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Sony targets iPhone developers and low app prices for PSPgo

post #1 of 30
Thread Starter 
Sony plans to lure iPhone developers to the PSPgo, a revised version of its PlayStation Portable handheld gaming platform, and copy Apple's low App Store prices to create demand for the relatively expensive new hardware, according to a gaming industry report.

The article, published by PocketGamer, indicates that Sony plans to deliver a library of online PSPgo games for download through its PlayStation Network at prices of 1, 2 and 5 Euros, similar to Apple's iPhone apps, as a way to create interest in the new PSPgo hardware, which is expected to cost $250 or £230 (UK prices are not currency equivalent).

The original PSP, unveiled in 2004, was similarly priced at $250 in the US and attempted to sell both games and movies on Sony's proprietary UMD optical media for around $25-$40. Sony later enabled the purchase of online games for around $20 each.

The UMD format never really took off for movies, and sales of the PSP have languished behind the more popular Nintendo DS. Since 2004, Sony has sold around 50 million PSPs while Nintendo has created a DS installed base of over 107 million over a similar period.

Attack of the iPhones

More recently, the PSP has seen new competition from the iPhone and iPod touch, which offer gaming as a secondary feature to web browsing, email, media playback features, and on the iPhone, serving as a mobile phone. In just over two years, Apple has developed an installed base of 45 million devices, 100,000 registered developers, and 65,000 apps according to COO Tim Cook in the company's Q3 2009 conference call.

By matching the price of iPhone apps, Sony hopes to stay in the game. The company faces some real challenges in making that happen, including enticing developers away from the already proven iPhone market to sell to a new installed base of PSPgo users.

At the same time, Sony already faces resistance from its existing developers, with Activision CEO Bobby Kotick threatening to drop support for the PS3 and PSP if Sony didn't lower its hardware prices. Sony insists that it can't lower its prices and still remain profitable.

Developers, Developers, Developers

Sony must also convince its developers to target projects that can be profitable at such a low price. That will also require a smaller cut of software sales for Sony, which has historically levied a much higher cut from its game developers than the 30% share Apple charges in the App Store.

All of the game console makers expect to earn significant cut of software revenues, and Sony and Microsoft have historically relied on this income to cover losses when selling their hardware. Only Nintendo has consistently sold its hardware at a profit.

In contrast, Apple makes almost all of its revenues from hardware sales, enabling it to levy a smaller cut of software sales to support iTunes operations. The company has repeatedly stated that it aims to operate iTunes at a break-even point, investing its profits into expanding the store's features.

App Store Approval

"Sony isn't taking a leaf out of Apple's book when it comes to easing the process of publishing, however," the article noted. "[PSPgo] Games will continue to go through formal console-centric Technical Requirement Check (TRC) requirements, as well as a two week quality assurance testing period. Sony will also actively control the release schedule for games, although considering the current disquiet over Apple's laissez faire attitude to app approval and release, this might not be a bad thing."

The gaming industry's general perspective that Apple's App Store approval process is cheaper, simpler, and easier for developers in comparison to the status quo in console gaming might come as a shock to iPhone users, who are regularly bathed in reports of complaints from iPhone developers ranging from the length of app approval to the $99 cost of signing up in Apple's iPhone development program.

Sony currently requires developers to pay for a very expensive set of tools and hardware to create PSP games. Despite an 80% drop in the cost of its development tools made this summer, Sony's PSP software development kits still start out at $1000 to $1500.

After witnessing the success of the iPhone App Store and particularly its appeal to independent small developers, Sony hopes to woo iPhone indie developers into porting their apps to the PSPgo rather than focusing on a few large developers to create gaming titles.

However, Sony will also face competition for attention from Google's Android, Nokia's Symbian, Palm WebOS, and Microsoft's Windows Mobile and Zune platforms, all of which are actively courting iPhone developers' attention in similar hopes of replicating Apple's success in selling mobile apps online.
post #2 of 30
Why does Sony even try?
post #3 of 30
Sony's PSPGo will bomb. Plain and simple. The hardware is overpriced for "last-gen" technology and its physical attributes did not address the one main complaint that most PSP users have - a second analog control stick/nub. For these reasons alone the adoption rate of the PSPGo will be abysmal.

