Sony Knows What Went Wrong With the PS3

Illustration for article titled Sony Knows What Went Wrong With the PS3

In a non-exclusive round table with various outlets like us, Kotaku and Engadget this morning, Sony Computer Entertainment America's CEO Jack Tretton gave us some great looks behind the public curtain of the PlayStation brand. In short, they know what's wrong with the way they made the PS3, and they know how to fix it. In Jack's words, "we know what we're doing," but it's going to take a long time to atone for past missteps.

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As everyone knows, Sony is a hardware company. But when making the PlayStation(s), they've become a software company as well. The problem came from the fact that they didn't know whether they're a software company or a hardware company or even both, which influenced the way the PS3 was developed. In this case, the hardware guys developed the console fairly independently then dumped it onto the software guy's lap, effectively saying "do something with it." In essence, as Tretton says, the PS3 was not developed in collaboration between the two teams. As a result of this, the software team has been cleaning up the mess made by the hardware team for years.

This is one of the biggest problems with Sony as a whole. Their UI designs are not as good as they could be because much of the company still sees themselves as a hardware force first and a software firm second. Hopefully with previous boss Ken Kutaragi out and guys like Kaz Hirai and Jack Tretton influencing development on the sure-to-be-upcoming PlayStation 4, things will be better in the next generation.

DISCUSSION

Too address an Apple comment made earlier, Apple makes it its mission to insure that the software runs the way it should on the hardware it uses it on. It's well known that Apple Hardware and Apple Software are like two peas in a pod.

Now don't call me a Apple/Mac Fanboy because I run XP SP2 (haven't even updated to SP3 yet) and Ubuntu on a seperate partition, the only Apple product I have is a 2G iPod Nano . But I definitely will say OSX is extremely stable and definitely less error prone than Windows because of the fact that the software and hardware are both controlled.

Now onto the topic of the PS3, Sony has a track record of using new hardware for consoles that programmers are not familiar with and it started with the PS2 and it's "Emotion Engine" and don't give me no guff (lol I like that word) about the PS2 being all great and mighty because we didn't see it's true potential til very late in its life like God of War, MGS: 3 Snake Eater ect. it took programmers a VERY long time to perfect it, while other programmers saw how easy it was to develop games on the Xbox (which used an intel processor and an nvidia GPU, familar stuff none of this "emotion engine" shit.

Now here we are years later and back in a similar situation PS3 and it's "Cell" technology which is still very unfamiliar to programmers which probably makes it a bitch to develop games on. The Xbox 360 uses IBM PPC CPU and an ATI GPU (pretty run of the mill stuff). Sony needs to cut their shit and stop using newly developed, untested, technology and use stuff that programmers are familiar with and easy to develop games on.

For the record I had a PS3 for about 4 months and eventually sold it to a friend, great system, too many shortcomings for me. I'll probably buy it again when things finally smooth out and they come out with everything that my Xbox 360 already does.