bit PS1, and developers had to rely more on gameplay and innovation.

Sony is just going with the usual plan of not babying the developers too much. It will help their console mature in age too, just like it did with the last two.

Re:Call him Monkey Boy all you want (-1, Redundant)

Quarters (18322) | more than 5 years ago | (#27030979)

So I'll enjoy my 360 now and in 8-9 years when the, by Sony's own admission, good games come out on the PS3 I'll consider buying one. I sure hope Sony can survive 8-9 years without appreciable console sales since no one would want to waste their money on a piece of hardware that doesn't have an excellent game library for it.
Of course, by then, there's a good chance the next XBox, with it's easy to program for mentality and new powerful features, will be out and I may just be inclined to get that instead.

Straight from the OSS fanboi playbook (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27030279)

"We don't want stupid people using our stuff"

Re:Straight from the OSS fanboi playbook (4, Insightful)

aliquis (678370) | more than 5 years ago | (#27030691)

lol, it's funny because it's true.

Anyway, this CEOs claim is obviously bullshit or a translation made by the interviewer/whatever. No-one would make it hard to develop for their system on purpose, but it's a fact that people get the hang of it and as a result of that you may see more advanced titles further into the systems life.

He may have meant that they didn't wanted to cripple it for the sake of making it easier to code for since it would be around for a long time and people would get the hang of it sooner or later anyway.

Re:Straight from the OSS fanboi playbook (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27030915)

I wish I hadn't just used up all my modpoints.

Brilliant! (5, Funny)

DoofusOfDeath (636671) | more than 5 years ago | (#27030293)

1. Develop console containing pretty cool hardware.

2. Make it hard to develop, while Microsoft and Nintendo have the opposite goal.

3. In the early years of the console, have many fewer good games than XBox360 does. So constantly be at risk of not reaching critical mass.

4. ???

5. Profit!

Sounds like Sony turned this [] into a SDK philosophy.

Re:Brilliant! (1)

tixxit (1107127) | more than 5 years ago | (#27030585)

They followed a similar strategy with the PS2 and are likely trying to recreate it. However, PS2's only competitor was the Dreamcast (which was no 360 in terms of sales), this time Sony came into a market with a clear leader already. Nonetheless, I still want one.

Re:Brilliant! (1)

aliquis (678370) | more than 5 years ago | (#27030741)

Gamecube? Xbox? Though not released at that date but current gen wasn't all released at the same date either.

Guess one have to look at Ultra64 as a competitor if one don't look at NGC.

I too would want a PS3, but I won't buy one and wouldn't be able to afford the games so I would need to have it cracked. (Which is probably one huge reason they sell less.)

Re:Brilliant! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27030923)

If you afford a PS3 then you afford the games.
Except that you'll buy just a few, like most legitimate customers do.
Ok, now go back to your 100GB music collection.

Re:Brilliant! (1)

godless dave (844089) | more than 5 years ago | (#27030663)

Don't forget about charging more for your console than your competitors.

Re:Brilliant! (1)

aliquis (678370) | more than 5 years ago | (#27030751)

Worked good with the PS2. Price isn't everything, the Wii cost more than the 360 but is much less (computing-wise) capable.

Re:Brilliant! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27030883)

Yes, a Wii costs more than a bare bones 360. If you want any actual functionality from it, you're going to need to invest in upgrades.

Re:Brilliant! (1)

SailorSpork (1080153) | more than 5 years ago | (#27030863)

Yeah, whereas conversely, Nintendo's approach:
1. Make it fairly simple to develop for
2. Rake in money from swarms of 3rd party shovelware and the occasional 1st & 3rd party decent game
3. ...Profit

I'm the same way... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27030327)

...with people reading my code.

Python? (1)

Alvare (1430099) | more than 5 years ago | (#27030339)

So instead of Python I've to code in Fortran/QBASIC ? I'd already downloaded PyPS3 ....

Re:Python? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27030603)

python is vb for people that hate windows.

Re:Python? (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27030845)

python is vb for people that hate vb.


Seriously... have you even used Python and VB? They are both imperative languages--and that's about where the similarity ends.