What Sony needs to do is create a NEW, more powerful PSP2 system that utilizes the best idea put forth with the PSPGo and that is downloadable content. They also need to address the missing second analog control stick. Then they could begin to build on a new, next-gen and potentially successful platform.

Oh, and they need to go back to the drawing board with the design of the new device. Let's face it, the PSPGo is just plain ugly.

They should try to do something more along the design lines of this:
http://www.engadget.com/2009/07/07/p...original-xbo/2
post #4 of 30
A recap of those hoping to steal from Apple's developer pool:

Android
Verizon
Microsoft
Sony
Palm
Nokia
Motorola
RIMM
???
post #5 of 30
I realize that $1k isn't much in the case of developers, but if PSPGo is going to attract devs from the iPhone, shouldn't they try getting their dev kit to be priced a little closer to the iPhone Dev's subscription fee? Or maybe just waive the fee? Or is there fancy hardware involved here?

I suppose it depends on their objective. If they want to keep out the riffraff devs, then the higher entry fee will do that. Maybe that would have prevented the flashlight & fart apps, among other lame two-bit ideas from coming to fruition.
post #6 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by Wil Maneker View Post

A recap of those hoping to steal from Apple's developer pool:

Android
Verizon
Microsoft
Sony
Palm
Nokia
Motorola
RIMM
???

You said it!

To sum up ... One word ... "Pathetic"
Does any other company have a single original idea?

It is staggering to try to imagine where we would be technologically if not for Apple! Someone should make a movie where we see life on Earth had Apple never existed.
From Apple ][ - to new Mac Pro I've used them all.
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From Apple ][ - to new Mac Pro I've used them all.
Long on AAPL so biased
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post #7 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by digitalclips View Post

You said it!

To sum up ... One word ... "Pathetic"
Does any other company have a single original idea?

It is staggering to try to imagine where we would be technologically if not for Apple! Someone should make a movie where we see life on Earth had Apple never existed.

They did make that movie, in a sense, and we saw what happened, life on Earth became "Potterville"!

Ten years ago, we had Steve Jobs, Bob Hope and Johnny Cash.  Today we have no Jobs, no Hope and no Cash.

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post #8 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by L255J View Post

Why does Sony even try?

Exactly. Lower their prices to create a larger market to sell more games to make a profit.

They'll supposedly have a slimmer PS3 coming out soon that will be cheaper to produce so then would be a good time to drop the console down by $100. The PSP should drop to $150 if they are serious about competing.
post #9 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by L255J View Post

Why does Sony even try?

Because Sony actually sold 51.6 million units?

n.b. data taken from march 2009

And to the rest of the ill informed here: Sony never intended their products to be developed by non-professionals/kids but professional studio's world wide, and targets the games at a much higher number both Apple and it's application developers have to sell loads of applications to get to the same sort of income.

Want to learn something about game development for the PSP? Then start reading here: http://www.snsys.com/

p.s. I went to Spain this year for my holiday and didn't see a single iPhone, but a crap load of kids playing games on their PSP so it's not all bad for Sony, despite what some people here might think.
post #10 of 30
It's the whole idea of "enticing iphone developers" that seems flawed to me.

In the majority of cases iPhone apps are of the 'keep it simple stupid' type, where people who are probably programmers in their day jobs get the Apple developer tools and knock up a simple but useful app. That's completely different from writing 3d gaming engines for a PSP.

What Sony need to do is get the game developers back on board properly.

But they can't compete, if they sell the hardware at a price to make a profit (and therefore take a smaller share of the software profits), then they will be too expensive. The iPhone has a massive advantage here because it's subsidised by the mobile networks.

I think Sony should focus on the PlayStation brand again and either bring out a cheaper PS3 or focus on a new machine that solves a lot of the problems of the PS3. The PS3 might have more processing power than the xbox 360 but in a lot of cases the game still look better on the xbox.
post #11 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by digitalclips View Post

You said it!

To sum up ... One word ... "Pathetic"
Does any other company have a single original idea?

