In an interview with Develop, Sony revealed its strategy for development on the PlayStation Portable, and it's going to look a lot like an iPhone, with lots of easily downloadable, cheap and "snackable" apps and games. The company is making development of downloadable PSP games easier by streamlining distribution, and encouraging developers by abolishing concept approval, providing cheaper devkits, shorter quality assurance processes, and low price points for new games. All of these new games and applications will be available on a specially branded section of the PlayStation Store available to both PSP and PSP Go owners.
“We’re introducing new initiatives for the PSP which take it beyond traditional gaming, but still includes elements from gaming, and also includes new developers.” said Zeno Colaço, SCEE's head of developer relations.
Fifty studios are already hard at work on the new-school PSP applications and games, with more to be added in the future. While Sony isn't following the iTunes model to the letter -- it won't be giving away development kits -- the company has recently slashed prices of its SDK by 80%, which lowers the entry bar significantly for smaller teams.
"It is still a professional environment," Colaço said, "you still need a development kit and you still need to have investment and a team. But it can be a small team. We don’t see any of the restrictions on the disc-based space being in this space."
Do you think Sony's adoption of an iPhone-like app store for the PSP and PSP Go is ultimately a good thing or a bad thing? Do you care about small games and utilities on the PSP, or are you more about full-scale gaming on your little tiny screen? What kind of games or programs would you like to see? Personally, I think opening up the development process to more people will create a whole lot of crappy content -- it always does -- but buried within all that crap, you'll find some diamonds that otherwise wouldn't exist, so lets hope the gaming community and/or Sony will come up with a filtering system to separate the wheat from the chaff!