Refine (0, Redundant)

Magreger_V (1441121) | more than 5 years ago | (#27030343)

I think what they are trying to say is they don't want just any jackass writing a game for there console. They want a smart jackass

Re:Refine (1)

Cathoderoytube (1088737) | more than 5 years ago | (#27030527)


Re:Refine (0, Flamebait)

V!NCENT (1105021) | more than 5 years ago | (#27030739)

The entire point of that is ofcourse that Windows for example is full of crap apps because any moron is able to write a Windows app. But what if you log in with a user account in XP? Yup... all apps you have require root.

I can imagine that Sony doesn't want to sacrifice good technology and doesn't want to dumb it down for the stupid but just says: "Ok this is a special piece of hardware. Unit x, y and z are for multithreaded number crunching, unit k is for the graphics, this is for that, etc. and go ahead and utilise it to make something awesome. If you can't do it than go make your crappy software for the Wii".

And guess what? All crappy games are out on the Wii and do not utilise shit. The graphics of most games are even poorer than on the Gamecube.

Re:Refine (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27030927)

>And guess what? All crappy games are out on the Wii and do not utilise shit. The graphics of most games are even poorer than on the Gamecube.

This, is one very sad truth...
It crushes me inside to see what Wii has become.
Not just that though, the games difficulties are so atrocious.
They aren't even trying anymore, screw the kids, add some damn depth to your games instead of "Thrust your arm forward to hit the ball"
Seriously, almost every damn game is a step-by-step guide!
Oh well, i will keep it for those few games i will enjoy.

Re:Refine (1)

aliquis (678370) | more than 5 years ago | (#27030787)

I think what they are trying to say is they don't want just any jackass writing a game for there console. They want a smart jackass

Guess it's the same for Nintendo:
Bob's game []

This is what happens... (1)

Max Threshold (540114) | more than 5 years ago | (#27030349)

...when you hire somebody to develop a business plan for a product, then lay them off [] and forget to adapt the plan to a changing market.

Hard to develop for "On Purpose"? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27030363)

It still remains easy to accidentally develop a PS3 game, however.

Sad attempt at saving face (1)

Zironic (1112127) | more than 5 years ago | (#27030371)

It seems he's realized that his console is losing the console war by a wide margin and all the developers hate him. I think even he knows that hard to program for in no way implies more power.

Re:Sad attempt at saving face (1)

V!NCENT (1105021) | more than 5 years ago | (#27030755)

Multithreading, 'nuff said. The PS3 is full of processing units.

Let darwin decide? (5, Informative)

girlintraining (1395911) | more than 5 years ago | (#27030383)

I go to an obscure reference; Acts of Gord, specifically the Book of Chronicles, Chapter 1 [] , wherein the great Gord spake thusly:

The public does NOT buy a system unless they feel it will give them lots of new games down the road. Look at MS. They are screaming "Xbox has
developers! Honest! More than we can fit into a bus!" which is the right approach. Joe Average will NOT buy a system if he feels that there won't be lots of new stuff coming out. And Nintendo burned a lot of bridges with their barren N64 release schedule for good games. They need to come out and say "hey! Hundreds of games are coming out!" except that would be a lie.

I highly encourage you all to go read Acts of Gord, not only because it's hilarious but because it's written by a guy who actually RAN a video game store. For several years. The bottom line is this: You screw the developers and no games get put out. No games = no consumer interest.

Re:Let darwin decide? (5, Funny)

Attaturk (695988) | more than 5 years ago | (#27030589)

...because it's written by a guy who actually RAN a video game store. For several years.

Wow. That's a mighty impressive qualification. ;)

Re:Let darwin decide? (1)

alvinrod (889928) | more than 5 years ago | (#27030725)

I know you're being sarcastic, but realistically we're talking about a guy who made a business for himself. How many people can actually say that they've tried to do that? How many more can say they've succeeded at it?

I don't think that the type of business he was running should even come into consideration. It's probably not fair to judge you, but statistically speaking, you probably work for someone else much the same as I do. Most of us don't own and operate our own businesses, but I'd rather be poor and my own boss than pulling in six figures working for someone else. Right now, that's not something feasible for me, but I hope that I can get there some day. I think I'd really enjoy the freedom that owning my own business might afford me.

More specifically, the fact that he was in the gaming industry and actually ran his own store does give him more authority on the subject than you or I could possibly muster unless we're somehow related to the industry. I don't know about you, but I mostly just play games.

Re:Let darwin decide? (5, Insightful)

Jerf (17166) | more than 5 years ago | (#27030729)

It puts you on the front line of seeing what decisions people are making and why. It's actually a very important perspective.

