If we can open PS3 to homebrew, we will - Harrison

But watch out, pirates.

Sony would like to open PlayStation 3 up to independent game developers in some ways, but is continually mindful of the damage that pirates and hackers with illegal intent can cause, according to Sony Worldwide Studios boss Phil Harrison.

"I fully support the notion of game development at home using powerful tools available to anyone," Harrison said in an interview with Slashdot. "We were one of the first companies to recognise this in 1996 with Net Yaroze on PS1. It's a vital, crucial aspect of the future growth of our industry and links well to the subtext of my earlier answers."

Harrison then explained that his involvement with games in the 1980s originally began as he tinkered with Commodore 64 games that appeared in magazines. "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 realise the game was rubbish after all that effort! The next step was to re-write aspects of the game to change the graphics, the sound, the control system or the speed of the gameplay until you'd created something completely new."

But he admits that these days the doors into the industry that might be opened by going through that process "are largely closed by the nature of the videogame systems themselves being closed".

"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," he added.

While Sony has encouraged legitimate independent development in some areas - notably with Net Yaroze with, in this generation, PlayStation Beyond - it has been accused of adopting a heavy-handed strategy in its dealings with PSP developers, with legitimate or at least non-threatening projects often struck down by firmware updates designed to lock out pirates and the hackers who facilitate piracy.

Sony's interest in allowing for homebrew development puts it on a similar path to Microsoft, which recently launched its XNA package of tools, offering the ability to develop games on both PC and Xbox 360, with a complementary educational focus that will plug game development modules into a number of university courses.

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