We've been hearing for the longest time about how hard it is to develop games on the PlayStation 3. Shaun Himmerick, executive producer for Midway's Wheelman, is being very candid about why that is so.
In an interview on the This Xbox Life podcast (grain of salt alert), he said the following:
The politically incorrect answer is that the PS3 is a huge pain in the ass. Anyone making a game, if you're going to make it for both [360 and PS3], just lead on the PS3 because if it works on the PS3 it'll work on 360.
The easiest way to look at it is, the 360 has one big chunk of memory, but the PS3 has two chunks of memory that in total are the same size as the Xbox, but because they're split you can't share memory the same way. That will bite you in the ass, and it bit us in the ass bad.
We had to play catch up on the PS3 because of the memory constraints and how it renders, how it processes is just different. And it's harder on the PS3. The Xbox is just like a dumb PC, which is great because it's easier to build a game on a PC.
Ouch. The PS3 definitely has a different architecture than the PC or Xbox 360, but is this what is going to make the PS3 outlive its competition as Sony hopes?
Shaun brings up an interesting point. If a developer is working on a multiplatform game, it should make the PS3 the primary development platform, because porting the title to the Xbox 360 or PC is much easier than porting a game to the PlayStation 3.
Fair, but what about the difference in software sales across the platforms? Shouldn't developers lead where software is being sold? Xbox 360 versions of multiplatform games consistently outsell its PS3 counterparts. This, combined with the relative difficulty in programming could be the reason that companies like Valve don't make its games for the PS3 (apart from selling plenty of copies on the PC and Xbox 360).
It's easy to say something in the vein of, "Those developers just aren't smart enough to make games for the PS3." But try to remember that the system is unlike anything before. It'd be similar to asking a carpenter to use completely different tools to build the same house. I think we're starting to see the benefits of understanding the PS3's unique hardware with games like Killzone 2 and God of War III, but it might not be economically viable for third-party companies to really push forward on the PS3.
What do you think? And please, before you answer, take a look at how I structured my argument and presented both the story and my opinions. Not once did I exclaim a games release date, paste a list of games, or say something offensive. Please follow this model so that we can have an intelligent discussion.