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PlayStation (Games) Sony Entertainment Games

Sony Makes It Hard To Develop For the PS3 On Purpose 616

Posted by Soulskill
from the how's-that-working-out-for-you dept.
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."
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Sony Makes It Hard To Develop For the PS3 On Purpose

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  • by BadAnalogyGuy (945258) <BadAnalogyGuy@gmail.com> on Sunday March 01, 2009 @12:21PM (#27030259)

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

    Developers, Developers, Developers [youtube.com]

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by telchine (719345) *

      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.

      • by BadAnalogyGuy (945258) <BadAnalogyGuy@gmail.com> on Sunday March 01, 2009 @12:34PM (#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.

        • by Computershack (1143409) on Sunday March 01, 2009 @12:47PM (#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.

          • ... just because Sony decide to make it deliberately hard in order to artificially prolong the life of a console.

            I don't think the point is that Sony made it deliberately hard. Sony made a system with a lot of longevity, but the price for that longevity is complexity. It's the difference between developing something really easy to use where you'll max out its potential in a short time vs. something that's not very easy to use but you can do just about anything. A simple calculator vs. a reverse polish notation programmable calculator, for example.

            • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

              by default luser (529332)

              But you just can't do that anymore, and still expect developers to hang-on tight. Let's look at the progression.

              PlayStation: one of the easiest consoles to develop for at the time of release. Featured a single beefy processor, and a simple ploygon-based 3D rendering pipeline (minus a few features). Long-term improvement: people decried the CD media for it's slow load times, but then developers learned to stream data off the CD, making later games more fluid and much more immense.

              PlayStation 2: more diffi

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            I think this is a flamebait article. Of course Sony doesn't make it hard on purpose. What they have is a choice of hardware platforms on the table. Platform 1 is hard to develop for, however given quality programming, can provide great graphics. Platform 2 is easier to develop for, however does not have the same potential for optimization.

            Let say I sell plants. I have two choices of shelves on which I will store my plants for the customer to browse through. On one of them, the bottom shelf has 3 feet of roo

            • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

              by yo_tuco (795102)

              "Let say I sell plants."

              I would have preferred a car analogy. It would have not been as complex to develop your point and you'd have done it with fewer words.

        • by commodore64_love (1445365) on Sunday March 01, 2009 @12:59PM (#27030583) Journal

          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.

          • by Dogtanian (588974)

            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

          • by DavidTC (10147) <slas45dxsvadiv,vadiv&neverbox,com> on Sunday March 01, 2009 @02:04PM (#27031143) Homepage

            The real question that Sony should ask themselves is if people are going to buy a 9 year-old console to play a cool game?

            Or will they move over to MS's X-Box 720 or whatever and play the exact same game, along with a bunch of other games that came out at the same time as the 720 because, duh, it's easy to program for.

            I mean, duh, the XBox itself is a counterexample of this. MS essentially walked into the marketplace because programming for the XBox was easy if the game had a Windows version. Ease of programming=more games and better games.

            And Nintendo isn't giving a shit about 'utilizing hardware to the max', has essentially given up on building faster boxes, and has decided to build fun ones. (They have a point. Consoles really are fast enough to do essentially anything you want. Hell, my computer is fast enough to real-time near perfect 3D rendering.)

            I have a feeling that Sony is trying to pull off a NES, where some of the best games for that came out years later, but has forgotten that a) There were very little competitors at the time, and b) A lot of that was the entire industry maturing.

            (Before anyone think I'm being unfair, or if I'm just wrong about something, be aware I haven't had a console since the NES.)

            • by imboboage0 (876812) <imboboage0@gmail.com> on Sunday March 01, 2009 @02:39PM (#27031465) Homepage

              MS essentially walked into the marketplace because programming for the XBox was easy if the game had a Windows version. Ease of programming=more games and better games.

              Ouch. Yes, I'd say you are correct and I agree with you. Unfortunately, this has also resulted in games being programmed for the Xbox then ported to Windows. This leaves you with clunky interfaces and bugs that are nearly unbelieveable. One good example of this is GTA4. Designed with the Xbox in mind, it's been hell for anyone trying to run it under Windows.

              This isn't to say that there isn't hope. I'm just hoping developers will start paying some attention and realize that a console UI isn't fit for computers and the amount of bugs is just unacceptable.

