PS3′s puzzling architecture led to a weak launch lineup and a change in attitude, says Mark Cerny
PS3 had a weak launch lineup because developers found it so difficult to work with – a consequence of Sony’s ’99 per cent hardware, one per cent software’ focus, Mark Cerny has said.
PS4’s lead system architect took to the stage at Barcelona Gamelab event today to tell the story of his career to date, revealing the hard lessons learned within Sony from the PS3 launch.
He described working with PS3’s Cell processor as “like a puzzle,” which, if solved, had huge potential. Early on in the console development, Cerny was tasked with creating a tech demo with the hardware to show Sony’s internal teams, a test he believed he’d passed. But he conceded that he “wasn’t thinking about the practical realities of game development,” and while Cerny and his fellow firstparty teams had “cracked the code,” thirdparties were struggling.
“Our feeling was that EA and Rockstar better watch out. This was, of course, completely the wrong attitude. Were were thinking abut about our games and not the platform,” said Cerny. He described Sony’s focus at the time as ‘99 per cent hardware, one per cent software,’ which led to a “weak lineup”.
At PS3’s launch, “The entire dev environment was in a very primitive state,” continued Cerny. At this point, Sony’s priorities shifted – the platform holder realised that thirdparties were essential for PS3’s ultimate success, and there was “a complete turnaround in attitude.”
With PS4, “we didn’t want the hardware to be a puzzle,” said Cerny. He wanted developers to encounter familiar hardware, but with potential to explore and get greater performance from it further into the console lifecycle. “The concept is that as game developers learn to use these techniques later on in the lifecycle, and we’ll see richer worlds.” Creating PS4 was a “fundamentally developer-driven process,” added Cerny.
There’s plenty more about PS4’s creation elsewhere on the site, including an in-depth Shuhei Yoshida interview, and Michael Denny’s take on the creation of Sony’s next console.