updated 05:40 pm EDT, Tue September 8, 2009
Sony attacks iPhone game development
Apple's approach to the App Store is ultimately hurting game development on its platform, Sony Europe developer relations head Zeno Colaco claimed this week. In comparing the process behind iPhone and iPod touch games to the recently introduced concept of PSP Minis, the executive argued to Develop that letting App Store game creators have a low-cost development kit actually hurts their chances of success as it encourages too much development. While their games go online quickly, they reportedly get lost in the sheer volume of titles where the smaller PSP catalog will provide better exposure.
"There are dangers in having total open access; having six thousand applications where probably only thirty are discovered by the consumer," Colaco said. "Some of the developers working on the App Store and PSP Minis tell us that they prefer our approach because they get more visibility."
He also touted Sony's approach as more helpful in the long term. It still costs $1,500 to receive a PSP development kit, but any developer receives help throughout the production and ultimately has a more professional product with outside bug testing. Apple's solution offers "no help" to developers once they've begun, Colaco implied.
Simultaneously, though, the relations chief acknowledged that the PSP was invariably competing against the App Store and anticipates eventually following a similar path.
The commentary is a rare attack from Sony, which is believed to have developed the PSP Go as more a direct reaction to the rapid growth of the iPod touch as a game platform than competition against its ostensible rival, the Nintendo DSi. Previous PSP systems have depended almost exclusively on large, professionally made games stored on individual UMD discs that have not only had to carry high prices but have often been slowed down and otherwise limited by the five year old optical format.
Apple's success has largely been helped by the prices of iPhone and iPod games skewing towards $5 or less as well as its use of a basic but relatively speedy approval process that checks only for SDK violations as well as basic functionality. The company recently revealed that most App Store submissions are approved within two weeks.