              • by shutdown -p now (807394) on Sunday March 01, 2009 @03:39PM (#27031943) Journal

                Yes, I'd say you are correct and I agree with you. Unfortunately, this has also resulted in games being programmed for the Xbox then ported to Windows. This leaves you with clunky interfaces and bugs that are nearly unbelieveable. One good example of this is GTA4. Designed with the Xbox in mind, it's been hell for anyone trying to run it under Windows.

                While true, the question, as usual, is - who's to say that, if there were no XBox, there would be GTA4 for PC?

                I'd still rather take the bastardized console offspring over the complete lack of the game...

              • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

                by Rallion (711805)

                Though what you describe is quite common, there are an increasing number of counter-examples. By all accounts, Mass Effect is better on the PC than on the XBox, because they actually improved the interface. (I only played the XBox version myself, so I can't speak to that myself.) Mirror's Edge has better physics capabilities on PC. And I just downloaded and played through the new PC demo of The Last Remnant, a game that was panned for its technical problems when released on the console, but it ran beautiful

            • Its a good question with an answer already: PS2 the most played console of 2008 [theregister.co.uk].

              Please note the PS2 still sold 410 thousand consoles [digital-digest.com] in December of 2008. That's after already saturating the market with 43.6 million total sales.

              At $100, you can't beat buying a PS2 as a gaming platform. In five years' time, Sony hopes the PS3 will be in the same position.

              • by alienw (585907) <alienw...slashdot@@@gmail...com> on Sunday March 01, 2009 @05:48PM (#27033171)

                The PS3 will never be $100. Just like the Xbox was never $100, just like the 360 will never be $100. That's not possible when you need to have a hard drive, a Blu-ray drive, a fairly advanced processor that you don't manufacture, and expensive high-speed RAM. The only console that is cheap enough for this is the Wii -- it could already be sold for $100 if Nintendo wanted to do that.

                Besides, the PS3 is seriously lagging behind the 360 as far as games go. For the most part, the 360 has better games, better graphics, and better online play. Of course, some people buy both, simply because the 360 is a good console and the PS3 is a good Blu-ray player.

                • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

                  by AbRASiON (589899) *

                  The 360 does not blindly have 'the better games' in any way at all.
                  This is firstly a completely and utterly subjective thing.

                  Secondly, something which 360 gamers seem to blindly forget (time and time again) is that NOT EVERYONE OWNS A 360!
                  So right now there are PS2 / Xbox1 / GC owners who are looking for a new console, don't blindly assume they have a 360 and the PS3 offers no value.

                  About half of the 360's good games are ALREADY ON the PS3, as they are cross platform.
                  About half of the remaining half are com

                  • by Nebu (566313) <nebu&gta,igs,net> on Monday March 02, 2009 @12:24PM (#27041035) Homepage

                    I am tired of having to defend my purchase of the PS3 to people blindly assuming 'everyone has a 360, why get a PS3?'

                    Uh... why do you feel you need to defend your purchase of the PS3? I'm pretty confident nobody on the Internet really cares what you, personally, have bought and why.

                    If you're happy with your PS3, that's great. But any anguish from "having to defend" is just coming from within yourself. There will always be flame wars around consoles on the Internet. Learn to just relax and enjoy the consoles you own. Who cares what other people on the Internet think is the better console? If you're happy with your console, that's all that matters, right?

                • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

                  by pegasustonans (589396)

                  Besides, the PS3 is seriously lagging behind the 360 as far as games go. For the most part, the 360 has better games, better graphics, and better online play.

                  I'm tired of people dragging out this three-year-old argument. It's simply not true.

                  If Killzone 2 isn't enough to convince you that the consoles are an even playing-field, then how about these PS3 exclusives:

                  Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots
                  LittleBigPlanet
                  Resistance: Fall of Man
                  Resistance 2
                  Warhawk
                  Ratchet and Clank Future: Tools of Destruction
                  He

            • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

              by atraintocry (1183485)

              Offtopic: part of the reason that 8- and 16-bit era games got better towards the end of their systems' lives was because (a) as the price of ROM memory fell, you could squeeze in better graphics, (b) cartridge-based games means you can augment the console by putting a coprocessor right on the game board. The first one was especially pronounced with the NES, the second with the SNES. Sega took the opposite path, releasing new hardware every other week, and to nobody's surprise but theirs, they no longer sell

        • cell programming (Score:5, Insightful)

          by goombah99 (560566) on Sunday March 01, 2009 @01:07PM (#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 (Score:5, Interesting)

            by powerlord (28156) on Sunday March 01, 2009 @01:31PM (#27030869) Journal

            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: (Score:3, Insightful)

              by seebs (15766)

              I don't think they'll bother.

