Sony Worldwide Studios president Shuhei Yoshida says the biggest challenge with the PS4 was to make it attractive to third-party developers.
“We need to make sure users consider the PS4 version to be the best and the one they want to play,” said Sony Worldwide president Shuhei Yoshida to Japanese publication 4gamer.net. “That might mean that the graphics are better, the controller is more comfortable, or the console is more user-friendly, like you don’t have to turn the power on and off or you can switch between your game and Netflix at will. Those things will become key.” Yoshida discussed at length the PS4’s focus on third party development, along with the limitations of the “share button,” and where the PS4 stands on the “war for the living room.”
Yoshida says that the biggest challenge Sony faced in the PS4’s development was trying to make the machine friendlier for third-party developers to make games for. “Even we, had a hard time developing for PS3 [at first]. But third parties had real trouble developing or porting games, because [the system] was so different,” explains Yoshida, mirroring comments from big-name third-party developers such as Bethesda, who have run into difficulties with the PS3 ports of its games in the past.
The PS3 has seen some amazing games squeezed out of its aging and complicated hardware, but Yoshida says for the PS4 they really want to create a better development environment for third-party developers right from the start. He confirms that the inclusion a massive 8GB RAM for the PS4 was a response to demands from developers who struggled with the PS3’s sparse 256MB RAM. “There is a saying that the ease of making something goes hand in hand with the ease of doing business. So we want to make it easier to do business and to build an ecosystem.”
“It’s difficult to believe that games like The Last Of Us and Beyond: Two Souls are running on exactly the same hardware as those early games. Those developers have studied hard to make a great PS3 game. But it’s taken a long time [for developers] to reach this point. This time we’re considering how to create a better development environment for third parties from the start”
The “share” button is one of the most touted features of Sony’s upcoming console, giving players a dedicated button to desperately try and show off their wicked sick Call of Duty highlights to their friends. It will however, come with a few limitations, as Yoshida explains: “There will be parts of a game that the maker does not want people to be able to see,” he said. “For example, on Vita, developers can in certain scenes disable the feature that lets users take a screenshot, and [the Share function] will have a similar mechanism. The creator may not want to make video of the final boss sharable, for instance.”
“In terms of the ‘war for the living room’, we have no intention of abandoning that approach. After all, Sony is a company that has a long history of making audio-visual products that are designed for the living room, so this is a natural course for us,” said Yoshida. He said when the PS4 was first revealed, they wanted to focus on the most important aspect of the console: that it is a gaming machine, hence the multimedia aspects of the system were slightly downplayed.