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PlayStation (Games) Portables (Games) Entertainment Games

Sony's New Development Strategy For the PSP 86

Posted by Soulskill
from the progress-is-progress dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Sony is finally responding to the threat posed by the iPhone, and has started aggressively courting developers around the world to work on digitally distributed games for PSP in a bid to grow the amount of software offered on its handheld. And, Develop has revealed, the firm is planning to introduce a streamlined content pipeline for the platform — which includes abolishing concept approval — plus cheaper devkits, shorter quality assurance processes, and very low price points for new games. It hasn't totally abolished the barriers around the platform for homebrew and indie devs, but it's a start."
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Sony's New Development Strategy For the PSP

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  • by XPeter (1429763) *

    Nobody cares. The ultimate hand-held platform right now is the DS, you can't work around the mind of Miyamoto, he's God of the gaming world.

    • Re: (Score:1, Interesting)

      by debus (751449)
      I have played with my nephew's DS and I just hate the size of the screen. Having two tiny screens just isn't that appealing to me. I really like the screen on my PSP. I have one of the original units and really like the form factor. It could use more and better games, but the problems with it aren't the hardware.
  • by Reason58 (775044) on Tuesday July 14, 2009 @10:48AM (#28691909)
    Make games that are fun.
    • by Kamineko (851857)
      It would have been enough for them to just have lots of games, but they didn't. It worked for the PS1 and PS2, but they distinctly decided to do exactly NOT that for the PS3. They're really quite bonkers.
    • > Make games that are fun.

      As a gamer, I'm behind this as a general idea, no matter the platform. I'd also like to suggest the following to Sony:

      Release (at least) the top 50% of your PSP game catalog as PSP digital downloads. Go through your PSP games sales records, look at which games sold best, and sell those games. Also, look at the review scores for your PSP games, sell anything that scored 7.5/10 or higher.

      Just put them on PlayStation Network so we can buy them. Make it easy for us to give you

      • by LKM (227954)
        I'm pretty sure Sony intends to release a huge number of all PSP games as downloadable games with the release of the PSP Go. Whether they will appear on the PS3 as well as the PSP remains to be seen.
    • by MogNuts (97512)

      Really, that phrase is getting old on /. There are a lot of games that are fun on the PSP. Just like they're a lot of games on the DS/Wii (which fanboys would probably use as an argument) that *aren't* fun (yes even first party Nintendo titles!).

  • I wonder if they're actively courting indie iPhone developers.
  • How about... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by cptnapalm (120276) on Tuesday July 14, 2009 @11:01AM (#28692079)

    Focus on improving the PSP's abilities rather than spend all their time trying to cripple the functionality other people have given to it?

  • Not enough (Score:5, Informative)

    by Itchyeyes (908311) on Tuesday July 14, 2009 @11:09AM (#28692201) Homepage

    I'm glad to see that Sony's trying to court developers, but it just seems like too little too late for the PSP. The PSP is just too dated as a platform to hold much appeal to me at this point. The PSP Go managed to ditch some of the legacy problems of the PSP that were holding it back, but missed a lot of obvious updates the platform could have used (2nd analog stick, capacitive touchscreen, flash based physical media, longer battery life), and it came at the cost of a ridiculous price increase.

    Sony could have the greatest gaming lineup ever, but I'm still not sure it would be enough to get me to shell out $250 for a portable device that's largely redundant with several devices I already own (and this is coming from a fairly hardcore gamer who didn't bat an eye at purchasing 3 home consoles and an HD4870).