It is staggering to try to imagine where we would be technologically if not for Apple! Someone should make a movie where we see life on Earth had Apple never existed.

And exactly what original idea has Apple come up with? Could you please list all the original ideas that the iPhone has? The App Store? Nope, I could buy apps for my Verizon phone long before the iPhone ever existed. Multi-touch? No, that's just a mish-mash of existing ideas from existing touch screen interfaces and the gestures plug-ins that were already being created for web browsers.

What's pathetic is the number of people here who seem to think Apple is the only company with original ideas when really all Apple does is watch what other companies do and then jump into the market when they think it's profitable. Except for the home computer market decades ago, has there been any product category Apple has been first to market with? Maybe Apple better implemented the ideas but that certainly doesn't make them original.
post #12 of 30
The psp could have been the greatest device ever. It came close except it has no app store to fuel innovation.

I hope for an apple tablet pod pyoch 20 percent larger than the psp with gaming
voip
internet
email
mac osx
video recoprder
video play back
\\and some work related stuff
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post #13 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by digitalclips View Post

You said it!

To sum up ... One word ... "Pathetic"
Does any other company have a single original idea?

It is staggering to try to imagine where we would be technologically if not for Apple! Someone should make a movie where we see life on Earth had Apple never existed.

Terry Gilliam did: Brazil.
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0088846/

Tubes and monitor screen magnifiers.
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post #14 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by caliminius View Post

And exactly what original idea has Apple come up with? Could you please list all the original ideas that the iPhone has? The App Store? Nope, I could buy apps for my Verizon phone long before the iPhone ever existed. Multi-touch? No, that's just a mish-mash of existing ideas from existing touch screen interfaces and the gestures plug-ins that were already being created for web browsers.

What's pathetic is the number of people here who seem to think Apple is the only company with original ideas when really all Apple does is watch what other companies do and then jump into the market when they think it's profitable. Except for the home computer market decades ago, has there been any product category Apple has been first to market with? Maybe Apple better implemented the ideas but that certainly doesn't make them original.

It's how Apple manages to compile and combine technologies in novel ways and make them not only function, but actually make them useful AND USABLE. Usability is the key and that's Apple's true genius. Apple Also take the time to gradually make their products EVOLVE over time.
If you just look at cell phones Every "advanced" (and not more recently) has included a laundry list of whiz-bang features meant to make that phone incredibly useful. Sure, those "features" are there, but first try to find them. Then try to figure out how to use them. Then decide if the pain you have to endure to use them is actually worth the effort?

In my experience... I've owned, Motorola, Nokia and Sony Ericsson's... ABSOLUTELY NOT. Featuritis is NOT a substitute for usability.
Most tech companies think that the LIST is the most important thing.

If you look at the development of the iPhone, users and reviewers howled at features that were "missing" when they were finally added (copy and paste) not only did it work, but it works in extremly useful AND unexpected ways.

When Apple adds a feature, it WORKS. They do not promise the moon and deliver orbital junk.
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post #15 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by Switchers (Chief Editor) View Post

Because Sony actually sold 51.6 million units?

51.6 million units since 2004. Apple has sold 45 million iPhone/iTouch in two years. How many will they have sold after 5 years.

Quote:
And to the rest of the ill informed here: Sony never intended their products to be developed by non-professionals/kids but professional studio's world wide, and targets the games at a much higher number both Apple and it's application developers have to sell loads of applications to get to the same sort of income.

The point of the article is that Sony wants to attract iPhone developers. If Sony felt secure with it's current developer base their would be no need to attract more developers.

Apple has been attracting big studios and well as small independents. Do you really think the big studios have a monopoly on all the best gaming ideas? The small guys have been coming up with great games that sell well, I'm sure Sony sees the value in that.


Quote:
p.s. I went to Spain this year for my holiday and didn't see a single iPhone, but a crap load of kids playing games on their PSP so it's not all bad for Sony, despite what some people here might think.

I see far more kids playing Nintendo DS than PSP.
post #16 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

Sony must also convince its developers to target projects that can be profitable at such a low price. That will also require a smaller cut of software sales for Sony, which has historically levied a much higher cut from its game developers than the 30% share Apple charges in the App Store.

