It’s no surprise that articles across the web have been stating the obvious: PS3 units are glued to retail shelves. Otherwise, people just don't want them all that bad. Out of 1 million shipped units, why are 300k still eating up shelf life? Well, IDC Analyst Billy Pidgeon has an answer, and I can’t say I’m hard pressed not to agree. But will it be enough to save Sony’s PS3?
Well, Billy told Gameindustry.biz that Sony is going to need... ”more first-party software for PlayStation 3 or risk seeing more and more units left on shop shelves.” Well Bill, I hate to break it to you, but do you see a lot of game engines with multithreaded support signed on as PS3 middleware? I’ve counted two engines that might be good for producing AA titles, but that’s it. Mr. Pidgeon believes, though, that "Software libraries are the key driver of console sales, and no console is going to sell on the promises - they've got to deliver.“
One thing people seem to fail to understand is that in order to “deliver” Sony needs a developmental foundation for software, software components, and affordable platform tools. But anything development related for the PS3 cost an arm and a leg (i.e., I’m being nice, but try $500,000 on up.) What’s more is that Microsoft has XNA and indie support for the Xbox 360. So in the long run Microsoft should be safe so long as they make distributing software for the 360 a painless process for independent developers.
Sony, however, is not in such a promising position. They’ve shown little interest in indie development and even turned away a couple of indie offers because of lacking exclusivity. Billy Pidgeon believes, though, that Sony needs AAA titles to redeem the big black box and make a real impact. As he states, "Sony needs more must-have first party titles to sell consoles. Gamers know Halo 3 is coming on the Xbox 360, and they can expect Mario on the Wii, but there are no established first party franchises coming to the PS3 except Gran Turismo - and that is delayed."
Well, John Romero hates the next-gen consoles, he really hated the PS2, and he absolutely abhors the PS3. 7 SPUs and a Cell processor equals one huge pain in the butt. Even Gabe Newell from Vavle ranted on the PS3, for the same reasons Romero did. Gabe didn’t do it as a Sony hater, flamer or MS fanboy, but as a designer, creator and developer. The boys over at Gearbox even said – in a very nice way – that they aren’t maxing the PS3's capabilities in BIA: Hell’s Highway due to the complexity of the multithreaded programming. In which, I might add, the Gearbox guys have middleware support just for the multithreaded game design aspects for Brothers In Arms on the PS3.
So basically, unless Guerrilla Games and Insomniac have magically found a way to create and master multithreaded programming tools for the PS3, don’t expect a Resistance 2 or a Killzone sequel to emerge that’s leagues above anything on the Xbox 360. Bill, I don’t disagree that Sony needs more first-party power punches. But unless they figure out their own system real fast, we won’t be seeing anything special until 2012.