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Gravatron (716477)
      stuff like the second stick, touchscreen, etc weren't going to happen. That sort of stuff could come in the form of the PSP2, which I can't help but think the PSP GO is a testbed for.
      • by Itchyeyes (908311)

        Basically my point there was that the PSP Go should have been the PSP2. The PSP is now 5 years old, a decent life for any system, especially one that has been hampered by design flaws since almost day one. Assuming Sony actually cares about having launch games for the PSP2, they need somewhere between a year to a year and a half lead time between the announcement of such a device and it actually hitting store shelves. That puts an optimistic estimates for a PSP2 at Christmas 2010, by which time Apple and

        • by MogNuts (97512)

          Maybe the PSP Go *is* their PSP2. Just because it isn't called the PSP2 doesn't mean it isn't. The Wii is a gamecube 1.5, and although that is the unofficial name, it's not an official Nintendo named product.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Jim Hall (2985)

      I'm glad to see that Sony's trying to court developers, but it just seems like too little too late for the PSP. The PSP is just too dated as a platform to hold much appeal to me at this point. The PSP Go managed to ditch some of the legacy problems of the PSP that were holding it back, but missed a lot of obvious updates the platform could have used (2nd analog stick, capacitive touchscreen, flash based physical media, longer battery life), and it came at the cost of a ridiculous price increase.

      I own a PS

      • by Itchyeyes (908311)

        On the subject of the analog stick, I think it needs to be an either or situation. Either two analog sticks or none. The problem with a single analog stick is that it invites developers to attempt console style 3D games, but doesn't provide a means to control the camera. If Sony can't find a way to comfortably integrate both sticks then I would prefer them just to ditch them both altogether, then at least developers would be forced to design games for a specific control scheme instead of porting conventi

        • by Jim Hall (2985)

          On the subject of the analog stick, I think it needs to be an either or situation. Either two analog sticks or none. The problem with a single analog stick is that it invites developers to attempt console style 3D games, but doesn't provide a means to control the camera. If Sony can't find a way to comfortably integrate both sticks then I would prefer them just to ditch them both altogether, then at least developers would be forced to design games for a specific control scheme instead of porting conventions from the PS2 that don't fit on the platform.

          You clearly have not played 'Daxter' or 'Ratchet & Clank: Size Matters'. Both are action/platformers, and traditionally you'd think "two analog sticks". But the games were designed and implemented in a way that you just don't need two sticks. One stick is fine, you never miss the second analog stick. If only some PS3 games had camera systems like that.

          As far as flashed based media goes, I'm aware of the reasons why Sony chose to stick with disks originally. But that was 5 years ago, it's time to rectify the situation. [...]

          They have rectified the situation - Sony is moving to digital downloads. Several recent games have been digital download only ('Patapon 2' for example.) M

          • by Itchyeyes (908311)

            You clearly have not played 'Daxter' or 'Ratchet & Clank: Size Matters'. Both are action/platformers, and traditionally you'd think "two analog sticks". But the games were designed and implemented in a way that you just don't need two sticks. One stick is fine, you never miss the second analog stick. If only some PS3 games had camera systems like that.

            I have not. So I'll take your word that it works well. However, for every R&C or J&D how many PSP games are there that don't work? Sure developers can design for one stick, just like developers can design games that use the Wii remote in innovative ways. But in general they don't, because it's just easier to shoehorn in an existing control scheme even if the fit isn't quite right.

            They have rectified the situation - Sony is moving to digital downloads. Several recent games have been digital download only ('Patapon 2' for example.) Many games have re-released as digital downloads ('Ratchet & Clank: Size Matters', 'SOCOM', etc.) So yeah, Sony has already been providing a path that doesn't solely rely on UMD's for playing games on the PSP.

            Why should I have to go to a store to pick up a PSP game, these days? Either as UMD or (your suggestion) flash stick? The games aren't that big (1.8GB at most ... often much smaller) so I'd rather buy them online and push them to my PSP. It's faster, and I don't ever have the issue games being "sold out".

            I guess Sony has an additional incentive, in that if you buy games from the PSN Store, you can "tie" the game to the person, so can reduce piracy. But I don't really care about the anti-piracy thing - for me, it's about having games I want to play at a price I'm willing to pay. Digital downloads are much cheaper - I mentioned in my other comment that digital downloads (obviously) don't include the cost of physical media like UMD.