I am a developer for a company that sells products and provides in-house phone support. If you asked someone about my product and they piped up and then said at the end "I support this product", you might be tempted to say "Oh, you aren't a developer so you don't know what you're talking about." But the support dude has a better picture of some things than I do, because he's actually there, talking to customers directly, and part of my job is making sure I get that information from him. Because there's just no replacement for that sort of thing; the CEO is even further from customers than I am, my manager tries to keep on top of such things but still doesn't talk directly to customers as much as our support crew.

Of course, I have a better picture than the support dude does of some other things, too, but I'd be a moron if I discounted the support perspective because they're "below" me, or for some other dumb reason.

Running a game store may not qualify you to discuss video game company strategy, and actually Gord tries to sometimes IIRC and at that point I believe he oversteps a bit. But it's the best qualification there is for having a firm grasp on what people are looking for and how people buy, and you ignore that at your own peril... well, "your own peril" if you're a video game company, anyhow, you're probably not in any peril.

You can get this by being an employee too, but A: he did it for a very long time and B: being the business owner and being very, very directly affected by the issues will have a stronger focus on the issues than "somebody who works at Gamestop over Christmas" would.

Re:Let darwin decide? (1)

V!NCENT (1105021) | more than 5 years ago | (#27030771)

It's the right qualification for such a statement.

Re:Let darwin decide? (1)

91degrees (207121) | more than 5 years ago | (#27030997)

I really have to wonder what sort of carrot the manufacturers use to encourage developers to develop for their platform, pre-release.

It has to be a pretty big risk. It's possible that the console is barely going to sell at all.

Denial is a river in Egypt (1)

91degrees (207121) | more than 5 years ago | (#27030411)

No. No, we didn't screw up in our design or our developer tools. We meant to do it that way!

A Sony spokesman has said something similar before about the PSP's sticky buttons [] .

Is this something about Sony's culture or maybe Japanese culture in general?

Re:Denial is a river in Egypt (1)

LittleRunningGag (1124519) | more than 5 years ago | (#27030531)

It can't be.  Just look at the former PS models.  One of the things that Sony had going for it was the gigantic collection of games that were out for the PS1 and PS2.

Sure, not all of them were great, but there were so many games that it was hard to not to find something that you liked.  Even if the majority of them played like No More Heroes.

Number of reasons to make a console difficult (5, Insightful)

L-Train8 (70991) | more than 5 years ago | (#27030419)

There are a number of reasons to make a console hard to program for, but they all rely on a huge install base that the PS3 doesn't have. The article quotes a developer saying that if you are going to develop for multiple platforms, it is best to start with the PS3, because it will be easy to port to other systems than to port to the PS3. If there were 20 million PS3's in homes, this would ensure that the 360 and the Wii would be seeing lots of ports instead of original games. Another reason is that investment in programming knowledge and tools is very expensive, and once a studio has the expertise, they are likely to stick with the platform in order to maximize their investment. Sony was counting on a success similar to the PS2, were developers would have to program for the PS3 because that's where the users would be. Without it, the 'benefits' of a hard-to-program console become liabilities.

Re:Number of reasons to make a console difficult (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27030529)

Your comment makes perfect sense except...there are 21 million PS3's in homes already. (See [] )

Re:Number of reasons to make a console difficult (1)

geekboy642 (799087) | more than 5 years ago | (#27030891)

The average person still thinks 20 million is a lot. There's 28 million xbox360s in homes. Nexgenwars says there's 45 million Wii consoles plugged in, and in Hawaii I still can't find a store that can keep them on the shelf.
Being hard to develop for, AND being the least popular current console, both count for a lot to a developer or game studio.

Re:Number of reasons to make a console difficult (5, Informative)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 5 years ago | (#27030667)

Sony would have had a success if they had not priced PS3 at DOUBLE the price a console is supposed to be (around $300 historically).

Talk about shooting yourself in the foot. Sony priced themselves beyond the budget of most gamers, and those gamers quit #1 Sony (120 million PS2s and 100 million PS1s), and decided to try the reasonably-priced also-rans - Nintendo and Microsoft. Now the also-rans are the new dominators. Sony was foolish.