I assume that you've got a source to back up your claims?

IIRC, Sony's cut on a third party PS3 game is about $5. That's less than 10% of the $59.99 price tag. Obviously Sony doesn't distribute games so its costs are lower.
post #17 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by caliminius View Post

And exactly what original idea has Apple come up with? Could you please list all the original ideas that the iPhone has? The App Store? Nope, I could buy apps for my Verizon phone long before the iPhone ever existed. Multi-touch? No, that's just a mish-mash of existing ideas from existing touch screen interfaces and the gestures plug-ins that were already being created for web browsers.

What's pathetic is the number of people here who seem to think Apple is the only company with original ideas when really all Apple does is watch what other companies do and then jump into the market when they think it's profitable. Except for the home computer market decades ago, has there been any product category Apple has been first to market with? Maybe Apple better implemented the ideas but that certainly doesn't make them original.

An "original idea" poorly implemented is worthless.

Apple invented the smartphone. Everything that came before pales in comparison.

Broaden your understanding of "original idea."

Current innovation in the handheld/mobile phone industry is due to Apple. All of it. And it doesn't end there. The reason Windows is approaching some semblance of usability (as in, it sucks less), again, due to Apple. The reason MS is trying to make Windows Mobile something people will actually want to use, once again, due to Apple. The reason Windows sufferers will have an already obsolescent, late, about-to-be-upstaged (again) Zune HD, yet again it's thanks to Apple. When Ballmer walks into a room full to bursting with Mac users, saying "we've got more work to do, we've got more work to do", it's due to Apple. You like your HTC Touch? Thank Apple. The browser you'll be getting on the Zune HD . . . you can thank Apple. Palm's return to relevance (or semi-relevance), you can thank Apple. It isn't just Elevation Partners at work there.

Apple is the key to the existence of usable tech in the mobile and computing industry today. It's just that simple.
post #18 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by jeffharris View Post

If you look at the development of the iPhone, users and reviewers howled at features that were "missing" when they were finally added (copy and paste) not only did it work, but it works in extremly useful AND unexpected ways.

When Apple adds a feature, it WORKS. They do not promise the moon and deliver orbital junk.

Interesting to note that even with those "missing features" the iPhone STILL set the bar and set the competition back several years. Proof that loading a phone up with endless features (goes for most tech) is NOT the answer. The key lies in the effective implementation of features, and part of that is wrapping them in a great UI.
post #19 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by Quadra 610 View Post

An "original idea" poorly implemented is worthless.

Apple invented the smartphone. Everything that came before pales in comparison.

Broaden your understanding of "original idea."

Wow, what an orwellian redefinition. Your first sentence even contradicts the second. The third is something Orwell would have said.

Bravo.
post #20 of 30
I think Sony might be diluting their advantage here. Although I love playing games on the iPhone/iPod Touch, even I'll admit that it isn't in direct competition with the PSP. The PSP is designed as a gaming device and no matter how creative developers get with touch controls, there are definite advantages with physical controls for many types of games. PSP games are also generally longer, more in depth, and have higher budgets and production values (matter of opinion for the latter I suppose). The iPhone/iPod Touch however is great for casual gaming, which is what it is, a cell phone/mp3 player that can also play games. ie. good for a quick game without carrying something else. There is little point in carrying around a 2nd device, ie. the PSP just for a quick, casual game.

Sony should just focus on pushing the "hardcore" gaming realm in the PSP since that is what it's designed for. And I agree that a PSP2 is definitely needed here since the iPhone 3G S and presumably 3rd gen iPod Touch with ARM A8 and PowerVR SGX have superior hardware than the dedicated portable gaming PSP, which is counter-productive.
post #21 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by JeffDM View Post

Wow, what an orwellian redefinition. Your first sentence even contradicts the second. The third is something Orwell would have said.

Bravo.

YET it is his finest post \\because apple did invent the smart phone
and the smart phone is and will re invent apple for the 12 yrs
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post #22 of 30
I think developers like programming for the iPhone because it's like programming for a computer and the end result, operates like the user would expect it to....on a computer.
post #23 of 30
Apple are just the same as any other developer/business. They are out to make money.

