Sony, Meet Darwin. Darwin, this is Sony.

what in god’s name is sony doing? are they letting the riaa dictate their console tactics too? get rid of anyone who speaks out against the party line.

maybe, just maybe, his points are valid. maybe they should be listening to developers instead of squelching them.

of course, it’s easy to look at it from a ‘marketing’ point of view. an employee says something percieved as defamatory in public, kick them to the curb. right?

well. we’re missing the bigger issue here. like, WHY is he dissenting?

granted, his testimony is one-sided, filled with nebulous, subjective statements like “we can learn from each other and check the ego at the door.” but, it also gushes, full of provable, corroborative facts like:

  1. he has enough knowledge and skill he’s been tapped to write a book.
  2. the ceo gave the developers keys to his hummer.
  3. he started a sony user group.

sounds like a guy who not only has talent, but loves his job and is passionate about the company.

why would someone like that go against the grain? maybe because he sees something wrong? maybe a lot of developers do. maybe he’s not the only one. he just had the chutzpah to say something about it. to throw up a big red flag.

so, what does sony do? they can him.

rather than… i dunno… maybe investigate some of the issues. maybe talk to some of the other developers in the field to see if there are common opinions throughout.

last time i checked, the ps3 wasn’t out yet. last time i checked, sony’s console has a brutal competitor already on the market. last time i checked sony was betting the farm on the playstation 3.

smart money? yeah, it says “get it right” not just “get it done.”

is this going to be another case of an antiquated business model going the way of the dodo? are we going to see this generation of sony’s console hit the ‘next generation’ equivalent of ‘unified online service’ only to see them do ANOTHER about-face to correct the ship’s course? are we looking at a the infamous rootkit fiasco dubbed into the console realm?

you know, they didn’t listen to their software engineer who threw up red flags about xcp either.

m3mnoch.

UPDATE:

i thought i would post the actual contents of his newsletter.  you know.  for perspective.

yep.  totally revealing all kinds of super-secret tech secrets!

I’ve spent some time the past year developing for the PS3. Actually it was a cinematic demo to be shown at e3 in 2005 at a closed door viewing. I was one of the few artists selected to work on it for the demo. My job was primarily asset creation. I was creating assets to populate the path where our camera would be flying during the demo. The company I work for is also working on a launch title that I am quite familiar with. In short, I’ve spent some time around the PS3 and or the teams developing for it.

I’ve really had to sit here and think for a long time about what my first comment about the PS3 would be. Will I say, its GREAT or will I give it two thumbs down. Well my immediate impression of the PS3 is…where is it? Seriously, where is it? They have a case, a controller and a dev kit. But the system still doesn’t even exist. So what is there to say? We received one of 5 PS3 dev kits in the United States some time ago. Several companies in the US as well as companies over seas were given the daunting task of creating a demo in less than 9 weeks on a first generation dev kit. Now I’ll be honest with you. What most companies do is fake the entire demo. I mean they come up with some great visuals and neat tricks and scripted events. In the end however, its not a real time demo and its not running ON the actual box. We were the only company to my knowledge that showed something that ran it live on the box. Even then it was a scripted event. You could not pause the camera and fly around the scene. So if you saw the demo once, you saw it again the exact same way the second time. Also this was on a brutally early dev box. You could always tell where the PS3 dev box was because it’s the room that had the f-bomb coming out of it half the day.
Lots of time has passed since that demo and the dev box has gone from a totally jimmy rigged computer and box of parts about the size of a small child, to a much more realistic size. Although its still the size of a normal pc. I have been pretty excited about the whole cell processing thing. I am not a very technical person but my understanding of it was pretty clear. (Multiple processors to handle individual events in parallel). Sounds pretty good to me! To hear people talk, you’d thing that a processor revolution was about to happen. So I’ve been pretty excited to say the least. Now in my opinion it doesn’t matter how good the PS3 is. If the XBOX 360 is better, then it doesn’t really matter how the cell processors work or how good they say it is. Realistically one of them will be better over all. Now I’ve spoken with people who are on the technical side of the PS3. I’ve also talked with people on the technical side of the XBOX 360. The consistent comment I am hearing from people on my end is, “The XBOX 360 is better?. They are saying that it is capable of just doing more. (shrugs) Now take that for what its worth. If you watch all the videos on the PS3 they will say how much more powerful it is than the XBOX and vice versa. Im just telling you what I am hearing. They proceeded to go into a lot of technical info that I don’t understand. So I just nod.