Re:Number of reasons to make a console difficult (3, Interesting)

V!NCENT (1105021) | more than 5 years ago | (#27030835)

Nobody has yet brought out a game that takes full power of the PS3. That's just like Metal Gear Solid 3 that brought HDR lightning, shaders, cool post-processing effects, briliant animation and a shitload of polygons to the PS2; it takes time.

What happens with the Xbox360? Developpers are taking the fullest out of the Xbox360 and therefore it will not, ever, bring you better graphics, so the lifetime of that console is about to run out.

Graphics on the PS3 will just keep on improving as the console gets cheaper and cheaper and in the end makes more revenue for Sony that the Xbox360 for Microsoft. Believe me when I say that the Xbox360 support will just drop like a stone when the next Xbox comes out, just like the Xbox1 when the 360 came out, while the PS3 will just like the PS2 be supported for many years.

How expensive was the PS2 when it was released? Yup... See what a succes that became?

In Defence of Sony... (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27030427)

I think what the CEO making the comment did a poor job of communicating. Also, the article title is a bit misleading.

I believe Sony aims to make a new architecture, which RESULTS it being hard to program for. But the beauty of a new architecture is that it can be very powerful if done right. And why not? You're aiming to get 10 years out of it (in PS3's case) and the hardware ain't gonna change.

Now to put things in perspective, I remember a comment being made about how in the PS1 era developers wanted more access to the hardware. Then came the PS2, which in the end was a little bit more to the metal then developers hoped for.
They then commented they wanted something easier.

So based on what I know about the PS3 (new architecture, but with lots of middleware), I think Sony has achieved this.

Is it still hard? Yes. Will developers get a grip on it and realize it's full potential? Quite possible.

Re:In Defence of Sony... (1)

swillden (191260) | more than 5 years ago | (#27030607)

I think what the CEO making the comment did a poor job of communicating.

Apparently it's catching!

Re:In Defence of Sony... (1)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 5 years ago | (#27030721)

That's what I used to say about my shiny Commodore Amiga (new breakthrough architecture, destined to be great, etcetera).

So where's my Amiga now?

"Commodore declared bankruptcy." :-(

Re:In Defence of Sony... (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27030727)

I work as a software developer for a prominent games development company. We make games for multiple platforms (Xbox 360,PS3,Wii,PC, PS2, Xbox, and of course in the past other consoles).

What we do is make a single common engine that runs on all platforms, this is so the people developing the actual game have a common and easy base to work from. (In theory)

Have you noticed multi platform games look better on the Xbox 360 vs the PS3 or PS3 ones come out way later? The simple reason is you have to sweat blood and tears to get the same performance out of the PS3 to match the Xbox. (Hear those thousands of screams out in the night? Those are PS3 developer! :)

Of course on paper the PS3 is more "powerful" (well besides the GPU which isn't), but spending an additional 12+ developer months to get the engine working at the same speed and quality which the competitors platform have from day one is bad for Sony.

I think we'd all agree spending that developer time on the actual game would be more beneficial!

Additionally Microsoft's developer tools are much more mature and user friendly.

Never attribute to malice... (2, Insightful)

orkybash (1013349) | more than 5 years ago | (#27030433)

I don't know if Sony intentionally obfuscated their API as the summary claims, but rather just didn't care about ease of development. Sounds to me like they're saying that developing for a cell architecture is necessarily hard, and they didn't want to compromise on the architecture because (as Sony has previously stated) the PS3 is supposed to last ten years instead of the typical 4-5. I guess the cell is supposed to be more longevous?

Of course, the end result, that developers are preferring the Xbox and Wii, is the same whether malice or just misguided...

Re:Never attribute to malice... (1)

Zironic (1112127) | more than 5 years ago | (#27030461)

Hard to program for gives no benefit in and off itself though.

It's all a question of, if we can get it to run X% better but it's Y% harder is it worth it?

Currently it looks like the PS3's X is to small for it's Y.

Re:Never attribute to malice... (1)

icebraining (1313345) | more than 5 years ago | (#27030587)

Is the PS3 "expandable", like the PCs? 'Cause it isn't very mind-blowing right now, compared to current PCs. Yes, it has the Cell and all that jazz, but the RSX isn't a full revolution in graphics chipsets, and ten years is a full era in computer evolution. The PS2 didn't look all that bad when it was released, but six years later (when the PS3 was released) it looked rather shady compared to what a computer could do.

