If you were reading Ars about a decade ago, you might recall our extensive coverage of the mind-boggling architecture behind the PlayStation 3’s unique Cell processor. Many developers reportedly had trouble programming effectively for it. If you haven’t read all that yet, let Ars’ Jon Stokes sum it up for you: “…the PlayStation 3 was all about more: more hype and more programming headaches.”
Today we can add another posthumous log to that already burning fire of developer rage for the PlayStation 3 and the Cell architecture. Polyphony Digital CEO and Gran Turismo series lead Kazunori Yamauchi told IGN this week that working on the PS3 was “a real nightmare for us.”
After addressing declining sales for the two PS3 editions of the Gran Turismo series, Yamauchi was quick to blame Sony’s hardware for at least some of the series’ development problems. “The conditions for GT6 were really against us, especially because the PlayStation 3 hardware was a very difficult piece of hardware to develop for, and it caused a lot of stress for our development team,” he said.
The PS3s Gran Turismo 5 was famously delayed several times between its announcement in 2006 and its final release in late 2010 (Gran Turismo6 followed three years later). Yamauchi often cited his desire to create a “perfect” racing experience as the reason for those delays, but it sounds like the PS3 hardware’s programming headache may have played a part in it as well.
Sony seems to have responded to developer complaints when designing the PlayStation 4, which runs on the much simpler and familiar x86 processor. Yamauchi acknowledged those developer generational improvements in the IGN interview, saying that “compared to [the PS3]the PS4 is a piece of hardware that can really live up to our expectations.”
The PS4’s architectural improvements – and a willingness to wait well past launch to begin development – have seen work done Gran Turismo Sports a much nicer experience, Yamauchi said. “We’re having a lot of fun developing it, and we’re discovering a lot of things as we develop it,” he told IGN. “So it was actually good for us that we started developing later for PS4 because we really had time to do then [research and development] on the performance of the hardware that allows us to do things like physics-based rendering, so it was really good for us that we weren’t in a rush to get anything out.”