The game that we are creating for a launch title is a “just get it out? title in my opinion. It doesn’t look next generation. I don’t see how anyone could debate otherwise. It looks good. But it looks good for a game that has come out in the last couple years or so. I mean we are talking about a box that will be with us for the next 5+ years! In 5 years will the games we are making today look good? The only way for that to be possible is if the new games coming out for the PS3 are drastically improved. So good that they can stand the test of time until the next system comes out. We’ve all seen Gears of War for the xbox 360. If that even looks half as good when it comes out then I’ll be floored! The game we are making isn’t even in the same league as Gears of War. In fact there are many current games out that look just as good and are using the exact same specs. So, on our end we are either not pushing the bar or were just trying to “get a title out?. To be fair, this is a business. Sometimes you have to treat it as a business and not make the best title you can. The best title you can make usually costs 20-40million dollars/3 start overs and 4 years of your life. You just cant do that every time out. Its impossible. Our game just keeps getting moved back….and back…..and back…..and back. Again, where is the box? Where is the final system? When is it coming out? No one knows and in the mean time people in the industry are starting to get just a little salty. I mean I was at e3 2005 and PS3 was almost no where to be seen.

In closing, I started of VERY excited about the PS3. I was very confident that it was going to just destroy the XBOX 360 just on the name SONY alone. The more time that goes by the more I am becoming doubtful. Everything I’ve developed or seen developed has yet to be “next gen?. The poly counts are not really any higher, im not seeing sub surface scattering, im not seeing much HDR lighting. (or they are faking it and not really doing it), I’m not seeing next gen fluid dynamics or object dynamics. I suspect that you’ll be able to have more dynamic objects in a scene than before. But im not seeing games doing this yet. We dont have a controller, there is no network code and there is no box. Its still the size of a normal PC. Oh well, at least they have normal maps. Although I’m over the normal maps fad ok everyone!

I’m confident that the PS3 will have a few “crazy? games that show it off to its potential. But I would expect the full capabilities of the box to not show up until the system has been released PUBLICALLY for over a year. This is the extra time the developers will need with a FINAL system to truly make next gen games.

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10 comments so far

  1. gaminghobo on

    I think the issue was that he did it in public. Perhpas he felt compelled to do so because no one from inside the company was listening? In any case I’m fairly certain any of Nintendo, Microsoft et al would react in a similar way.

  2. pocketDragon on

    #1 I have no idea of the Nintendo corporate culture, but I doubt very much that Microsoft would do that today. Given there current trend of visibility and blogging, unless he did something that was in clear violation of an NDA or employee contract I suspect he would be still employeed. He may never be promoted again, but he’d probally still have a job. Microsoft would have to weigh the negative publicity of firing against the negative publicity of disclosing a weak point in an unreleased system. And you know the internet children would be merciless. And remember, it’s not like MS Employees don’t say negative things about the directions MS and/or it’s products are going. It literally happens every day.

    But to be fair to Sony, we really only have one half of the story. What he did may have been in clear violation of his employee contract. There may have been other issues and this was the final straw.

    I will say though, I’d rather buy from a company that encourages _constructive_ criticism, than one that discourages it.

  3. m3mnoch on

    amen pocketdragon. microsoft is working very hard on pushing any information they can out. quelling any rumors they hear. everything.

    and, because of that, their message is right on. there’s no ambiguity. issues are dealt with rather than swept under the rug.

    all of the microsoft employees have a great big microphone and they are all singing the praises of the 360.

    makes you wonder, eh?

    m3mnoch.

  4. Gentai on

    I think the arguments are reaching too far. Sure, Microsoft is pushing out information. I think in light of the bad press they’ve received over the launch, any information that would divert attention away from it would be considered better PR.

    I’m not sure what would qualify the statement that “all of the microsoft employees have a great big microphone”, but I wouldn’t assume all employees are singing the 360’s praises because a few outspoken employees have posted comments regarding it.