            As an example (on the PS3, etc.) look at 'Battlefield 1943'. I played the demo, then bought the game online. I didn't even have to leave my basement and go into the Big Blue Room (aka "outside") to pick up a copy. I just bough it. That's the way it ought to be, especially for a game like B'43 that isn't very big. Don't force gamers to go to some brick-and-mortar store to buy things.

            This "buying things off the Internet" thing did eventually catch on. Learn to embrace it. :-)

            I understand that they're moving away from the UMD with their downloads program. I just don't think that their marke

      • The browser in the PSP looks and feels a lot like the browser in the PS3

        It's the same browser, Netfront.

      • by MogNuts (97512)

        Amen. I'm glad someone addressed this. Back in the initial days of the PSP, memory cards/solid state just wesn't an option. The only reason the DS had it is because *they're ROMs*. Yea, like the SNES/NES/Genesis. With 256 *MB* of space.

    • Sony has a huge chance! The Custom Firmware Community is gigantic and if Sony finally starts to harness it they will probably even beat the I-Phone.

  • Dear Sony (Score:3, Interesting)

    by sqlrob (173498) on Tuesday July 14, 2009 @11:11AM (#28692215)

    I already buy few PSP games. Are you trying to make me completely stop? Digital distribution is a guaranteed way to do it.

    • I Second this. not only is DRM a factor in this, but the fact that my internet speed sucks as it is... is one deterring factor that will keep me from buying a PSPgo. Besides, what shitty bandwidth i do have goes toward downloading tv shows i can't get on local cable.
    • Re:Dear Sony (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Duradin (1261418) on Tuesday July 14, 2009 @12:18PM (#28693219)

      I was going to pick up Patapon 2, on an impulse buy, one of the last times I was at a GameStop. Then, I decided I should check the used games, hmm, no copies of it, so then I checked the box. Download only. If anyone hadn't guessed, I still don't have Patapon 2.

      I'd have to buy a new stick of (non-standard) memory to fit it on as well as the game and then there'd be no loaning or trading of it. I'd put up with those restrictions for a under $10 game. For example, I have Zenonia for my iPod. I won't be buying Patapon 2 for $20 plus the cost of a new memory stick.

      My collection of UMD games (why yes, I'm one of those oddballs that actually buys games) also makes the new PSP pointless for me. For me, Sony is basically saying that since I've been a paying customer that has bought into their system they don't want me as a customer anymore because of pirates who don't buy things anyways.

      • by Renraku (518261)

        This could easily be cured if they brought the price of their memory cards down a little. Maybe they could have a loading/staging system built into the PSP, say, 4GB, and you could use standard thumb-drives to load it up on the go so you could play the games. Instead of, you know, paying $10+/gb for their 'special' memory stick.

      • by MogNuts (97512)

        Or you could have just downloaded the Patapon 2 *DEMO* from PSN to see what it was like.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Jim Hall (2985)

      I already buy few PSP games. Are you trying to make me completely stop? Digital distribution is a guaranteed way to do it.

      Actually, I prefer digital distribution. But maybe that's because I also have a PS3, so I buy PSP games from PlayStation Network, then push them to my PSP to play there. With the PS3, I don't really care how long it takes to download the game. I hear you can do the same with your PC.

      But yeah, for digital distribution direct to the PSP over wireless ... I can see why this would be a

    • I actually prefer digital distribution. It works for me on the PC/Steam because I can play my full back library on any system I want.

      As a person with an unusual job with a bizarre travel schedule, I hate carrying around media. All of my UMDs are ripped to my HD anyway. (And I assure you, my travel schedule is more taxing that anyone who will pipe up with "I travel a lot, too."