Sounds like a (1)

JustNilt (984644) | more than 5 years ago | (#27030445)

typical CEO of a large corporation. You know ... seriously out of touch with reality. Sony has shown time and time again that it's simply out of touch with the average consumer. It was just a matter of time until they proved themselves out of touch with their critical partners in a business venture such as this. Without developers, there won't be any good games. If the platform is harder to program for, that means fewer good games and slower growth. Not exactly what most CEOs would want ... a slow growth in a major product that needs scale to become profitable.

Holy cow. to think i would ever say this in real (0)

unity100 (970058) | more than 5 years ago | (#27030453)




this is the STUPIDEST thing i have EVER heard in my life. god. i never thought that i would use this word in its real meaning, this bluntly. until now it was always some ironical, satirical, metaphorical usage. for the first time maybe in my slashdot membership, im calling someone and some idea, bluntly, stupid. unbelievable.

Re:Holy cow. to think i would ever say this in rea (1, Flamebait)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 5 years ago | (#27030701)

this is the STUPIDEST thing i have EVER heard in my life

wut? Did you miss the last 8 years of the GWB administration [] ?

Where you been?

Pure Spin (5, Interesting)

tkrotchko (124118) | more than 5 years ago | (#27030471)

This is a case of pure spin combined with a lack of english skills. Here's what he was trying to say:

"Our hardware is so powerful that *of course* it's hard to develop for. So to use the most advanced hardware in the world, only the smartest developers will take advantage of it".

That kind of spin may play in Japanese markets, but it just sounds dumb to everyone else.

Re:Pure Spin (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27030555)

This reminds me of the 1980's, when Intel's marketers were trying convince everyone that the segmented x86 architecture provided greater flexibility than Motorola's flat 32-bit address space.

If what you have is a rocky beach, tell everyone that a rocky beach is what they need to have the most fun.

Re:Pure Spin (5, Insightful)

syousef (465911) | more than 5 years ago | (#27030579)

I don't know. The number of times people have insisted that Visual Basic was bad because it was easy and therefore anyone could do it (meaning that incompetents jump in and do a poor job) on this board alone astounds me.

The reality is VB was bad because you could make a real mess of things even if you were a good programmer, and people abused it trying to force it to do things that really required something closer to the machine. It didn't help that it was proprietary and windows only either. The one thing that it and other Rapid Application Development languages like RAD did was get out of the programmers way and make it really easy to do things so that the coder could focus on the problem at hand not puzzle through dozens of APIs and scratch his (or her) head wondering how to get something simple done.

With a simple and easy API a moron will sure make a mess of things, but a GOOD coder will be able to stop focusing on the code grind and rise above to make programming magic.

I develop with J2EE and I absolutely miss and pine for the days when I could prototype a screen in under half an hour. What an over-engineered piece of turd with an extra dollop of XML hell and a heaped serve of Design Pattern madness all those frameworks are.

Re:Pure Spin (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27030981)

Just use VB for the prototype and stop complaining about tools which are not meant for done-in-30-minutes demos.

Sony Arrogance (1)

zaibazu (976612) | more than 5 years ago | (#27030477)

The PS3 has more Potential (tm) Demanding devs to code multithreaded in Assembly when the competitor is around the next corner with proven design is ridiculous. It will take some more years for developers to get better abstraction tools for the architecture, and by then the next xbox will be out.

Uhhhhh (5, Insightful)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | more than 5 years ago | (#27030479)

I'm going to hope that he just misspoke and what he was really trying to say is "Because our hardware is so advanced, it can't be made easy to develop for." I would hope he's really not so dumb as to think that deliberately making it hard to program for is a good thing.

However I fear his actual words have some truth to them. Not that Sony tried to make it hard on purpose, but that it is in fact hard, and won't be getting easier for two reasons: Sony doesn't really have an interest in making it easier. I think there's two reasons for this:

1) The Cell processor is, well, odd. What I mean by that is that it doesn't work like processors in the past. So tools that exist now aren't going to be good at dealing with it, nor is the knowledge that programmers have. It is different and that makes it hard.

2) Sony doesn't have good dev tools, and isn't good at making them. Because of the difference in the processor, making it easy would require some rocking dev tools form Sony. However they don't have those, and don't seem to have the people needed to make them.

So the combination of those gives you a situation where game programmers are being asked to figure shit out, and it seems that Sony thinks that's ok. They figure you ought to.