              Cell was designed when multicore was large and expensive, and GPUs weren't very good.

              Now, Cell's going to always have higher development costs than conventional multicore chips, and not much payoff for developers.

              Look at the difference between consumer-oriented video games and supercomputing. Supercomputing clusters can cost enough money that their power bill alone vastly exceeds the cost of all the software development ever done for them. Spending a bunch extra on development

            • Re:cell programming (Score:5, Interesting)

              by Weedlekin (836313) on Sunday March 01, 2009 @03:59PM (#27032109)

              "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."

              Apple moved away because IBM repeatedly failed to produce a low-power G5 suitable for laptop / notebook PCs. Being stuck with the ageing and increasingly anaemic-looking G4 line for portables was making Apple's offerings look worse in comparison with the competition every year, so Jobs eventually got fed up with being made to look like an idiot by repeatedly promising things that IBM said would be Available Real Soon(TM), and then failed to deliver.

              NB: the Cell microprocessor is a member of the IBM POWER line, so Sony are just as saddled with the PowerPC architecture as MS (and indeed Nintendo).

              • Re:cell programming (Score:4, Interesting)

                by powerlord (28156) on Sunday March 01, 2009 @05:06PM (#27032729) Journal

                You are absolutely correct that MS, Sony and Nintendo are all using the PowerPC architecture in their consoles (hence the reason people say IBM was the one who really "won" this generation), but MS is using the PowerPC chip as each of its cores in its multi-core design. Increasing its power while keeping the same architecture would mean increasing the number of PowerPC cores, or increasing the core's efficiency (either through design or clock speed). I thought one of the reasons that Apple left

                Nintendo is irrelevant to this discussion since I believe they could easily bump the current Wii's specs considering how "underpowered" most consider their design compared to the PS3 and 360.

                Sony is using the PowerPC chip as the main core to handle scheduling of the Cell's SPUs (the PPE), but most of the heavy lifting for the PS3 is accomplished in threads for the SPUs. Upping the speed and number of the SPUs should translate into a bump in speed (or increasing the number of Cell chips used), all of which could be done without directly affecting the need to significantly change the PPE.

                As it is existing PS3s only use six of the eight SPUs on a Cell due to initial poor yeilds with one SPU reserved for the OS, increased yields would probably put an extra SPU available to developers. IBM has also announced that it is going to be moving the Cell to a 45nm Fab and has announced quite a few roadmap improvements to the existing architecture without requiring a huge amount of design for a whole new platform.

          • debugging (Score:3, Informative)

            by igomaniac (409731)

            There is no doubt that multi-core, multi-cpu programming is the future, but at the moment the tools are bascially crap. At least with CUDA there's a programming paradigm that's actually usable, but there is still no way to debug your program. Well, you can run in emulation mode, but your code will run so slow it never gets to the point where the bug occurs -- and anyway if you have a non-trivial bug it won't behave the same. And CUDA has the _best_ of these next generation toolchains. Until you have real de

        • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

          by 0xygen (595606)

          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.

          • by alienw (585907) <alienw...slashdot@@@gmail...com> on Sunday March 01, 2009 @05:55PM (#27033235)

            Well, that's all nice when you have crappy competition like the N64, which was pretty much a complete bitch to program for. Unfortunately for Sony, Microsoft is extremely well positioned to compete with the PS3. They have excellent dev tools, a lot of experience with game APIs, and an understanding of what it takes to actually write games. Sony is fundamentally a hardware company that has no understanding of software development. The problem is, hardware is now a commodity. That is what bit them in the ass with music players, and it will bite them in the ass with consoles, too.

        • by Sparks23 (412116) on Sunday March 01, 2009 @01:21PM (#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.

        • by perlchild (582235)

          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.

        • by Pharmboy (216950) on Sunday March 01, 2009 @02:45PM (#27031517) Journal

          It would seem that they also believe that the singular reason a game is "good" is related to the programmer's understanding of the hardware. This just isn't true. Plenty of games have nice graphics and a horrid storyline, or are pretty to look at but clunky to play. If programmers spent less time figuring out the hardware, perhaps they could spend more time working on plot, playability, and flow. Or you can be Sony and make excuses after the fact.

