Lead architect actively sought strong voices that would put him 'through the wringer'

Cerny: Sony needed tough critique during PS4 pre-production

Sony needed strong criticism during its initial meetings with developers about PlayStation 4 hardware, the console’s lead architect Mark Cerny has said.

Cerny spoke to more than 30 teams worldwide during his preliminary discussions with developers about Sony’s next console. Speaking to Develop, he said that the first barrier to overcome was breaking through the niceties in a platform holder-developer conversation.

“The big issue for me was that you are coming forward from SCE and you are asking them about the things that never would have been asked before in the history of the company,” said Cerny.

“The first response you get when you ask for feedback is very nice and developers say what they think you want to hear to foster the relationship. [SCEA dev relations chief] Adam Boyes calls that ‘tea and crumpets’. But it if it’s tea and crumpets it doesn’t actually help.

“So I found that the groups I would tend to go visit the most were the groups where I would have a group of people on the other side of the table with very strong opinions. They would say what was right, what was wrong, and what needed doing. I was actively seeking out the groups who would put me through the wringer the most over the design.”

Cerny has spoke in the past about how some of his meeting with developers about PS4 had been met with booing. He said that it was instances such as this that has helped to shape key elements of the system, like the console’s RAM, which was doubled as a result of developer views.

Develop spoke to Cerny at length about his journey in the games industry and how he become so closely involved with the genesis of PlayStation 4. You can read the full feature here.

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