Well that's a program, especially when MS is your competition. Say what you like about them, but they've got really slick dev tools. Visual Studio is a really slick development environment, and that's what you get to use for Xbox 360 development. What's more, it is something that many programmers are quite familiar with, since it is often what's used to write PC games. Add to that the fact that the 360's hardware is far more like a PC than the PS3 and you've got a platform that is much easier to develop for.

Personally I can't figure out why the hell Sony put the Cell in the PS3. Seems like a really retarded move. When the PS3 came out, the Cell was a brand new architecture. Hell the first thing I ever saw on the market with a Cell was a PS3 (you can now get other things like processing cards for PCs). Ok well a mass market consumer electronics device is NOT where I'd choose to test a new architecture. Start that shit out in research computer (like the aforementioned cards) and then maybe servers and super computers and such. Give it some years on the market for people to get used to it, and for the kinks to be worked out, then look at tossing it in mass market devices.

So who knows, maybe they are right and maybe there is tons of untapped potential. However it also might not matter. If your console is hard to program for, developers may just elect to give it a miss, and thus so may consumers. That does seem to be what is happening. Nintendo and MS are outselling Sony by a good margin. Just because the PS3 might be more powerful (and who knows if that's true or not) doesn't matter if the end result is that it is hard to make games for.

Heck, ask Sega about that. That was one of the things that really hosed the Saturn. It was actually a fairly powerful console. However it was rather hard to develop for. It didn't work like most other consoles and PCs (for example it used quadrilaterals instead of triangles as fundamental surfaces) and it had poor dev tools. As a result many games didn't look as good on it as on other consoles, even though they could have in theory, and other developers simply gave it a miss.

The PS3 seems to be in a somewhat similar situation, and the remarks from Sony do not bode well for that changing.

Forth (2, Interesting)

Windrip (303053) | more than 5 years ago | (#27030497)

From the DDJ article, this looks like an interesting machine for which to develop a Forth engine. How do I get one of these?

Re:Forth (2, Funny)

Kamineko (851857) | more than 5 years ago | (#27030919)

It's logical. The PS2 was the third place, so the PS3 gets Forth.

2015 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27030503)

By 2015 the devs will have figured out how to use the PS3 to its fullest capacity.
And then it will be the year of the PS3 [] . The count down has begun.

Just when you think they can't make things worse. (2, Interesting)

olddotter (638430) | more than 5 years ago | (#27030519)

Wow. Just when you thing they can't shoot themselves in the foot again. (Hasn't Sony run out of feet?)

Apple gets it, see the App Store for the iPhone. Microsoft gets it, they really focus on wooing developers.

Hopefully this was an idea lost in translation. If he said "Its not easy to develop for because if we focus on that, then it wouldn't be the console with the most FLOPS."; then I could deal with.

Sony losses money on the console. They need titles to make money on the over all project. To get titles they need developers. They need a VERY low cost PS3 developer boot camp to teach the tricks of the console and to encourage developers to write more games.

Just wondering ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27030537)

How many people complaining something is "difficult to program" really have desire, and probably more important, *ability* to program it?

I really get tired when I argued some algorithm parallelization issues on Cell with someone for hours, only find he actually don't know what "DMA" and "Virtual Memory Paging" means.

Take it all with a grain of salt (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27030611)

Is that what he said or is that what he meant or...?

If you weren't raised in Japanese culture or you don't have a major degree in linguistics, then be careful of any direct translations between languages.

Actually, that's good advice for any language translations.

Slashdot is getting progressively dumber (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27030625)

This was a comment made months ago and slashdot is bringing it to light now. Not to mention taking it out of context.

For one its broken english. Since when to asians speak with the completely correct words. Two by this comment he meant its difficult to program for because it is so powerful and given the cell architecture.

It ensures that any good developers that spend time will get good results. If they do not then you end up with games just like the 360 (take all multiplats).

Seriously I would have hoped Slashdot would have put a little more thought into posts especially when it comes to the console wars. This website is getting progressively worse and news for nerds is becoming extremely biased when it comes to many things. ...oh and stop trying to add 1 line jokes and comments to posts. It friggin ridiculous. ...go ahead mod it down wussies.

