Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
PlayStation (Games) Sony Entertainment Games

Sony Opens PS2 Platform 77

Posted by Soulskill
from the about-time dept.
Ars Technica reports that Sony will be removing their content approval process for the Playstation 2 so that developers require less funding to make games. "Since there are no licensing fees, the only cost to the developer would be the PS2 dev kit. In order to help alleviate some of that financial burden, Bain said that in some cases Sony will lend out dev kits. Another option for developers making small, casual titles is to purchase PS2 debug dev kits, which cost about 1/10 of a full version. Bain went on to explain another possible option for smaller local developers: the PlayStation Network. 'One thing that a lot of developers seem to forget is that PlayStation Network is free,' he explained. 'Consumers do not have to pay a monthly fee ... game developers should create games for local markets.'"
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Sony Opens PS2 Platform

Comments Filter:
  • OH . (Score:1, Troll)

    by mewshi_nya (1394329)

    I was hoping they meant they were gonna, like... make it easier to run linux on... or something...

    This is useless to me, since I don't even *use* my ps2 anymore, except for quick games of Guitar Hero every few weeks.

    • There is an officially sanctioned Linux install kit from Sony for the PS2.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Linux_for_PlayStation_2 [wikipedia.org]

      • by ddcc (946751)
        Those are really hard to get, especially since they've been out of stock for at least a few years now. eBay shows one for $350, that's still a lot of money.
        • by Shadowmist (57488)

          Terrasoft solutions, the makers of Yellow Dog Linux sell the Linux kit for the PlayStation 3.

        • by Mattcelt (454751)
          You're right, they are very difficult to find. (OT: I have one for sale for considerably less than that. Anybody who is interested can email me.)

          Re the GP's post: the PS2 is hardly a dead platform - even though people are steadily moving to the new generation of consoles, there are still millions in constant use and a thriving market for new and used games. This move by Sony will actually considerably extend the life of the PS2 platform, and I think it's a good thing - both for Sony and for those who can

      • by tepples (727027) <{moc.liamg} {ta} {selppet}> on Wednesday October 29, 2008 @11:51PM (#25565043) Homepage Journal

        There is an officially sanctioned Linux install kit from Sony for the PS2.

        Your statement is misleading, as both the Linux kit and the specific model of PS2 that it requires have been discontinued for years. Allow me to correct:

        There was an officially sanctioned Linux install kit from Sony for a long-discontinued model of the PS2.

    • How much is shipping from you to Illinois? I'd be happy to pay it.

    • This is useless to me, since I don't even *use* my ps2 anymore, except for quick games of Guitar Hero every few weeks.

      Maybe because you haven't had much to play lately? This could alleviate that.

  • by Nimey (114278) on Wednesday October 29, 2008 @11:42PM (#25564987) Homepage Journal

    If the dev kits are free, more games will be made for the platform, and that leads to more money to Sony because of more console sales.

    This is an older platform, true, but that would definitely be true for newer stuff like the PS3.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Enderandrew (866215)

      I would really like to see a console-maker basically cut a deal with the homebrew community. Fully open up the console to homebrew development, and in turn, ask said homebrew community to police piracy.

      Sony's PS3 is the most open console from a hardware standpoint. They even let you replace the HDD without voiding the warranty, and offer Linux installs. But Microsoft has been the closest to supporting homebrew development with the XNA.

      Why can't Microsoft and Sony release a virtual machine to test develop

      • by niteice (793961) <icefragment@gmail.com> on Wednesday October 29, 2008 @11:53PM (#25565069) Journal
        The whole point of XNA is that games can run on the Xbox and Windows with (virtually) no modifications to the source code. Your own desktop PC will make a pretty good VM.
        • by tepples (727027)

          The whole point of XNA is that games can run on the Xbox and Windows with (virtually) no modifications to the source code.

          It also means that you'll have to completely rewrite the source code if you want to run it on anything but an Xbox 360, a PC running Windows Vista, or a comparatively recent PC running Windows XP. If you want to port to DS, PSP, Wii, Mac, Linux, or PS3, that's a complete rewrite because they can't run C# easily if at all.

          Your own desktop PC will make a pretty good VM.

          My PC is eight years old, you insensitive clod!

          • by Z34107 (925136)

            My PC is eight years old, you insensitive clod!

            Then why are you even trying to get a dev kit? Do you think you're going to write your game with a PS2 controller?