          • by Draek (916851) on Sunday March 01, 2009 @08:04PM (#27034371)

            If programmers spent less time figuring out the hardware, perhaps they could spend more time working on plot, playability, and flow. Or you can be Sony and make excuses after the fact.

            Or you could let programmers worry about the programming and hire actual writers for the plot and, if the plot sucks, hire better writers, not call Bob from programming and tell him to start writing.

      • by svendsen (1029716)
        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.
      • by commodore64_love (1445365) on Sunday March 01, 2009 @12:50PM (#27030523) Journal

        Yeah but then you go to nintendo.com 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.

        • by hob42 (41735) <jupo42NO@SPAMgmail.com> on Sunday March 01, 2009 @02:13PM (#27031217) Homepage Journal

          Maybe there is a pattern, though? NES->SNES was consumer momentum... PS1->PS2 the same... but notice the switches between vendors is from a no platform to a yes platform.

          Just a thought.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by LearnToSpell (694184)
          Yes, no, yes, no, yes, no... You don't see a pattern there?!
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by frieko (855745)
        Great. Or:

        1. Make development easy
        2. Deny publication rights for games that suck
        3. ???
        4. Profit!
      • by Mascot (120795) on Sunday March 01, 2009 @12:59PM (#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: (Score:2, Interesting)

          by Dogtanian (588974)
          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
          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by CastrTroy (595695)
            VB isn't dying with .Net. There's VB.Net, and it's still going strong. In a lot of cases it gets new features before C# does. VB.Net is still a very good languages. You may not like the syntax. but it's just syntax, and some people like it.
          • by hairyfeet (841228) <bassbeast1968@@@gmail...com> on Sunday March 01, 2009 @03:38PM (#27031927) Journal

            You wanna know why VB was a good language and popular? As someone who deals with SOHOs and SMBs I can tell you quite easily. It is because VB6 was(and to an extent still is) the engine that small businesses run on. Why? Because they ALWAYS have some funky ass little job that needs an easy to use program to fill that would just be too damned expensive to have written by some big software house. Let me give an example that sadly I can't seem to find where I put the code to anymore.

            I was doing some work setting up the PCs for a junkyard/car repair shop. While there I noticed that they were always having to call a guy in or spend a lot of time pouring over these books. When I asked what they were doing they explained that they had 1000s of car and trucks spread out over 3 sites and would have trouble sometimes with finding where a particular make and model was or even if they had it. So I told them for $500 I could make that problem disappear by giving them a custom application that would track where the cars were. All they would have to do was input the data one time(or pay me an extra $200 to do it) and then add any new cars to the database. I promised that it would be simple to use and would show them mockups and customize it to their requirements. I cooked up a VB6 app linked to a database that would give them the choice of typing manually or using a pull down for make/model. Since they already labeled their lot by numbers such as B3, D4, etc it was trivial to have it call up a map JPG for whichever site it was along with the number. Last I heard they are still using it to this day and it takes them seconds to call up any car without needing to pour though books or call anyone off the job.

            And THAT is why VB6 is STILL even after all these years the #3 business language. For simple jobs where web access isn't required it allows for an app to be created quickly with minimum effort and at a price that even the smallest shops can afford. When you figure in the amount of man hours I saved that shop by giving them a simple way to keep track of their inventory I'm sure it payed for itself in a few weeks. It is fast, stable, does its job day after day without needing to pay for updates or maintenance. In short it just works. While I wouldn't even attempt some giant complex app in VB6 for these small jobs it simply can't be beat, at least IMHO.

            • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

              by i.r.id10t (595143)

              Yup, VB is the scripting language of choice for the GUI dependent Windows world... lord knows I did more than a few things with it that could be done with bash, etc. on a *nix system.

              Also, in the pre-server side scripting language days (before PHP, etc) it was also relatively easy to do basic CGI stuff with it...

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by Rimbo (139781)

            Actually, ever try programming in C on, say, an Apple //e?

            You can try it right now. Go get Virtual II or some other emulator, grab a copy of Aztec C compiler, and try it yourself.

            The reason BASIC was so popular back in the days of 8-bit PCs was because it was simpler than Assembly language, and the interpreter could easily fit in a very tiny amount of ROM; the programs themselves were efficiently-stored as well.