The difference between Apple and their rivals are that Apple have an entirely different mindset when it comes to software. Apple want their software to work, no fucking around, no fancy tweaks, they want it to work without any serious effort from the user.

Other companies such as Microsoft and sony really don't give a fuck. They don't care how much work is involved for the developer and how much it costs them to learn the intricacies of Sony's hardware.

As far as Sony are concerned the difficulties in programming their hardware are actually a 'feature'. In the same way that a joiner will tell you that the reason that you backdoor will not close and is hanging open slightly is also a feature.
post #24 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by Quadra 610 View Post

An "original idea" poorly implemented is worthless.

Apple is the key to the existence of usable tech in the mobile and computing industry today. It's just that simple.

+1! Very well said!
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post #25 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by TenoBell View Post

51.6 million units since 2004. Apple has sold 45 million iPhone/iTouch in two years. How many will they have sold after 5 years.

I am aware of that, and I am not comparing numbers but replying to someone who said: "Why does Sony even try?". In other words: Sony has 51.6 million reasons.

Quote:
Originally Posted by TenoBell View Post

The point of the article is that Sony wants to attract iPhone developers. If Sony felt secure with it's current developer base their would be no need to attract more developers.

No. Sony is trying to attract "certain" iPhone developers. Not all of them. Not the 99 cent developers.

Quote:
Originally Posted by TenoBell View Post

Apple has been attracting big studios and well as small independents. Do you really think the big studios have a monopoly on all the best gaming ideas? The small guys have been coming up with great games that sell well, I'm sure Sony sees the value in that.

I am fully aware of that, and some of these are real eye openers. That's the kind of developer Sony needs.

Quote:
Originally Posted by TenoBell View Post

I see far more kids playing Nintendo DS than PSP.

Which is good for Nintendo, but there was no one at the airport playing with an iPhone/iPod Touch... but a number of people with PSP's (which I wasn't really expecting during a vacation).

It might just be a demographical thing (some countries selling more PSP's than others). I don't know, but that was what we observed during our trip.

Cheers.
post #26 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by L255J View Post

Why does Sony even try?

Seriously, Sony should be one of the best electronic companies out there. They make televisions, music players, games consoles, computers and mobile phones. Instead of trying to nick some small time developers they should focus on providing integration across all their products. This is something Apple does so well that no other company really does. A Sony eco-system makes for a pretty compelling reason to buy their products, but they aren't pushing it too hard from what I've seen. I guess it's partly because Sony doesn't really do software.
post #27 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by Switchers (Chief Editor) View Post

I am aware of that, and I am not comparing numbers but replying to someone who said: "Why does Sony even try?". In other words: Sony has 51.6 million reasons.

That's not a winning strategy. Look at how much money Sony is loosing. Nintendo has sold over 100 million DS units. Apple will soon surpass the PSP.


Quote:
No. Sony is trying to attract "certain" iPhone developers. Not all of them. Not the 99 cent developers.

Sony plans to deliver a library of online PSPgo games for download through its PlayStation Network at prices of 1, 2 and 5 Euros,


Quote:
Which is good for Nintendo, but there was no one at the airport playing with an iPhone/iPod Touch... but a number of people with PSP's (which I wasn't really expecting during a vacation).

That's not a big surprise. The PSP has been on sale for three years longer and is cheaper than the iPhone/iTouch.
post #28 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by TenoBell View Post

That's not a winning strategy. Look at how much money Sony is loosing. Nintendo has sold over 100 million DS units. Apple will soon surpass the PSP.

Their money is loose? We better help them tighten it up then!!!
post #29 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by Wil Maneker View Post

A recap of those hoping to steal from Apple's developer pool:

Android
Verizon
Microsoft
Sony
Palm
Nokia
Motorola
RIMM
???

Say, all those copycats!
post #30 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by RichL View Post

I assume that you've got a source to back up your claims?

IIRC, Sony's cut on a third party PS3 game is about $5. That's less than 10% of the $59.99 price tag. Obviously Sony doesn't distribute games so its costs are lower.

Ugh. Sony is now trying to be a copycat too..
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