Sony Computer Entertainment Worldwide Studios president Phil Harrison has called homebrew game software – titles produced without any official support or licensing from Sony – a "crucial aspect" of game industry growth, implying possible future PS3 homebrew support.
The comments were made in response to a number of questions asked
by website Slashdot and suggested by readers of the site, across a variety of subjects. Harrison prefaced his answer to the question of whether firmware updates would prevent the running of homebrew software by stating that he would “exclude pirates and hackers with illegal intentions” from the definition of homebrew.
Although the phrase homebrew has never commonly been understood to include such activities, Harrison’s implication that it might could explain Sony’s continual aggressive attempts to lock out unlicensed software from use on the PSP.
In regards to the PlayStation 3, Harrison appears more sympathetic, saying, “I fully support the notion of game development at home using powerful tools available to anyone. We were one of the first companies to recognize this in 1996 with Net Yaroze on PS one. It's a vital, crucial aspect of the future growth of our industry.”
“When I started making games on the Commodore 64 in the 1980s, the way I learned to make games was by re-writing games that appeared in magazines. Really the best bit about a C64 was when you turned it on it said ‘Ready?’ with a flashing cursor - inviting you to experiment. You'd spend hours typing in the code, line-by-line, and then countless hours debugging it to make it work and then you'd realize the game was rubbish after all that effort!”, said Harrison.
“The process itself was invaluable in helping me learn to program, to design graphics, animations or sounds and was really the way I opened doors to get into the industry. Now, those industry doors are largely closed by the nature of the video game systems themselves being closed”, he admitted.
“So, if we can make certain aspects of PS3 open to the independent game development community, we will do our industry a service by providing opportunities for the next generation of creative and technical talent”, stated Harrison.