      That said, the problem with the PSP is not the distribution method. It's the lack of decent games, period. I have about 35 PSP U

    • by MogNuts (97512)

      Someone of us actually prefer digital distribution. Not having to lug around multiple UMDs, no wait to receive the product, less loading time, no noise, and longer battery life are surely the worst things ever.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    If only for the fact they never opened up their UMD media format for anyone else to use - it's nice to see them fall behind.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by tkrotchko (124118)

      They never did the obvious to make UMD successful... give UMD movies away when you bought the DVD. Yes, they would've taken a loss at first, but they would have built up a market for the things. Instead they charged *more* for a UMD movie than the DVD counterpart. So the rational thing to do was to buy the DVD, rip it and put it on a memory stick and watch it.

  • New developments (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Wowsers (1151731) on Tuesday July 14, 2009 @11:38AM (#28692617) Journal

    It's not the games that need developing, it's the PSP itself. An optical drive that you can't write your own discs, a proprietary memory standard (to boost Sony sales), and build quality that does not belong in their once famed quality of the 1980's - preferring style over everything else. Oh, and each new version goes up in price.

    I'd really love to have a PSP*, but locking me into an awful, overpriced memory standard is a deal breaker. Well, not quite, it has "SONY" written on it, THAT'S the deal breaker.

    * Used a friends device

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Right?

      There can't be a real person as pathetic as you just came off as.

      "It's not the games that need developing,"

      Of course, since the PSP release list for this year is absolutely staggering in size.

      "it's the PSP itself"

      At well over 50 million PSPs sold worldwide it's obviously you with the issues.

      "An optical drive that you can't write your own discs"

      Joke? Did you honestly just write that? Going all the way back to the first handhelds and reading gaming discussion boards ever since I've never heard of someon

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Toonol (1057698)
        It's kind of interesting, how you can look through a thread, and notice certain characteristics that show that various anonymous cowards are in fact the same person. The interspaced post/replay, doublespaced format, the "50 million PSPs sold worldwide" phrase, matches up with several different AC posts in this thread.

        And that's fine; no rule that you can't post passionately many times. It just made me wonder, is there software that will take text samples, and calculate a similarity index to other text
        • by kramerd (1227006)

          or the nature of the mistakes we repeatedly make (like listening to "1980's music").

          FTFY

    • a proprietary memory standard (to boost Sony sales)

      But how is Memory Stick PRO Duo any more "proprietary" than Secure Digital? Both SD and MS cards are subject to patents and trade secrets. The only one that isn't so proprietary is CompactFlash, and that's because it's just parallel ATA in a smaller form factor.

      • But how is Memory Stick PRO Duo any more "proprietary" than Secure Digital?

        From my POV? The fact I can only use it in other Sony stuff. Every flash-using gadget I own, from my HP calculator to an Eee PC, takes SD cards - except for our Sony camera. It's one standard for them and another for everyone else on the planet. That's not "more proprietary" in the strictly legal sense, but it's definitely more so in practice.

        • But how is Memory Stick PRO Duo any more "proprietary" than Secure Digital?

          From my POV? The fact I can only use it in other Sony stuff. Every flash-using gadget I own, from my HP calculator to an Eee PC, takes SD cards - except for our Sony camera.

          My cousin's Acer Aspire One has a Memory Stick slot (next to its SD slot), and I have a few devices that only take CF, such as my GBA Movie Player and my NES PowerPak. But I see your point: most everything else takes SD or USB MSC or both.

          It's one standard for them and another for everyone else on the planet. That's not "more proprietary" in the strictly legal sense, but it's definitely more so in practice.

          Then "less common".

    • by feepness (543479)

      Well, not quite, it has "SONY" written on it, THAT'S the deal breaker.

      Well, that makes your opinion entirely reasonable and unbiased, doesn't it?

    • by Mr_Silver (213637)

      I'd really love to have a PSP*, but locking me into an awful, overpriced memory standard is a deal breaker. Well, not quite, it has "SONY" written on it, THAT'S the deal breaker.

      You want a Micro SD to Memory Stick Pro Duo Adapter Converter [google.com]. It allows you to buy an 8GB MicroSDHC for half the price of the Sony version.

      I paid £5 for mine, so you should be able to get one easily for less than $5.

