In a non-exclusive round table with various outlets like us, Kotaku and Engadget this morning, Sony Computer Entertainment America’s CEO Jack Tretton gave us some great looks behind the public curtain of the PlayStation brand. In short, they know what’s wrong with the way they made the PS3, and they know how to fix it. In Jack’s words, “we know what we’re doing,” but it’s going to take a long time to atone for past missteps.
As everyone knows, Sony is a hardware company. But when making the PlayStation(s), they’ve become a software company as well. The problem came from the fact that they didn’t know whether they’re a software company or a hardware company or even both, which influenced the way the PS3 was developed. In this case, the hardware guys developed the console fairly independently then dumped it onto the software guy’s lap, effectively saying “do something with it.” In essence, as Tretton says, the PS3 was not developed in collaboration between the two teams. As a result of this, the software team has been cleaning up the mess made by the hardware team for years.
This is one of the biggest problems with Sony as a whole. Their UI designs are not as good as they could be because much of the company still sees themselves as a hardware force first and a software firm second. Hopefully with previous boss Ken Kutaragi out and guys like Kaz Hirai and Jack Tretton influencing development on the sure-to-be-upcoming PlayStation 4, things will be better in the next generation.