            • by walshy007 (906710)

              amazingly enough, running a text editor to write source code can still be done extremely quickly even on a 386!, granted you'll have a hard time making/viewing high colour depth and resolution textures and the like, but even a p200 can do that somewhat more effectively,

              it doesn't take a supercomputer to write programs that run on a supercomputer, your compile times will be longer than if you did, but still irrelevant

              that being said, 8 years old equates to about a p3 700 or so, back in the day before devk

          • It also means that you'll have to completely rewrite the source code if you want to run it on anything but an Xbox 360, a PC running Windows Vista, or a comparatively recent PC running Windows XP. If you want to port to DS, PSP, Wii, Mac, Linux, or PS3, that's a complete rewrite because they can't run C# easily if at all.

            Anything that can run GNU/Linux can run C#, thanks to that awful Mono project, so that's "Linux" and PS3 taken care of. I believe it's possible to run Mono on Mac OS X though it's clumsy

            • Anything that can run GNU/Linux can run C#, thanks to that awful Mono project

              The Mono runtime and whatever implementation of the XNA framework that the Mono developers might come up with would probably take more RAM than is in some of the handheld devices I mentioned, probably more even than the 32 MB in the PS2.

              • Well, yeah, but you're not going to have that much luck creating useful cross platform code that runs on both a DS and PS3. If you genuinely try to write a game targeted at both, you're going to have to limit your cross platform part to a well abstracted core that'll be interpreted by code custom written for the platform.

                For PS3, GNU/Linux, and Macs, Mono is going to serve you as a starting point for porting an XNA based game. For Wii, your major problem is going to be the lack of a port of GNU/Linux. I'

                • If you genuinely try to write a game targeted at both [a Nintendo DS and a current-generation console or PC], you're going to have to limit your cross platform part to a well abstracted core that'll be interpreted by code custom written for the platform.

                  I have used such a model-view split [wikipedia.org] in a freeware title that runs on PC, GBA, and DS. All the game play mechanics are in one part of the program called the "model", and the graphics, audio, input preprocessing, eye-candy physics (such as particle effects), and menus are in another part called the "view" that imports the model much like a library. I just don't want to have to maintain parallel C++, Java, and C# versions of the model by hand, allowing defects to creep into one version and not the other.

                  • That just means you're writing for lowest common denominator. If your DS game plays exactly like your GBA or PC game except for graphics, audio, input preprocessing, eye-candy physics (such as particle effects), and menus, you're doing it wrong.

                    This is one of the reasons the Wii has virtually no good 3rd party games; you can either write a game for the 360 and/or PS3, which if/when ported to the Wii doesn't take advantage of the Wiiness, and therefore blows on the Wii, or you can target the Wii, and lock y

      • The PS2 hardware is completely different to a PC, which most of us "homebrew" types work on. It has more than one specialist CPU in addition to it's main one, custom made by IBM.

        Emulator performance wouldn't be a real indicator of the performance of the console, so what would be the point in releasing a VM (emulator)?

        • by NekoXP (67564)

          The PS2 CPU is custom made by NEC, not IBM. It's MIPS and the Emotion Engine is just a Voodoo3-class vector graphics chip. It's actually pretty shite when it gets down to it.

          As for coding for the Playstation *THREE*, you could do well to go out and get an old Mac G5 (dual core) and start developing on that if you need a desktop box, but it isn't like you can't boot Linux really easily on a PS3 anyway (you can even run Ubuntu if you're that dorky).

          • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 30, 2008 @12:51AM (#25565373)

            Please actually get information before you post things...

            The Emotion Engine is the CPU, it's a joint project between Toshiba and Sony, it's a MIPS R5900 class CPU with two embedded vector units. (One of which has a direct pipeline to the GPU)

            The Graphics Synthesizer is the GPU, it's a chip made by Sony, and it's a more or less simple triangle raster with fogging/mipmap/texturing/gourad shading and some other minor features. It has no pixel shader or vertex shader. (The "vertex shader" is effectively code running on the VU1 of the CPU)

            A dual core Mac G5 does have a PPC970 style core, however it's dual core. The CELL has one PowerPC processing element with two hardware threads, both "effectively" running at half the clock rate. However this misses the entire point of the CELL which is the EIB and SPUs, the PPU is there in theory to just be a C&C center for the system itself and the SPUs/EIB. (In reality it's actually where most games run.... with the SPUs offloading specific tasks such as rendering, physics, audio, and occasionally AI.)

      • by tepples (727027)

        I would really like to see a console-maker basically cut a deal with the homebrew community. Fully open up the console to homebrew development, and in turn, ask said homebrew community to police piracy.

        At least two gaming platforms allow amateur and professional software to coexist: Windows on a slimline PC connected to an HDTV, and Pandora. But neither is expected to become a cash cow in the next couple years.

        Why can't Microsoft and Sony release a virtual machine to test development in for people who can't afford a dev kit?

