So PSP Minis seems like a really cool idea. Kinda like the iPhone app store, but for your PSP. Ok, so apparently it’ll only have games, but it’s a games console after all. Oh, and you’d better not want to play those games with anyone. That’s right in a statement given yesterday by SCEA senior account manager Justin Cooney at GDC Austin it was confirmed that all PSP Mini titles well be barred from using wireless multiplayer, DLC or any form of software update. Sony had better hope that no-one wants to be social when playing the new titles.
Apparently Sony have removed this features in an attempt to “accelerate the approval process”. I can see where they’re coming from here, making sure the games work with future DLC or the PSP’s wireless connectivity certainly adds layers of complexity to Sony’s approval process. According to Cooney Sony have been “streamlining” the QA for PSP Minis, a phrase that fills me with dread. While the games are smaller and worth less to Sony, I see no reason to reduce the QA process. They’ve been touting the Mini’s as a pretty big feature, surely they’d want to give it their full support rather than this statement.
“From our perspective, if we’re going to reduce the time it takes to get through our internal process, it helps that we don’t have to check multiplayer features,”
Why do they need to reduce the time? Is being held up in QA really that significant of an issue for these developers? If developers don’t want to implement wireless play that’s fine by me, it’s a case of investing time and resources where they make the most sense. But reducing the number of options available to developers, particularly when other full-game developers have access to them, is hardly a way to draw the best and bright towards your platform.
Of course it’s not all bad news, Sony have confirmed that whilst games will be missing wireless multi-player there will be a ‘pass the pad’ or ‘hotseat’ game mode in some announced titles, where players take turns with the PSP. Hardly ideal, but at least there will be some form of multiplayer in launch titles.
Personally while the lack of multiplayer is a sore spot for me, the removal of DLC and software updates seems like it will hurt developers more. Of course with the 100MB cap on games maybe Sony are hoping that titles will remain simple and be harder break, meaning that patches won’t be required. I doubt developers are looking at it that way. I also doubt they’ll be happy with the inability to continue to make money from DLC. The DLC removal also just seems bizzare from a company that are pushing the new digital media only PSPGo, but the decisions made by big corporations never quite seem to be inline with each other anyway. Finally when you consider that Sony are launching this initiative as a competitor to the Apple App Store, a platform where titles now support all of these features and aren’t limited by a 100MB cap, it seems unlikely that a lot of developers will be willing to jump ship.