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Atari Founder: PlayStation 4 Will Struggle Due to 'Lame' Software Tools

Posted by Sammy Barker

Nolan Bushnell believes Microsoft will dominate the next generation

Atari founder Nolan Bushnell must not have paid much attention to the positive word of mouth surrounding Sony at this year’s GDC, as the industry legend has predicted that Microsoft will conquer the next generation due to the Japanese manufacturer’s “lame” software tools.

“I personally believe Microsoft is in a superior position, and the reason is Sony, whenever they change consoles, the software tools that they have are lame," he said as part of an interview with GameTrailers. “A lot of times in the past they were in Japanese [and] not well documented.”

He added: “The American software community just says, 'Oh boy, what a pain.’ And a lot of people don't realise how strong the software community is at making the hardware platform sing and dance."

Of course, that’s exactly what the so-called software community has been doing with regards to the PS4. Numerous high-profile industry names such as Braid creator Jonathan Blow and Epic Games executive Mark Rein have complimented the console over the past couple of months, praising the platform holder’s decision to switch to a simpler development environment.

Sadly, it seems that Bushnell didn’t get the memo. "Microsoft, because of their strong software tools, will end up with much better products sooner [and] easier, in my estimation,” he continued. “And with that, I think will be at an advantage.”

The veteran – who played a pivotal role in the production of Pong – suggested that Sony’s “god awful” online infrastructure will also put the PS4 behind its closest competitor, adding that the firm really needs to “get its act together”.

You can watch the full interview with Bushnell through here. Obviously he raises some relevant points, but it strikes us that he’s a bit behind the curve with regards to what Sony’s trying to achieve with the PS4. The next generation console has been designed with many of the problems that the luminary mentions in mind, and thus his tirade seems a little unfair as a result.


User Comments (22)



Paranoimia said:

Obviously completely oblivious to the fact that developers are the ones shaping both the hardware and the development software. If developers have any complaints about the PS4, they'll have only themselves to blame.

Even the creators of the 3rd-party tools are saying how easy it is to get stuff done. Seems he's not keeping up to date.



get2sammyb said:

@Paranoimia Yeah, it's a very strange quote, isn't it? It makes me wonder if the interview was recorded before the PlayStation Meeting, but it seems unlikely that GamesTrailers would hold onto the interview for so long.



hamispink said:

I'm not sure if I misunderstood, but it seemed like he said that Sony's Software tools lame in regard to past hardware transitions. It seems to me that either he knows what he's talking about and is more critical than others, or that he hasn't had experience with the development tools that others are singing nothing but praises for.



InsertNameHere said:

He should probably do some research into how long Sony is building the PS4. Since developers are practically building it, I doubt anyone will have complaints when it comes to software tools.



KAPADO said:

Tell me more about your Atari doomsday predictions Nolan ! Too bad you didn't see your own company's death warning signs Mr Bushnell.



Paranoimia said:

@get2sammyb What he says certainly flies in the face of comments from other developers and everything we've heard so far. It should also be remembered that developers have said that Vita's tools are very good to use, so it would seem likely that PS4 would continue that trend.

Yes, previously with their custom chips and hardware, PlayStation development may have been more challenging. But let's not forget that PS4 is essentially a PC, so there should be no such issues. Epic have said it's great, as have others; then there's the dev-friendly Unity3D coming, as well as lots of other 3rd-party development tools and enhancements. It's not all about Sony's own software.

The more you actually think about it, the more it seems he's working with some very out of date information. Still, when you look at what some devs did with those "lame" PS3 tools, imagine what they'll do with some half-decent ones!



Ps4all said:

This guy is still alive? At this point he's kind id irrelevant. I heard he joined Activision or some other big publisher a while ago, then was released shortly thereafter. Can't wait for the xbox 720 pong version 2013....



3Above said:

Sounds like somone is mad they didnt get a dev kit. I can only imagine that he is talking out of his behind and hasnt actually had any experience with the PS4. Or he is saying this as a precursor to Atari's next game that will just HAPPEN to be xbox exclusive.



Stuffgamer1 said:

Looking over this guy's work since Atari...I really don't think he's in ANY kind of position to be talking smack about ANYBODY'S work. Dude hasn't really been relevant to gaming in 30 years.



Zombie_Barioth said:

Sounds like hes just going by just what Sony has done, not what its currently doing. It sounds like hes probably been out of the loop for a while and just opted to make predictions without catching up first.

I doubt developers will have much trouble going between the PS4 and "720". If the rumored specs are true then they're going to be almost identical hardware and architecture wise so the only real difference would be the development tools.



Gamer83 said:


Couldn't agree more. His ramblings remind me of those of the long retired athlete who is brought back for an old timer's day and rambles on and on about nothing.



rjejr said:

I have a hard time taking anybody seriously who uses the word lame. That's like, so lame, dude.



ShogunRok said:

I just think the guy is dangerously out of the loop. Gotta wonder if the GT staff just did this for a laugh.



FullbringIchigo said:

@get2sammyb it wouldn't surprise me if they did gametrailers is full of 360 fanboys

also even if the Nexbox has better tools if the always online connection rumour is true the MS have already lost



SsuperMarco said:

I hope that Atari founder does know that time has changed since Atari.
As far as I remember, since I was an Atari player then, Atari survived a couple of gen at most.



SsuperMarco said:

Now that his company went bankrupt, he's giving advices and opinions about others: how lame! Lol



FullbringIchigo said:

@Gamer83 yeah the users are but i was talking about the staff of the site they are definitely pro-360, and they shouldn't be they should be impartial if they are covering every system, if it was a 360 site (like pure xbox) i would understand but the fact is they are not and thus should treat all systems equally

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