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Sony: games 'lost' in iPhone's App Store

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.

By Electronista Staff


  1. lamewing

    Dedicated MacNNer

    Joined: Aug 2004


    An attack?

    I would not call an honest comment an attack. Sony is 100% correct regarding this issue. The App store is very disorganized and finding something is not an easy thing to do. Having said that, PSN is not the most intuitive store either.

  1. Flying Meat

    Dedicated MacNNer

    Joined: Jan 2007


    Wine, with that cheese?

    Man! The big boys love to cry when they don't get their way, hunh?

    So, Sony presents a smaller application store pond -- which they admit (at least they hope) will become a great big crowded ocean -- in the hopes that developers will play in their pretty expensive (barrier to entry?) pond.

    It would seem that the price of entry might be too high for the little guy who just wants to code and get their cool stuff out there. It would certainly increase the time to profitability.

    On the other hand, I imagine that if you already have a proven success with a software product on iTunes, you could then leverage that profit by buying into the whole Sony thing, and releasing it there as well...

  1. AlenShapiro

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Apr 2000


    By the same argument....

    Sony should advertise how difficult it is to use their programming API and tout this as a clear advantage. After all, with a cumbersome and hard to use API, won't only experienced developers be able to produce applications for Sony's phones.

    What an awful elitist perspective. Let's create an artificial barrier to entry, charge you to overcome it, and then tell you it was for your own good.

  1. iphonerulez

    Dedicated MacNNer

    Joined: Nov 2008


    It's nice...

    when you can manage to put a negative spin on anything.

    Don't go to Baskin-Robbins anymore because there are far too many choices of ice cream flavors. Come to my store, because we only sell vanilla, chocolate and strawberry flavors which is clearly the way to go. In fact, we'll even charge you more just to prove we use the best ingredients.
    (Meanwhile we'll continue to save up money and eventually have 32 flavors to brag we have a lot more flavors than B-R. Well, at least one more than B-R, anyway)

    Sony is so full of c***. If their present gaming development method is so good, they should stick to it and shut the h*** up.

    Apple will eventually re-do their App Store, but it's not going to be easy by any means. They said they never figured on this large an app growth so soon and they got caught with their pants down. I'm sure the new App store is on the drawing boards.

  1. JulesLt

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Jul 2005



    That's not the point - the comment is addressing developers, not consumers.

    From a business point of view, if you're a developer, you want to be where the profits are - think how Apple work.

    In fact, this very same argument is used about Mac software development vs Windows - the Windows market has more potential customers, but it can be easier to make a profit in the Mac market for a variety of reasons. The App Store definitely has the danger of becoming like the Windows software market.

    On the other hand, it's going to be a problem in any large marketplace. What I think people need to recognize is that it's just a store. No one in the music business expects that you just stick your album up on iTunes, and that it will somehow sell, magically.

    I also suspect Apple will introduce a premium developers plan at some point, but I doubt they really have the resources to dedicate to it right now (the experienced iPhone developers who would be needed to give the advice, are undoubtedly highly in demand).

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