        If you can't afford a dev kit, it's likely that you can't afford the other things that come with running a video game development business: leased office space, a lawyer, an accountant, an ESRB rating (or foreign counterpart), and especially a team of developers who work for salary.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      If the dev kits are free, more games will be made for the platform, and that leads to more money to Sony because of more console sales.

      Like in 1983?
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Video_game_console#Video_game_crash_of_1983 [wikipedia.org]

      Or like for PC? There's an open platform. Not a lot of evidence of a idie game bonaza there to refute Sony's very successful and closed PS2 business model. Things aren't as simple as you think.

      • by Bert64 (520050)

        The PC may be a more open platform, but it's also a lot messier...
        Incompatible hardware, layers of abstraction between game and hardware, different performance levels, driver breakage, background tasks hurting performance (incl malware and tools designed to remove it)... It becomes a lot more hassle both for the developer and for the potential player.

        But speaking of indie games, the Amiga had quite a successful public domain scene with large numbers of homebrew games being developed... The hardware was almo

    • by cgenman (325138) on Thursday October 30, 2008 @12:13AM (#25565195) Homepage

      As dev units are custom electronics (and plastics), they'd be hard pressed to give new ones away without taking a significant financial hit. However, I've seen lots of disused PS2 equipment loitering around offices in the industry. I'm sure if Sony called back some of those (at least the ones they published), they'd have quite a few to loan out to the community.

      On a side note, this may be a pretty historic change. It's difficult to see if they mean that they're removing the initial content approval but not the final quality certification, or if Sony really announced that it will be a completely open platform, ALA the Jaguar at the end of its life. Sony is either saying here "You're free to produce whatever" or "We don't care what you make, as long as it doesn't crash and meets our other requirements." Will Sony still manufacture the disks, or are they out of the loop? Is there still a cert process?

      With Sony still referring to "Licensed Developers," it sounds like a process of some sort is still in place. But even with one, this is still a huge announcment in an industry dominated by arbitrary 1st party rules.

      • industry dominated by arbitrary 1st party rules.

        They were put in place to ensure we don't have another Atari failure that brings down the entire game market.

        • by cgenman (325138)

          Also, people were attempting to monotize the success of 3rd parties working on their hardware, a failure of Atari's older model.

          But the question is, would a truly open platform survive in modern time with more savvy consumers and a lot more information than was available in 1984? And with competition from other platforms? I don't know, but it would be fun to find out.

    • If dev kids are free, yes, more games will be made.

      How many good games are made now, compared to crap games?

      Now multiply the crap games by a thousand.

      The whole signal/noise problem, all over again.

      • by rob1980 (941751)
        If Sony is pushing the PSN as the delivery platform for these indie games, I'm sure the games will still have to pass a sniff test to verify that they are at least technically sound, not blatant copyright infringements, and not a repeat of the "I Am Rich" app for the iPhone before they're posted. Somehow I doubt, and perhaps I'm being overly optimistic about it, that there will be much more than a blip in the signal/noise ratio.
    • Why not just offer a cheap kit which would allow you to nuke the lockdown mechanisms and open the hardware on your machine?

      • by walshy007 (906710)
        that would be rather pointless, because the homebrew community already have methods to allow people to boot from usb sticks using modified standard ps2 memory cards.
        • Sony wants to open the platform to devs though, and it appears they're looking to do it with minimal costs.

          release a lockdown nuker, and the problem is solved. Those who wish to develop for the machine can crack it open with the offical sony redi-box(R) kit, and away they go.

    • by d0cu (1226728)
      You got it backwards (or Sony did). Sony loses money for each PS3 sold. Idea is to make PS3 cheap enough that people would buy it. When console is popular then game makers must consider releasing versions for that platform. Licensing dev kits makes Sony the profit. Logic is - it's always easier to collect money from corporations rather than individuals.
    • by donaldm (919619)
      Opening the PS2 to home-brew developers could make an impact in second and third world countries. While this won't stop piracy you may see a booming home grown market that the target consumers will pay for although the developers probably won't make that much for their efforts, still this may be a stepping stone to better things. The problem is most games will be worse than shovel-ware however you may see some highly innovative games as well although they would be few and far between. Still even one stellar
      • by keeboo (724305)

        Opening the PS2 to home-brew developers could make an impact in second and third world countries.

        Obviously you have no idea on what means '1st, 2nd and 3rd world'.

    • by LWATCDR (28044)

      "If the dev kits are free, more games will be made for the platform, and that leads to more money to Sony because of more console sales."
      Wrong. Sony makes more money from the games than from the console.
      Then you have the problems with quality control. One of the things that killed the Atari 2600 was the lack of quality. Everybody was pumping out crap games and people lost faith in all games. It didn't help that Atari also pumped out crap.
      The cost of a Dev system isn't that high for most consoles these days.