    Based on the story presented and ignoring the other half of the story, I do believe that firing the guy was an overreaction and could have been better dealt with. As it appears he is doing well now as a result of it, I suppose all parties should feel fine with their actions.

    I own a 360 and enjoy the games I have for it now. If the ps3 comes out and has a good number of ps3-only games and functionality, I will probably purchase that, too. I just don’t see the need to further polarize the “console-wars” and demonize either company over the firing of a single employee who, as most people agree, knowingly took his chances stepping into a grey area. Whether he did it for noble or selfish reasons, he seems to have benefitted from his actions and I’m satisfied now to look at it and say “no harm, no foul”.

  5. Far on

    Anybody would have been fired in this situation, you’re just a stupid fanboy who foams at the mouth at any opportunity to troll against Sony. What a loser you are

  6. m3mnoch on

    yeah! m3mnoch, you fucking troll! loser! mouth-foamer!

    huh? wait a minute….

    how is posting it on my own site trolling? aha! that’s right! i kidnapped the main topic and forced anti-sony rhetoric down your throat!

    speaking of troll, aren’t you trolling here? aren’t you the one who said my ‘blog’ was terrible?

    why are you still reading, much less trolling? nothing better to do? feel like you need to stick up for your pal, sony?

    were you just beat up in high-school so, now, you feel like you need to take on that ‘protector’ role and stick up for the less fortunate? much like how you wish someone stuck up for you when you were 14 and roger mccormick made fun of you in the lunchroom — in front of everone? even in front of “her?”

    seriously, what a dork. if you don’t like what i say, don’t read it.

    m3mnoch.

  7. PRR on

    Okay, so that was totally awesome m3mnoch! I’ll admit that I’m more of a fan of M$ than I am Sony, but Far is obviously a Sony fanboy who is accusing you of doing exactly what he’s doing. “Hey, pot. This is the kettle. You’re black.” C’mon, m3mnoch is making a point but at the same time he’s not making statements that aren’t backed by the evidence of the Sony employee who was fired. Anytime I read a reply to a post and it immediately insults the original poster, you know the intelligence and maturity of the attacker is not up to your level. Everyone can speculate about the PS3 and how good/bad it will turn out. I’ve got my own opinion just based upon Sony’s cost, but I’ll be waiting to see who is REALLY right. Until then, I’m totally enjoying my 360.

  8. m3mnoch on

    heh. amen, prr. like i’ve said before, i’m a fan of good business decisions and not a fan of bad ones. the n64 kicked ass. the ps1 kicked more ass. the dreamcast was okay. the ps2 kicked ass. the xbox kicked — yet more ass. and the 360? well, it’s hella cool!

    each of them were put together smartly for very obvious business reasons. the ps3, tho, is put together for greed.

    the ps3 is to game consoles as the memory stick is to flash memory.

    m3mnoch.

  9. Remox on

    Hello . this is my second post here, and I’ve got to say it’s a pretty damn cool website. Onto the topic, (i had to look up “queling” before i posted this – lol ) Let me get it clear I’m not a fanboy of either company – just a little skeptical of Sony – but i’ll rationalize that later, i own a psp, ps2, xbox (at least thats what i’m playing currently) and i am extremely fond of all of them (gotta say moreso psp). Sony has been bluntly lying to the market saying all this about “100 million” consoles , and “by March” (or was it May). Anyways, I’ve come to believe that the PS3 is closely linked with the development of BluRay and it’s readiness. Point being, all indications are showing that BluRay isn’t ready, and if Sony is assuring everyone that the PS3 will come out with BluRay (straight off the box that is), then you have got to be skeptical. And Microsoft isn’t all innocent either. Three million before the end of their fiscal year? (I’ll look up where i got this from ) I think thats around 500,000 units off, if not – more . I don’t see myself buying an xbox 360 for … oh say another year or so. Right now, the best next-gen console out there ? The Personal Computer (if it is considered a console) . Sheer. Gaming . Madness :O . yes I said it

  10. m3mnoch on

    sweet! thanks for stopping by remox. always good to have some balanced opinion in here with whackos like me.

    m3mnoch.


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