Sony still haven't learned (1, Insightful)

iregisteredjustforth (1155123) | more than 5 years ago | (#27030669)

I work for a game developer that makes multi-platform games and our programmers hate coding for the PS3. It always makes me chuckle seeing fanboys shouting console x can do this and console y can't do that - the irony being most multi platform games are essentially clones of each other, so being unable to do something on one console means the other doesn't get it even if it could.

This is another great example of Sony thinking they are better than anyone else because they dominated the last 2 generations of consoles. In reality the PS3 is very similar to the 360 and developers essentialy see them as two sides of the same coin. Nice to see they also haven't learned the lesson of don't let you're ceo's / public figures behave like egotistical dicks yet.

The highlight (1)

Snowspinner (627098) | more than 5 years ago | (#27030695)

The highlight of the article is really where he says that being difficult to program for just means that the system offers more opportunities.

I mean, if that was their goal, they should have required coding in INTERCAL.

How do I program? (1)

aacool (700143) | more than 5 years ago | (#27030699)

Basic question - how do I learn how to program for the PS3?

Re:How do I program? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27030815)

Sacrifice your first born to the Sony CEO.

8 million (1)

Rik Sweeney (471717) | more than 5 years ago | (#27030747)

and the fact that the PS3 is already 8 million units behind the Xbox 360

Umm, the 360 had nearly a year's head start.

Re:8 million (1)

Kneo24 (688412) | more than 5 years ago | (#27030973)

So? The Wii came out at around the same time as the PS3. Time frame isn't necessarily important if you can market your product right.

Some facts. (3, Interesting)

FatherOfONe (515801) | more than 5 years ago | (#27030769)

1. The Xbox 360 was release a year before the PS3 and with that year head start it gained around 7 million users. If you trust Microsoft they sold 10 million the first year! So given that it was around 7 million units sold. The 360 and the PS3 have been selling around the same amount from launch.
2. The Wii is also hard to develop for yet it is selling at around a 2 to 3 times clip of the 360 and PS3.
3. The guy's point was that they could make a system that is easier to develop for at the cost of longevity. In short he is saying to get a 10 year lifespan Sony had to go with something like the Cell and it's 8 SPE's. It is harder to develop for than one core but the payoff over time is worth it. Developers (myself included) are being pushed now to a different style of development and the days of more GHZ every year or so are over. The days of more cores/SPE's are here to stay.

Now my opinion. Sony included a HD, BluRay and Blue Tooth in every console. This was expensive, and a high risk; specifically including BluRay. Will it pay off? Who knows, and given the depression that the U.S. is probably going to hit (given the latest budget bill), disposable income will be very tight. However, BluRay is now the defacto standard for HD movies because of the PS3. What media will the next Xbox use? What about the next Nintendo? Will it be download only? Try telling gamestop, Wallmart, and the other retailers that they won't be selling games at their stores any more... Let the nuclear war begin. Did anyone see what happened when Sony released Warhawk online and in the store?

Sony decided to go with Nvidia and include 256MB of video memory and 256MB of System RAM. In my belief this was the mistake. Then again I realize that they couldn't make a $1,000 console. If it was me I probably would have scrapped BluRay and added more RAM. I would have then kept the cost around the same, released the same time as the 360. I would have also made a version of Linux the default OS for the system.

Now all three consoles have some great games (my opinion again). Nintendo owns the kids and casuals, but their 3rd party support can't seem to crack large sales numbers. The 360 has a good user base even with the greater than 30% hardware failure rate of the system. The $200 price tag is helping the system a ton. Yet that is the problem for the future in that the $200 system is lacking a HD and thus developers can't rely on it. Sony also has a nice install base but has one HUGE problem. Price. At $400-$500 it is priced out of the market of normal people. "If" Sony gets the price down to $300 soon then they should be fine. By fine I mean they will compete nicely with the other consoles this year.

Lastly, It is apparent to me that Microsoft is a software company (30% failure rate!), Sony is a hardware company (development kits are not that good), but the hardware is the best, and Nintendo is a game company.

Remember, folks... (2, Interesting)

macraig (621737) | more than 5 years ago | (#27030779)

... this is precisely the same (Sony) mindset that gave breech birth to Sony's rootkit DRM and Sony's pointlessly proprietary Memory Stick format, etc, etc, etc.

