Developers playing bigger role in next PlayStation

PlayStation 3 was widely regarded at its launch as a difficult platform for video game makers to develop for. Sony is apparently trying to avoid the same mistake twice.

Don Reisinger
CNET contributor Don Reisinger is a technology columnist who has covered everything from HDTVs to computers to Flowbee Haircut Systems. Besides his work with CNET, Don's work has been featured in a variety of other publications including PC World and a host of Ziff-Davis publications.
Don Reisinger
2 min read
The next PlayStation is trying to be more dev-friendly.
Sony is trying to make the next PlayStation more dev-friendly than the PS3. Sony

In an attempt to make the next PlayStation more developer-friendly than the current version, Sony is enlisting the help of its in-house developers, according to a top company executive.

Shuhei Yoshida, head of Sony's network of game developers called Worldwide Studios, recently told Develop Magazine that one of the first things Kaz Hirai, CEO of Sony Computer Entertainment, did when he took over the company's gaming subsidiary was bring "Worldwide Studios in on hardware development."

Yoshida went on to say that Hirai "wanted developers in meetings at the very beginning of [the conception of the] new hardware, and he demanded Sony Computer Entertainment people talk to [developers]."

It could be a smart move for Sony. The PlayStation 3, especially when it first launched, was panned by some developers who said the platform was too difficult to create games for. Even Sony has acknowledged that its platform is hard to develop for.

"We don't provide the 'easy to program for' console that developers want," Hirai said back in 2009, "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?'"

It's an interesting take. But it seems to be one that Hirai has backed off from. In the gaming business, helping developers create games as efficiently as possible is a key success factor for hardware makers. By enlisting the help of its developers to make the next PlayStation more dev-friendly, Sony is changing its stance and probably making the right move.

Of course, determining exactly what Sony is using developers for is anyone's guess. Yoshida would only say that the company is undertaking "many activities that we haven't yet been talking about in public. Some future platform-related activities."