            On the flip side, C requires a compiler, a linker, a decent library to take advantage of the sys

    • by tixxit (1107127) on Sunday March 01, 2009 @12:52PM (#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).
      • by drinkypoo (153816) <martin.espinoza@gmail.com> on Sunday March 01, 2009 @03:38PM (#27031931) Homepage Journal

        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!

        Then I'd say you have to be an idiot to buy the PS3 until near the end of its lifespan, when the games are good, and the system is cheaper and has hopefully had most of the bugs worked out. Hell, if they continue to follow the PS2 model to the letter (so far, so good - they lied about the specs, lied about the release, brought out a system with a high failure rate... though not as high as Microsoft's, and made it hard to develop games for it) then they'll bring out a smaller, cooler version and everyone with a first-generation PS3 is really going to be kicking their own ass.

        It's interesting that Sony won their position at the top of the heap by making it easy to develop games on the original Playstation, and kicked the Sega Saturn's ass handily, mostly because it was much much harder to code for. Then they brought out the most complicated and wonky game console ever, which would have needed only a crappy development system with no documentation to be Sega Saturn MkII, while Sega brought out the relatively elegant and quite capable Dreamcast, only to have it murdered by Sony outright lying about the PS2's specifications and the console's lack of hardware-based DRM (seriously. at least on the Saturn you have to plug in a modchip, on the PS1 it's a pretty serious job and on the PSOne it's a terrible one. If you aren't exceptionally nimble-fingered, anyway.)

        If games for the Xbox 360 are already at their best, and games for the PS3 aren't, why on earth would I buy a PS3 now?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 01, 2009 @12:22PM (#27030279)

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

  • Brilliant! (Score:5, Funny)

    by DoofusOfDeath (636671) on Sunday March 01, 2009 @12:24PM (#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 [break.com] into a SDK philosophy.

    • by tixxit (1107127)
      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.
      • by aliquis (678370)

        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.)

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

  • Let darwin decide? (Score:5, Informative)

    by girlintraining (1395911) on Sunday March 01, 2009 @12:31PM (#27030383)

    I go to an obscure reference; Acts of Gord, specifically the Book of Chronicles, Chapter 1 [actsofgord.com], 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.

    • by Attaturk (695988) on Sunday March 01, 2009 @01:00PM (#27030589) Homepage

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

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

      • by alvinrod (889928)

        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

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by alienw (585907)

          Well, he didn't really succeed at it. I think he folded up shop after a couple of years.

          Also, I don't understand your attitude. For the most part, owning your own business is harder, less rewarding, and less productive than working for an established company. Unless you are an exceptional businessman, starting a company is difficult, risky, and a ton of work. If you have some new technology you are commercializing, at least there is a chance that someone will buy the company down the road. Otherwise, y

      • by Jerf (17166) on Sunday March 01, 2009 @01:16PM (#27030729) Journal

        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.

      • by V!NCENT (1105021)
        It's the right qualification for such a statement.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Blakey Rat (99501)

        I was playing Shadowrun the other day, and I said "mana" when referring to... well, "mana." Someone on my team said that Shadowrun doesn't use the term "mana" it uses "MP" (or something similar.) We got into this whole argument:
        * You knew what I meant so why correct me?
        * Every game uses "MP" or "Magic" and not the word "Mana" so you should have known that was the wrong term
        * Uh, the most popular game on Earth, World of Warcraft, uses the term "Mana" so I think people are going to know what the hell I mean

        Th

  • 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: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Your comment makes perfect sense except...there are 21 million PS3's in homes already. (See http://www.psxextreme.com/ps3-news/4653.html [psxextreme.com])

    • by commodore64_love (1445365) on Sunday March 01, 2009 @01:08PM (#27030667) Journal

      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.

      • by V!NCENT (1105021) on Sunday March 01, 2009 @01:28PM (#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?

        • by Darkness404 (1287218) on Sunday March 01, 2009 @05:46PM (#27033161)
          It is becoming increasingly obvious that most people just care about if a game is fun or not. For example, I don't care if I can count the hairs in Solid Snake's beard or not, so long as the game is fun. Sure, I'd rather the graphics not look like crap, but all the 3 major consoles (Wii, PS3 and 360) have decent enough graphics.

          This is why the Wii is dominating, it is focusing more on what makes games fun rather then proclaiming that they can put 34234234234234 scaling and rotating polygons on the screen all rendering withing .005 MS.

