My unexpected encounter with a Sony Engineer
A few weeks ago I was invited to a good friend’s wedding here in Tokyo.
One of the other invitees happened to have studied at the same engineering school as me in France, and we kind of knew each other from these “good ol’ days”. So the groom had decided to sit us at the same table.
We started chit-chatting. “Do you still work for MegaCorp XYZ?”, I asked. “No, he replied, I’ve been working as an engineer for Sony for the past 5 years actually”.
We started discussing what games he was working on. (I’m not going to mention the games here, because I think this could give out too much about that specific person, so I’ll just say he’s been working on some big AAA Title for the PS4.)
Then, out of the blue, he said, with kind of a snarky smile:
“I know you’re the guy behind that hacking site, wololo.net”
That made me uncomfortable. I don’t think I’ve actually ever met someone from Sony in real life, who knew I was into hacking their ***. Having worked for a decade in Tokyo in the IT industry, I’ve worked with many people who have been Sony employees, but I don’t think any of them knew, or cared, about this tiny hacking blog.
I think making me uncomfortable for a minute was the effect he was looking for. Then he relaxed, and told me:
“You know, there’s Sony’s official stance as a company, and there’s what we think on the engineering side. It’s pretty well known internally that our SDKs are quite terrible, so we’re always amazed at what some of you guys were able to do on the PSP with made-from-scratch SDKs. Sometimes, we’d read these hacking websites and be like: ‘how did they do that? That’s really awesome!”
I guess it makes sense, and in a way I’ve always assumed this is how it works. Sony as a company needs to protect its business, but I’m convinced that some of their tech employees are as fascinated as I am with the work of hackers. Who can be an engineer and not be excited by the art of people who manage to get devices do something people never imagined they would?
In an awkward way, I’m not sure why, but I concluded the conversation with “oh, well, you know, I was super into it back in the PSP days, but now I only follow this kind of thing distantly”. Not sure why I said that. Maybe because as a grown up with a grown up life, it feels weird to admit I’m still 200% excited by console homebrew? Well, if he or his colleagues read this article at some point, now you know 🙂
We quickly stopped discussing. It was a wedding, and our wives were getting annoyed at the two geeks chatting about PS4 games and stuff.