Microsoft Taking Over Sony from the Inside?


Say it isn’t so. Sony’s new PlayStation Suite is 100% Microsoft based. I had really held Sony to a higher standard than this. I thought Sony was about championing end product innovation rather than ramrodding choice-free Microsoft technologies onto developers and championing a militant Microsoft only technology stack.

  • Development IDE:Microsoft Visual Studio.
  • Development OS:Microsoft Windows.
  • Programming Language:Microsoft C#.

There are better programming languages: Scala would be my pick, but I’d also prefer Java (unfortunately, this isn’t legally viable due to lawsuit happy Oracle), and to a lesser extent Python, C++, Go, or Clojure. There are also better IDEs: IntelliJ is much better than Visual Studio, and yes, I’ve used both extensively.

I’m not opposed to giving developers a choice of using Microsoft exclusive products. Most Amazon and Google developer inititiaves provide Microsoft options in addition to other, more innovation friendly alternatives. What I really, really despise is the innovation destroying Microsoft-only, fire every employee and kill every project that hasn’t fully adopted the Microsoft mindset. Every programming concept has to come from a Microsoft PR agent, every programming tool has to be a Microsoft blessed plugin in Microsoft Visual Studio on Microsoft Windows.

As a long time PlayStation fan, this is heartbreaking, but ultimately, I’m more interested in innovation, including developer innovation, than supporting the PlayStation Suite and it’s Microsoft technology agenda.

Microsoft basically has gutted Nokia and Yahoo and taken them over from the inside. At some level, I’m disappointed to see signs of this with Sony.

On the bright side: rumors have leaked that Google is privately working on new programming languages and ecosystems, supposedly called Dart and Spot. I’m expecting a browser-centric JavaScript replacement and a more rich client and server focused Java replacement tool set. Also, despite Oracle’s lawsuit centric nature, software development innovation continues within the JVM ecosystem.


Written by: Darrin - Contributing Editor


  1. #1 by premiersoupir on September 15th, 2011 [ 17020 Points ]

    Interesting article! I’m not conversant at all in these issues. Can you describe what the “PlayStation Suite” is? Is it an SDK? For what platform(s)? In what language(s) have Sony projects typically been developed in the past (for the PS3, for example)?

  2. #2 by Darrin on September 15th, 2011 [ 17143 Points ]

    PlayStation Suite is Sony’s game development toolset to build cross platform games that will run on PlayStation Vita, selected Android smartphones & tablets, and (I’m not sure on this last one, but I vaguely remember them saying this) the PS3.

    All Sony’s past consoles have been purely industry standard neutral C or C++ along with various Sony custom APIs and bundled third party APIs (I think they give you various off the shelf physics and graphics libraries for PlayStation development that you would otherwise need to pay for).

  3. #3 by Pedro on September 15th, 2011 [ 39949 Points ]

    I’ll be honest here and say this: I didn’t understand what you’re talking about.

    However, from what I could get, wouldn’t it be beneficial for developers to work with the same tools for PC, XBox and PS3? I don’t know how it works and I don’t know if that’s what you’re referring to, so please, feel free to educate me :]

  4. #4 by Jason on September 15th, 2011 [ 25936 Points ]

    M$ will take over and then Apple will swoop in and take everything from them. I see a future very soon of all Apple products :) 2012! lmao

  5. #5 by Eddie on September 15th, 2011 [ 44542 Points ]

    It’s a little over my head as well but I see it as a non-issue. It’s like multi-national companies hiring based on the ability to speak English. Sure there is Japanese, Russian, French, and these will even be needed from time to time but the most common denominator that will make the business flow more smoothly would be English.

    Besides, the only thing we have confirmed is PSOne games…the method of getting them on android devices really doesn’t matter to me personally.

  6. #6 by Tucker on September 15th, 2011 [ 125 Points ]

    Innovation being stifled because you are using Microsoft tools? People still think this way?

    C# is an ECMA standard language. Provided to the governing body (the same one that watches over JavaScript) by Microsoft. Ever heard of Mono? Runs on a bunch of platforms and is the preferred language for the Unity3D game engine.

    There is the off chance that the libraries they are providing are P/Invoke assemblies to C/C++ code. If so, and if supported, C/C++ devs could use the same libraries.

