Half-Life Creator: PS3 is a "total disaster"

Looks like Gabe Newell has slammed Sony, calling the PS3 a “total disaster.”

Question: Given that he used to work for Microsoft, is Gabe seen as being in the pocket of Microsoft or as a game designer in his own right?

Actually, isn’t Gabe one of the people developing for the PS3? I’m glad to hear him speaking so frankly, but still, umm, ouch. Way to promote your PS3 version of the next HL2 installment. :)


I don’t know if he’s “in Microsoft’s pocket,” but the suggestion that Sony’s best strategy at this point is to take the PS3 off the market has got to be the dumbest bit of back-seat CEOing I’ve seen in a long, long time.

Gabe has never been all that great a public speaker IIRC. Hasn’t he said other really outrageous things in the past?

Well to mix it up even further, if you read further down once you click on the link, his preferred platform seems to be the big N’s.

I think this anti-PS3 zeitgeist is really less about animosity toward the PS3 and more about animosity toward Sony. Is the PS3 really that much worse than the XBox360 was a a month after launch? If anything it’s better, considering it has one hit that looks prepped to stand the test of time (Resistance) where the 360 had nothing (PD0 went from getting rave reviews to being considered one of the “worst launch titles ever”).

What people are (rightfully) railing against is Sony’s utter arrogance – from pricing a console at $200 more than its closest competition without immediately being any better than its closest competition to the utter disregard for consumer complaints (scaling chip problems, backwards compatibility issues). I mean, sure, it’s a shame that those problems were there to begin with, but practically every system these days has some issues to be ironed out after launch.

In short, I don’t really see the PS3 as a total disaster as I see Sony’s PR as a total disaster.

The inverse is true for Nintendo – the Wii has more than its share of shortcomings and oversights: from finicky, wireless-only internet, to utterly retarded friend codes, to a forced bundle with the mediocre Wii Sports, which makes actually getting at the hardware $50 more expensive than it should be, considering you’re only getting a Gamecube 1.5 with a gimmick controller that, at this point, seems doomed to ADD-friendly minigame collections and crappy first-person shooters.

Still, Nintendo is so squeaky clean and friendly that their farts smell like peppermint, so people love them despite overpaying for an inferior product with an even bleaker game lineup than the PS3.

Allegedly, the PS3 version is being done by EA.

Dogbert, separate from the 360 version? Is Valve farming both out, or just the PS3 version?


Except you can’t fool all the people all of the time.

The PS3’s negative press has to do with it’s pricing first and foremost, it’s half-baked approach to on-line gaming second and it’s underwhelming delivery after Sony’s hype machine went into full whirl, this time only spinning itself. After that you have a smaller list, including the inclusion of bluray, the longer loading times, the horrible backwards compatibility, the fact that games look WORSE on the PS3 than they do on 360.

End of the day, the fact that there are many problems you can point to about the PS3 is the largest problem with the PS3.

I read an interview with Newell a few months ago where he spoke about the 360 and PS3 teams as though they were in-house. It was in the context of praising Microsoft’s great tools for the 360 and mentioning that development on the PS3 version was lagging behind as the team got up to speed on the crazy architecture. (edit: I have no idea if the console teams actually are in-house or not.)

In fact, I wonder if one reason for the delay of Ep. 2 is the desire for a simultaneous launch on PC/360/PS3.

Newell goes ballistic whenever someone gets in the way of his making as much money as possible. I remember when he flamed the hell out of multi-core architectures because they made it so easy for a junior programmer to write some random gameplay code that totally hosed the careful cache management that the rocket scientist lead programmers had spent months tuning to get max performance. He was like, “I’m over here trying to compete with World of Warcraft, and you’re making my life harder. Stop it!”

So it doesn’t surprise me that he’s bashing the PS3. Not only is the architecture hard to work with – which costs him money, since it ties up his good programmers for no very good reason – but it also is too expensive and won’t sell well, yet it’s sucking up marketplace oxygen (various publishers and resellers are no doubt pressuring him for a PS3 version of Source). He can’t ignore it, but it’s a financial and technical tar pit. So he gets medieval on its ass.