          Graphics != A good game. Sure, I'd rather have a game with good graphics then not, but really, if the same game was on the Wii, PS3, and 360 I'd pick the one that had the most content and best controls rather then the best graphics.
        • by Quarters (18322) on Sunday March 01, 2009 @06:17PM (#27033421)
          Right...so you actually think the 360 will die out because games may at some point look better on the PS3. Outside of platform exclusives, which are a dying breed of game anyway, no developer will ever utilize that extra oomph that they may be able to eek out of the PS3. There will never be enough ROI on PS3 only game sales to justify having one set of art assets for the 360 version of the game and a different set of art assets for the PS3 version.

          People don't care that game X has 20% more polygons than game Y. What they care about is owning a fun game that looks good. Developers care about being able to develop a game quickly, easily and on/under budget. The 360 provides all of that currently and will continue to do so. The PS3 is a PITA to work with now (yes, I am a dev), and it will continue to be a PITA to work with in the future. Whatever untapped potential the PS3 may have that is yet to be unlocked is not worth the time/expense it will take to find it. Especially not in this economy and especially not since the ratio of potential sales 360:PS3 is heavily weighted against the PS3 currently.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 01, 2009 @12:36PM (#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.

    • by swillden (191260)

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

      Apparently it's catching!

    • 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." :-(

    • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 01, 2009 @01:15PM (#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.
      Thanks

  • 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 a
    • by Zironic (1112127)

      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.

    • 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.

  • 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 gro

  • Pure Spin (Score:5, Interesting)

    by tkrotchko (124118) on Sunday March 01, 2009 @12:41PM (#27030471) Homepage

    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 (Score:5, Insightful)

      by syousef (465911) on Sunday March 01, 2009 @12:59PM (#27030579) Journal

      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.

  • Uhhhhh (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Sycraft-fu (314770) on Sunday March 01, 2009 @12:42PM (#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 (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Windrip (303053) on Sunday March 01, 2009 @12:45PM (#27030497) Journal

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

  • by olddotter (638430) on Sunday March 01, 2009 @12:49PM (#27030519) Homepage

    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.

  • by lseltzer (311306) on Sunday March 01, 2009 @01:06PM (#27030643)

    Yeah, I saw a video about this recently: Sony Releases New Stupid Piece Of Shit That Doesn't Fucking Work [theonion.com]

  • Basic question - how do I learn how to program for the PS3?
  • Some facts. (Score:4, Interesting)

    by FatherOfONe (515801) on Sunday March 01, 2009 @01:19PM (#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... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by macraig (621737) <mark DOT a DOT craig AT gmail DOT com> on Sunday March 01, 2009 @01:20PM (#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?

  • Exclusives.

  • 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

  • by fm6 (162816) on Sunday March 01, 2009 @04:25PM (#27032345) Homepage Journal

    This reminds me a lot of some nonsense Charles Petzold wrote in an early edition of "Programming Windows". As you'd expect, he starts with a "hello world" example. One expects such a basic program to be maybe a half-dozen lines, with only a line or two of logic, and the rest syntactic sugar. But Petzold's example covers almost two pages and is extremely dense and complicated code. And while this example is a little less elegant than it could be, there's not actually a lot you can do to make it shorter. He explains this by claiming that the Windows API is extremely powerful, and you can't have power without complexity.

    Obvious nonsense. Powerful development environments hide the complexity behind simple idioms. The real problem is that the developers who created the Windows APIs simply didn't bother to think through the use cases that programmers would have to deal with. (To be fair, early Mac and X Window APIs were even worse.) Petzold, out of loyalty to the environment he's documenting, rationalizes this problem away.

    Hirai is sort of making the same argument, but only as an afterthought. His main argument is a sort of reverse conspiracy theory, that making the platform hard to program for will has some weird positive benefit. Not clear what he thinks that benefit is — he probably doesn't know himself! In any case, he's just doing a lame "we meant to do that" rationalization.

  • by tgibbs (83782) on Sunday March 01, 2009 @05:25PM (#27032933)

    This seems to be a particularly idiotic attempt to "spin" what was actually said. There is nothing at all in the statement about Sony intentionally introducing programming obstacles.

    It is quite obvious that Hirai was explaining why Sony chose a powerful, if more difficult to program for, multiprocessor architecture over a simpler, less powerful architecture. Sony wanted a platform that would have enough power to sustain itself for 10 years. So they did not consider it to be a major detriment that developers would not immediately be able to unlock to full power of the architecture, because much of that power was intended to allow the console "room to grow."

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