    As far as IDE choice, IMO Visual Studio is the standard that all IDE’s should aspire to. Having used Eclipse, XCode and good ol’ CLI; I can’t imagine being more productive while in VS.

    This article is such a non-issue. As a longtime lurker, I had to join and comment because this is so ridiculous.

  7. #7 by Yourgor on September 15th, 2011 [ 940 Points ]

    umm I cant see Microsoft taking over Sony ever, Sony is to big just to take over and so is Microsoft, but Sony is owned by Japanese and they are very very picky about their companies they take a lot of dedication to do what they like to do uh lot more then us Americans, point is the Japs would never let their companie go like that, if you ever worked a a Jap companie you would know that they are very good people and they can run a bussiness great and you would know what Iam talking about here that they would never let that happen ever.

  8. #8 by Eddie on September 15th, 2011 [ 44542 Points ]

    Yourgor….he was being facetious lol

  9. #9 by Yourgor on September 15th, 2011 [ 940 Points ]

    oh ok I didnt really see that being facetious it sounded serious to me anyway doesnt matter lol maybe Iam just sound to serious sometimes, but really Iam not all that serious most of the time lol.

  10. #10 by Eddie on September 15th, 2011 [ 44542 Points ]

    He is serious about his opinion but not in that MS will take over Sony.

  11. #11 by Royalty32 on September 15th, 2011 [ 1020 Points ]

    Cut the bulls*** M$ and Sony. Just make a damn console together already.

  12. #12 by Darrin on September 15th, 2011 [ 17143 Points ]

    @Tucker, sure many programmers think Microsoft Visual Studio is productive, because to them, programming is just gluing different Microsoft components together: just wire ASP.NET or Silverlight to SQL Server/Azure/Office/SharePoint.

    I’d point out that Visual Studio is inferior because:

    – Behind the times. They integrate most paradigms/concepts/technologies years or even decades after competitors. Take for example, automated unit testing. That type of functionality has been fully integrated into other IDEs like Eclipse/NetBeans/IntelliJ for over a decade before Visual Studio adds it in 2008. They refused to support a MVC style web framework until after they passed their prime, and they refused to provide halfway decent client side web and JavaScript tools.
    – Project files. These are tool generated, almost black box project descriptors and are far inferior to using a more elegant system like Maven or Gradle that you will find in the JVM ecosystem. Microsoft Visual Studio projects do a terrible job at managing dependencies, transitive dependencies, they require modification for trivial file add/remove/rename, and almost guarantee conflicts when used with source control systems due to the way the IDE automatically changes them.
    – It locks you into a full Microsoft stack for everything… OK, I expect a Microsoft product to be Windows only, and not support any non-Microsoft language or ecosystem, but I love the freedom of being able to use the OS/language/VM/paradigm/build system/unit testing framework of my choice with an open source IDE like IntelliJ or Eclipse.

    Yes, I absolutely think innovation is stifled when a large company like Sony jumps in an tightens Microsoft’s stranglehold on developers, removes almost any toolchain choice from any projects they deal with, and ramrods a whole stack of Microsoft branded tools down their throats.

    @Yourgor, people said the Finnish would never let their jewel of pride, Nokia, be gutted by Microsoft. I don’t have faith in the Japanese to stop something similar.

    @Eddie, I’m not being facetious. Sony is becoming Microsoft’s new lapdog, like Yahoo/Nokia.

  13. #13 by Darrin on September 15th, 2011 [ 17143 Points ]

    Sure, Microsoft won’t take over Sony in the same way that Microsoft won’t execute a formal take over of Nokia/Yahoo, but those companies have effectively been castrated as independent entities that influence the technology landscape.

  14. #14 by Eddie on September 15th, 2011 [ 44542 Points ]

    Yourgor….He is just talking out of his ass. lol

    Large companies, direct opposition or not, often stretch out over many markets and eventully cross paths as mutual business partners.

    Vaio – Microsoft Windows
    Vita – Skype
    360 – Compact Disc

    The mere fact they are using one computer language vs another and because you feel there are others that are better, doesn’t make them a lapdog. In the end it was a business decision that was likely influenced by many factors. None of which involving “so this move will make us MS’s bitch, yay or nay?”

  15. #15 by Tucker on September 15th, 2011 [ 125 Points ]

    @Darrin, how is that any different than any other language? Just replace x with y. Rails/PHP to MySql/Postgres/Mongo on AWS/Heruko/etc.