This is a company so irretrievably mired in proprietary thinking that it will be a miracle if it survives the coming revolution. Sony will likely wither and die rather than adapt to the emerging open source "standard". To steal a word from the Obama Revolution:

Open Source == transparency

I don't think the forces of greed can stop the revolution this time. Either ya get on board this love train or get left behind! Are ya listening, Sony?

One word: (1)

Steauengeglase (512315) | more than 5 years ago | (#27030811)


You thought the PS3 was hard? Try a mobile (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27030813)

Try programming for the iPhone or Android, and you'll see how quickly things become hard to program.

See in C, you just do stuff, but OBJC you have to do stuff and tell sub processes to do stuff. And your app dies the second the user gets a phone call, etc.

In Java (which is the android) you have... um xml and Java, and... what the hell is it doing??? Good god most of the SDK has no documentation. I was happy to run back to the iPhone.

I would have been much happier to program either of these devices in straight C, but because both of the devices have to run threaded and behave well with other applications, nope, can't monopolize the resources. :p

platform longevity? (1)

ConfusedVorlon (657247) | more than 5 years ago | (#27030841)

perhaps I'm misreading this - but it seems to me he is saying something about how the 'hardness' will mean developers take a while to figure out how to use the platform - and therefore, games will get better over time on the same platform.

e.g. if developers could use all the power easily now, then they would release 100qual (arbitary units of quality) games now, and would still be releasing 100qual games in 10 years.

With the 'hardness' of the platform, we get 50qual games now, 55qual next year and so on, so the platform doesn't start to look dated until 10 years from now.

still sounds crazy to me - but an interesting (post?)justification

Maybe he was drunk (1)

Alcoholist (160427) | more than 5 years ago | (#27030847)

It makes responding to all those nitwit questions from reporters so much more fun.

this policy could have made sense (2, Interesting)

Sir_Sri (199544) | more than 5 years ago | (#27030931)

Basic ides: If the PS3 is sufficently unique it won't be worth the effort to port it to other consoles. A future looking architecture is a many core system, and we can continue, with the PS4 to use a better version of said new architecture.

Bad assumption: All of the PS2 devs who were exclusive would stay that way.

Bad business: Not paying for exclusives. If sony had opened up the wallet and left the 360 with Halo as it's only real platform exclusive the PS3 would be doing much better. Losing FF13 and GTA (as exclusives) was a really bad move on their part, there are other titles too.

Bad technology: The PS3 is marginally more powerful than the 360, but in the wrong area. nVIDIA is mostly right on this, any half decent CPU is fast enough for whatever you want to do. The Cell is an expensive CPU design, which even fully utilized doesn't add a whole lot to the gameplay experience. The conole also launched a year after the 360, it should have been significantly more powerful. Sony would have made their lives much easier if they had put 2GiB of memory in the system and a variant on the 8800 rather than 7800, then a game written for the PS3 would in some respects be clearly better than its 360 counterpart. Developers would be able to easily exploit some of that power (notably RAM), and customers would see a real tangible benefit.

Other bad technical: The hard drive used is a notebook drive. This adds no functionality, but increases cost. One can argue blu-ray until you're blu in the face, it at least adds functionality, and IMO is a big contributor to why blu ray won the format war. But the hard drive...just wtf? Stripping BC from later consoles was really bad too. I just got Killzone2, in anticipation I went and played through Killzone 1 again, to get a feel for the world again. Try doing that on a new PS3

Where to go in future: Sony needs to launch a PS4 the moment dx11 is finalized, and hope MS isn't doing the same. A PS4 with 28 cell processor, 4 GiB of ram and a directx11 compatible video card. It would be fully BC with the current PS3, relatively easy to develop for when going from the PS3 development, and be so clearly better than the Xbox360. MS has a problem, their architecture died and became the Cell. They could go back to intel/AMD (like the xbox) but that pretty much tosses BC. They have the clear advantage in dev tools and being behind a lot of DX11. But then is the Xbox3 going to be "Now with the cell and blu ray"? That's not going to make for good marketting. If they go the "Now with an intel CPU" route they're back to competing with themselves on the PC. MS also has a harder time justifying a new console, they're sort of winning, but not making much money. Making another huge investment in console R&D in that position would be unpopular. Sony is losing, they want to stop losing, that justifies more money.

He's a CEO... (1)

billybob_jcv (967047) | more than 5 years ago | (#27030933)

...and you expect him to answer a question about a development environment? Riiiiiight...
Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?