  • *does a double take* When was that ever a good thing? Seems to me the best software comes out of companies with long dev/QA cycles (Blizzard, id, Valve to name a few).
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Itchyeyes (908311)

      Sony's QA for the platform is not the same thing as a developer's internal QA. Generally platform holders have additional QA guidelines that they require developers to meet in order to publish on their platform. For example, Microsoft requires all games on the 360 to run at 720p resolution and have 1000pts worth of achievements. The platform holders QA process can be a double edged sword. It can keep especially poor quality games off the platform, however it can also discourage smaller indie developers,

      • Exactly, some parts of many companies QA make no sense though they have become more rational in recent years. For example, almost every great game for the NES/SNES was crippled by Nintendo's QA censorship. And really, thats all QA is and really was and is. Yes, some truly terrible games get blocked, but you would have to be blind not to see the level of crap that gets through "quality assurance".
      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by Kayden (1406747)
        XNA?
        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          Community Games has it's own set of standards. Also, the QA is partly farmed out to other Community members; anything uploaded gets rated by a bunch of other users before it's eligable to go out on Live Marketplace or anything. for example.

          • by Kayden (1406747)
            The developer doesn't incur that extra expense though, does he? So, it's not a prohibitive cost, but a quality control.
            • by Itchyeyes (908311)

              Perhaps, but the game is also at the mercy of the community. And even if it does pass through everything unscathed, it's still essentially consigned to XBLA's equivalent of a bargain bin. Not exactly the ideal route to publication any developer who can afford not to wants to take.

              • by MogNuts (97512)

                You're right, and it's a shame. I think it's time for us to start supporting these types of games more. For example, take the new Castlevania game showcased at E3. Huge budget, yet it's *another* rehashed 3D platformer hack 'n slash, commanding a $60 price tag. Yet I'd kill for a 2D sequel to Castlevania: SOTN with 3D rendered sprites/backgrounds. But alas that would be relegated to the bargain bin, just because it's 2D.

      • by feepness (543479)

        By shortening it's QA process Sony clearly is hoping that it will attract many of the indie developers that are publishing in so much abundance on the iPhone.

        This occurred to me as well. Traditionally, platform manufacturers have had to be very careful about quality since the Atari 2600 crashed the nascent gaming industry by being overloaded with shovelware at the end. A bad title still has to go into your manufacturing pipeline, take up shelf space, and be sold for $50 to a customer who goes out of their way to purchase it and is ultimately disappointed and ascribes that to the platform as much as the title. So for 25 years since the NES, manufacturers have

  • Make part of it detachable so it doesn't detract from gameplay. Add another CPU and battery to not detract from gameplay time. Maybe a bluetooth ear piece. Doesn't the PSP allow multiplayer interaction? (I don't own any game consoles, so i'm only going on year-old recall of a possible features ehnancement....)

    The iPhone is a phone as well as a fairly stellar entertainment device, from what i see. It's funny to be in BART and in ONE CAR see as many as 8 iphones in the hands of riders all within 10 feet of ea

  • I'm so glad the article didn't link to the psp developer's website since I am the system administrator for it and there was no warning this story would make it to slashdot.

  • Read the PSN ToS sometime. They're pretty extreme -- and not always consistent. At least one version claims not just to get a worldwide license, but a worldwide exclusive license to any content of yours which even happens to pass through the system.

    So no PSN account for me.

    So no downloadable games.

    So it's useless to me. Until they change that.

    (Think about it; more draconian terms than the ones people complained about from Facebook, from a company with a history of abusive litigation.)

  • "Sony is finally responding to the threat posed by the iPhone" thats nice and all, but they are still 5 years late (and counting) on responding to the DS. The PSP was released initially to compete against the DS. Nintendo proved once again why they dominate the hand held realm and now Sony is moving the goal posts for who its real competition is. The same thing happened when the Wii ran over the 360 and PS3. Just because its not as powerful as your game system does not mean its not directly competing it

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