    Have you even tried the latest version of Visual Studio? There have been alternatives that you were free to choose from (NUnit, xUnit, NAnt, Castle MVC, etc.). There are package managers galore now for managing dependencies (which I think is as much a developer’s job as the IDE’s). I can connect to TFS, Mercurial, Git and SVN with no problems.

    VS is extensible. I code Ruby in it, as well as Scala & Clojure when I feel like playing around.

    I still don’t buy the argument that using any tool, be it Java/C# or Eclipse or VS, can stifle creativity.

  16. #16 by CHEETO on September 15th, 2011

    I am not sure I get the morality of this post lol There is something I am missing here, Are you trying to say that by using Microsoft tools, Sony will have to stick to making games the way Microsoft want them to be? Or Using Microsoft tools will limit developers creativity? Cause I am not sure how things run in your side of the world, but as far as I know Microsoft Visual Studio is by far one of the most commonly used programs in the region. I personally use it, my wife as well, we both had Visual studio classes back in college, which reflect the popularity of this program, regardless of the lack of support for Microsoft products where we live … Ok I am lost now, I was trying to say something here, what the hell is this all about? lol

  17. #17 by Darrin on September 15th, 2011 [ 17143 Points ]

    Yes, I’ve used Visual Studio 2010. Sure, there was NUnit, which I used extensively when working in .NET only shops, but you really had to manage all that without even basic tool/infrastructure support. You never had good IDE/build integration until the non-free versions of VS2008.

    You can use Scala/Clojure in .NET? Sure those languages have ports to the CLR, but the communities and the support are overwhelmingly focused on the JVM for the moment. For Ruby, are you referring to IronRuby? Can you build straight Rails apps that run on Mongrel or WEBbrick without any Microsoft/CLR extensions? Last I checked, you could only build ASP.NET stuff with a Ruby-like dialect. I’ll acknowledge that there are few edge cases where you can use Microsoft Visual Studio to use a non Microsoft tool, as you’ve mentioned with the CLR port of Clojure and Scala, but it’s obvious that the JVM centric tools do an overwhelmingly better job for that type of open source development.

    I’m not saying that using any tool stifles creativity. I’m saying that having Sony use the PlayStation platform to ramrod Microsoft technology stacks on developers and completely undermine developer chaice does stifle creativity.

  18. #18 by premiersoupir on September 15th, 2011 [ 17020 Points ]

    Anyone want to speculate about why Sony made the change that Darrin describes? Surely Sony isn’t bowing to pressure from MS — Sony isn’t in the business of harikari, one would assume. Was this something that third-party developers were clamoring for?

  19. #19 by Darrin on September 15th, 2011 [ 17143 Points ]

    @CHEETO,

    Obviously, Microsoft Visual Studio is popular. So is Microsoft IE and Microsoft Word, Excel, and Outlook. That doesn’t mean they are good. Most people use Microsoft products because their work or school mandates it and coerces them to. IE, is notoriously a piece of garbage, yet has a commanding market share despite the fact that consumers overwhelmingly dislike it. Word is terrible, next to cheap/free alternatives like Google Docs or my favorite, LaTeX, yet people are coerced into using it.

  20. #20 by Yourgor on September 15th, 2011 [ 940 Points ]

    Well really who cares if Microsoft does, all that means that all Sony stuff like TVs, Stereos, etc… will be junk if and when that happens cause Microsoft only does PC software for as I know, so what will happen to Sony products? turn to JUNK!! Sony is a little diff. from Yahoo a news website or Nokia that makes phones Sony is much much bigger in all kinds of diff. things, I mean everybody knows Sony not everybody heard of Nokia like me for an example untill a year ago lol Iam not much into phones, Yahoo is a news site and web search site, to me Sony is much bigger then those it would be a much much bigger task to take over, but I do not thank Sony will be Microsoft anytime soon lol not in my life time and Iam in my early 30s.

  21. #21 by dragon290513 on September 15th, 2011 [ 7218 Points ]

    well we all know M$ is tronger in software while Sony is prominent in hardware. Also it would be easier for developers to optimize or port over from PS3 to X360 or PC and vice versa.

  22. #22 by Yourgor on September 15th, 2011 [ 940 Points ]

    Yes I guess it would have some benefits in with it for both of those big companies I not saying really it would be bad, but what you said about the port overs does sound really great, but it also could be bad for both companies is something doesnt go right somewere somehow and then both of those good companies would fall whenever.