  • by Bragador (1036480) on Wednesday October 29, 2008 @11:44PM (#25564999)

    Since the content approval process is being removed, I'm sure their will be games rated for adults only coming out. These will include stories with violence and what not, but also porn.

    I guess more people will want to buy a ps2, or remove the dust from their old ps2 and buy new games.

    Good job Sony!

    • Re: (Score:2, Flamebait)

      by cgenman (325138)

      Notice how they waited until PS3's were no longer backwards compatible with PS2 games to make this change?

        • Um, they've since dropped all backwards compatibility for PS2 from the new machines. The PS3 machines being manufactured today don't have support for any PS2 games anymore..

          • by amorsen (7485)

            The PS3 machines being manufactured today don't have support for any PS2 games anymore..

            Which is really damn annoying. I'm not going to keep three consoles, and right now those slots are PS2 and Wii (the Wii got to replace the Game Cube). Going PS3 would mean rebuying Singstar x 7, or keeping the PS2 around. The solution may be to rebuy Singstar x 7 for the Wii and dump the Playstations. Maybe add an Xbox 360 once they remove the airplane noise.

          • by tlhIngan (30335)

            Um, they've since dropped all backwards compatibility for PS2 from the new machines. The PS3 machines being manufactured today don't have support for any PS2 games anymore..

            The interesting thing is, on the product page, Sony makes the following statement about the $400 PS3 (80GB, 2 USB ports):

            This product has limited backward compatibility with PlayStation®2 and PlayStation format software. Many PlayStation®2 format software titles will work, but full compatibility is not guaranteed. Updating the

        • by donaldm (919619)

          I assume the article is for the US/Japanese model PS3 since the 60GB PS3 had full hardware backwards compatibility while the 80GB model had the PS2 Graphics Synthesiser and software emulation as did the 60GB PAL PS3.

          The article states that only 57% of PS2 games worked on the emulator models. This is untrue it is more like 85% to 90% after Firmware 1.8 came out on 24th May 2007. Of course even 85% is not good if the games you like fall in the 15% of games that have issues ranging from freezing, artefacts o

      • Sony played it smart - the PS2 market continued to grow and develop while the PS3 took hold, so Sony figured they could knock off the backwards compatibility to save some bucks because the PS2 crowd has kept doing their thing.
  • It's not "open". (Score:5, Informative)

    by Animats (122034) on Thursday October 30, 2008 @02:26AM (#25565829) Homepage

    Sony is not making the PS2 platform "open". You still can't create a program disk for the PS2, because content has to be signed to load, and Sony is retaining control of the signing keys.

    This article really should be titled something like "Sony simplifies approval process for PS2 programs."

    If anybody could create program disks for the PS2, we might see it used as a business machine, in kiosks, for retail applications, call centers, thin clients, etc. It's cheap, stateless, and low-maintenance.

    • by Aladrin (926209)

      "Open" had meaning before FOSS took it over. This uses that meaning.

    • PS2 discs aren't signed. They're just DVD-ROMs with unsigned executables on then. They just happen to have a nonstandard "copy protection" mechanism which means that normal DVDs won't work.

  • We shouldn't need a devkit. Modern PCs are fast enough to run an emulator.
  • What's the point? PS2 is old technology by now. Just release everything under an open source license, and let people have fun with it...

    • by qzak (1115661)

      Old technology to you maybe, but for someone in Brazil or Malaysia, it is the most bang for the buck if you want a cheaper console with a huge game library - far better than any "modern" console.

      A quick check of VGChartz shows that Sony sold 436,458 PS2s from Sept. 28 to Oct. 25 worldwide. Given that the hardware is by now cheap to produce, that's a cash COW. I doubt it makes sense for Sony to follow your suggestion quite yet. But the move they made here seems to be to encourage "local" developers to make

      • by master_p (608214)

        So? make the dev kit and the associated libraries free (as in beer and speech), not the console itself. Your claim is even a stronger motive for open sourcing the dev kit: it will lead to more PS2 sales.

    • The PS2 is the most ubiquitous gaming device in the world. If you're targeting the largest market in console owners and want to market your game to that market, you'd be making a PS2 game.

    • by xhrit (915936)
      the point is that most ov the days this year the ps2 sold more units then the xbox 360.

      much like the fact that most ov the days this year the ps3 sold more units then the xbox 360.

      http://www.vgchartz.com/hwcomps.php?cons1=PS2&reg1=All&cons2=PS3&reg2=All&cons3=&reg3=All&start=39383&end=39747 [vgchartz.com]
  • by elrous0 (869638) *

    They said "thanks."

    Now if you'll excuse me, David Spade is calling from 1994.

  • How exactly does one develop for the Playstation Network? Do you need a PS3 dev kit?

You will lose an important disk file.

Working...