The development world has changed, and so have we, says SCE chief
PS Vita is the easiest PlayStation platform yet to build games for, Sony’s top development executives have said.
Several Sony top brass, each involved in creating the new handheld, say PS Vita’s more welcoming development environment trumps that offered by any previous Sony platform.
Speaking with Develop, SCE Worldwide Studios boss Shuhei Yoshida admitted that Sony’s previous gaming platforms had been what he described as “peaky”, testing even the best of developers.
Speaking of Sony consoles prior to Vita, specifically PS3, Yoshida said “it had very, very high potential and peak performance, but programming for the PlayStation platforms was a huge challenge for game developers.”
Sony’s old habit of building powerful yet complex platforms was due to its former SCE chief Ken Kutaragi.
“In a sense, Kutaragi was enjoying challenging game developers,” said Yoshida.
“He was especially challenging the top programmers in the world to come up with something amazing to make use of the performance of each iteration of the PlayStation platforms.
“That was very good – it was great – for the teams with engineers who liked the challenge, but the world has now changed, and today there is a much larger community of developers,” added Yoshida.
“The focus has shifted to be less about getting the most out of the hardware, to be about having a very smooth production process. That’s because now it involves so many more people to make one game.”
The Sony executive added that the shift of focus was particularly relevant for those third-party publishers which are charged with making sure developer’s games work across multiple platforms.
“Development efficiency has become more and more important,” said Yoshida.
The SCE WWS head was not the only Sony senior to make clear to Develop that relative simplicity of development has been a core focus in creating the Vita.
“When it comes to ease of development, the Vita is a platform with which we’ve been very mindful of that,” stated Michael Denny, senior vice president of SCE Worldwide Studios.
“In terms of smoothing the development process, certainly what the Vita offers is close to that of the PSP, and with some of the help we’re giving to developers, I would say it is the easiest and most well supported platform yet.
“In terms of performance, and the graphics power and programmable shaders and so on, what you can get out of it is far closer to PS3. It’s a great contrast of ease of development to the output you get from the system.”
WWS CTO Richard Lee confirmed Denny’s assertion that ease of development was fundamental to the Vita’s design.
“We made every effort to make it as easy as possible,” said Lee.
“I think we took the experiences from PS3, and decided that we wanted to go out there with a great developer environment that is compatible with the third party tools that developers normally use.
“There’s never been anything like this on a PlayStation platform. It is a great development environment, and the stuff that is available before launch is really good in terms of helping developers with performance tuning an so on.”