Gabe “Too Many Hamburgers” Newell is just hyperbolin’ what every other developer is thinking, which is that the PS3 is a huge pain to develop for compared to the competition. He is certainly overblowing the issues, but if you listen to pretty much any developer speak on this issue, even Sony-friendly ones, you hear the same thing over and over, just in most cases it is couched more in reality or in the case of the Sony-friendly companies it comes across in code words like the PS3 having “hidden power yet to be unlocked”.

At the end of the day, he has a point, and from a developer standpoint Sony made many of the same mistakes on the PS2, but managed to create such a huge installed base that developers who wanted access to the huge market leader had to suck it up and code for the PS2 anyway. If Sony can’t reach a critical mass with PS3 installs (and the market is certainly more contested this time due to the 360 and the Wii) things could be very different this time.

I can’t tell if you just disagree with my analysis or whether it wasn’t clear enough… the point was, the PS3 has its share of problems, keywords being “its share.”

I very much disagree with the “half-baked approach to online gaming” being a crucial component of the PS3’s negative press. It’s a case of getting what you pay for – XBox Live is the gold standard, but it also costs $50 MSRP a year. Also, I can’t see how you’d call the PS3’s online “half-baked” when the Wii is in the picture – if the PS3 is half-baked, then the Wii is still a lumpy heap of dough.

Also, horrible backwards compatibility? Again, with the 360 in the picture, I don’t quite know how you can say that with a straight face, unless you’re counting the 360 deep in the negative. The PS3’s backward compatibility sure has graphical problems, but at least you can, ya know, play games without having to wait months or more while a team builds an emulation wrapper for a single title.

The problem on the PS3 is there is no option to pay more for more, at least not yet. I’d be the first to praise the PS3 if what they currently have was free but you could pay Xbox Live like fees for Xbox Live like functionality. For me, the $~50/yr is more than worth it, but in PS3 land I can’t make that decision because there is no option for it.

Having said all of that, yeah, the Wii’s networking is pretty disasterous so far, even for what little functionality it is supposed to support. On the one hand this doesn’t bother me too much because the Wii is pretty much a social partygame box as used at my house, but I’d be happier if Nintendo sorted some of these issues out in firmware updates.

I don’t think anyone complains about the inclusion of blu-ray, other than its contribution to the cost, which was mentioned separately.
Some PS2 games look worse, but the vast majority of them work out of the box and there’s no indication one way or another that the swizzle problem (if that’s what it is) is not fixable. PS1 games that are approaching 10 years old work, correct? I don’t think I’d call that horrible
Games look about the same on the PS3. Some look better (Fight Night) and some look worse (Madden).

The main problem with the PS3 is that it doesn’t have enough games to justify the price. It’s the first system I’ve bought near launch and have only bought one game for (Resistance)

edit: Although I would have bought Ridge Racer 7 if it wasn’t so very similar to RR6 on the 360, which I already own.

Huh? Oh, I get it, because he’s fat! Man, that’s funny. Hoo boy, I almost spit out my espresso on my keyboard. LOL and all that junk. Way to really make your point.


Well, in fairness to Coca Cola Zero, he’s probably the epitome of fitness and good health. After all, he did choose to name himself after a diet-friendly soft drink, indicating a clear affinity for healthy choices.

Can haters on the internet please stop pretending that including Wii Sports with the Wii is actually tacking on $50 per console? It’s so patently absurd that it makes “Gamecube 1.5!” or “GayStation!” sound like a well-reasoned argument.

I completely agree with this. Nintendo’s been posting press releases having anything to do with the Wii like there’s no tomorrow, while Sony’s PR sites say almost nothing about the PS3, or at least, nothing interesting. Isn’t PR Rule Number 1 “Hype the hell out of your product”?

AFAIK, just the PS3 one, though it’s still being supervised etc by Valve. Nothing to back it up but gossip from the UK, of course.