  23. #23 by Dean147 on September 15th, 2011 [ 359 Points ]

    Sony are great at hardware engineering, Microsoft are great at software engineering. Simple.

  24. #24 by Yourgor on September 15th, 2011 [ 940 Points ]

    Well yeah I guess Iam kinda worried lol cause if Microsoft does take over Iam wondering what will happen to all of Sony exclusive games? I mean if Microsoft takes over 100% not 50% 50%, Microsoft will take all Sony games and only make Microsoft exclusive games and no more GOW, uncharted, resistance, killzone, etc…well I guess they could I dont know, I guess Iam saying I like Sony lol and loved their stuff from the beginning, I only really know Microsoft cause of their windows for the pc and not much more then that, well thats how Microsoft got known anyway is for their windows, Sony is known for lots more then that.

  25. #25 by Darrin on September 15th, 2011 [ 17143 Points ]

    @Dean, Sony is great at managing/nurturing dev studios. Those studios are better at writing game software than anything Microsoft has done. Microsoft’s reptuation is system + infrastructure software and I’d argue that Google is much better at that overall.

  26. #26 by wolfkin on September 16th, 2011 [ 6633 Points ]

    disappointing to hear

  27. #27 by Nikazio on September 17th, 2011 [ 69 Points ]

    I would be surprised if Apple took over the gaming industry over the next 10-15 years and Sony is smaller than Microsoft (not to mention Xbox still outsells PS3 at least for now) so i think if someone will fall that would be Sony… or PlayStation at least, so i don’t think a Microsoft/Sony console would be a bad idea for the next gen.

  28. #28 by Nikazio on September 17th, 2011 [ 69 Points ]

    I wouldn’t be surprised if Apple took over the gaming industry over the next 10-15 years and Sony is smaller than Microsoft (not to mention Xbox still outsells PS3, at least for now) so i think if someone will fall that would be Sony… or PlayStation at least, so i don’t think a Microsoft/Sony console would be a bad idea for the next gen.

  29. #29 by Blackstaffer on September 17th, 2011 [ 7261 Points ]

    I’m with Tucker on this one. I’ve used Visual Studio extensively, and it’s decent. There’s nothing wrong with C#. I’ve used that too. To claim Java is better is fanboy nonsense. I’ve used Java too. (I’ve also used Eclipse extensively, which I utterly despise, but to each their own.) I now use Objective C and Xcode every day, and they’re decent too. To start quibbling about minor differences between modern programming languages and IDE’s is pointless. They all work, they all get the job done, and none of them is significantly better than any other.

    There is NOTHING wrong with choosing one platform and going with it. I would go further and say there’s EVERYTHING right about it. Giving developers the flexibility to choose their own languages and IDE’s in which to develop software for a given platform, while noble in a pie-in-the-sky kind of sense, greatly increases the amount of work required to support that ecosystem. It’s a stupid waste of resources.

    What would be a mistake is to pick a language nobody knows (Scala? what the heck?), and IDE that’s uncommon, and foist that on a bunch of developers that might just decide to go elsewhere instead. Mandating a technology stack that is well known and that people are experienced with gives developers one more incentive to develop software for the platform. And please don’t try to quote Xcode/ObjC to me as a counter-argument. Everyone knows why people bothered to learn that stack.

    Frankly, Sony has a hard sell to get devs to develop for PlayStation Suite. It behooves Sony to make it as easy as possible for developers to do so. And like it or not, using Microsoft dev tools is a great choice for that reason alone.

  30. #30 by Darrin on October 7th, 2011 [ 17143 Points ]

    @Blackstaffer,

    Almost all Google and Amazon products and platforms give developers highly flexible language and IDE choices. If you want to build a Google AppEngine app, you can use Python along with any IDE you choose, a huge range of JVM language/IDE options, or Google’s own Go language. This isn’t some pie in the sky waste of resources complexity nightmare, it’s a great design.

    Secondly, of course they should make the PlayStation Suite easy to work with for developers. What is outrageous is that you equate developer friendly with being 100% Microsoft. I disagree. This might shock you, might every developer is not a Microsoft fanatic, does not prefer to use all Microsoft tools, and actually does like some say into what tools they do use.


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