Sony Details PlayStation Suite, Could Be Critical For Vita’s Success

Beta next month.

The PlayStation Suite could be the single most important thing to happen to the PS Vita. Peter’s already said this, of course, but it’s worth looking at again as the development tools move into an open beta next month, backed up with a strong GDC showing last week.

If you’re not familiar with PSS, it’s a cross platform development studio aimed at Android devices that are PlayStation Certified. And, interestingly, PS Vita. With it, the handheld could play host to apps and games that normally grace smartphones and tablets, massively increasing the Vita’s appeal, especially in-between the sorts of release lulls we’re experiencing now.

In short, Sony are promising much quicker review and approval turnaround times than they’ve ever done with PSN, applications built with PSS will just need a single global submission and developers can set their own pricing, in addition to being able to use the PSN/SEN system and the PSN wallets.

[drop2]Sony’s GDC presentation tellingly labels PSS as an “application store” model with an open development environment and a focus on ‘casual games’, targeting everyone from homebrew coders to professionals, with C# as the primary programming language.

The SDK will allow programs to run on a virtual machine, supported by all PS Certified devices, and will also feature 3D graphics libraries and a ‘UI toolkit’ so that non-game apps look and feel similar. Publishing is designed to be super easy – ‘one button’ – with Sony saying that in-game ads aren’t allowed, but they’ll take a cut of all sales, which is fairly obvious.

Games and apps will be available via a separate storefront on the PS Store.

Developers can look forward to getting their hands on the PSS from April this year as the SDK hits version 0.98, without a license fee, and will even allow apps to be “fully testable” on PS Vita (there’s also a PC simulator). The full SDK, later this year, will require an annual $99 license fee.

Anyone interested can sign up for email notifications here, where a PDF of the PSS slides can also be downloaded.

27 Comments

  1. I also think it’s critical, not just to Vita but also Sony themselves.

    Sure they can carry on like they are, but some sort of joined-up way to get a range of games & apps on their phones, tablets, handhelds & 3rd party devices they licence to, is their best attempt to rival Apple’s ongoing revenues from their App Store.

    • I agree, this is the first thing I’ve seen that really appears to have App Store-rivalling potential.

    • Cc has a good point.

  2. Same annual fee as iOS but with a much smaller install base (for the moment, at least). Very interesting to see how people use it and how enthusiastic developers are for it. Fingers crossed!
    I really think that this might be the thing to boost Vita sales as it enters its second phase, running up to Xmas and into next year when we start seeing value-add bundles and hearing talk of price drops.

    • The dev stuff should be more appealing to developers, though – PC based, C#… Depends on Sony’s approval process, of course, something tells me it won’t be quite the ‘one button’ thing they’re promoting it as.

      Still, am signing up… =)

    • Except that it’s also across Sony’s phones too, isn’t it? Still smaller than iOS, but that would really increase the level of appeal to developers.

    • I can see this working because it could be a much more focused experience. You know who you are dealing with and users don’t have to search through thousands of useless apps to find something that they are interested in.

  3. There’s certainly potential. I’ve always enjoyed the concept of PS Minis though given their overall technical limitations and over-pricing, I’ve only gone out and purchased a few.

  4. I like the ‘in-game ads aren’t allowed’ bit. The ads are the main reason I quickly loose interest in some games/apps.

    • Generally paid apps on Android and iOS don’t have adverts in them. This essentially just means that practically all apps will be paid for.

    • Right, never bought a game for my android phone/tablet. Tried a few free ones but mainly use Vita (was PSP) when out and about.

  5. C# is great, been looking into this :)

    • I find C# so much easier to use than other languages. I probably end up buying a vita in a month or so. :)

  6. “Developers can set their own pricing” is probably the best thing I read. Imagine Angry Birds at £59.99! :P

    • I believe devs setting their own price is how the iphone app store works. I could be wrong on that, but I think the PSS devs would set costs at an affordable rate to make it more appealing (and still be able to give Sony their cut).

    • Don’t forget the day 1 DLC/online pass for £9.99

      This could be what Sony needs for that huge sale boost.

  7. Wow. The PSV needs this. I like it so far, but I think something like this will be unbelievably good on Vita. I hope this gets a good amount of support, and Sony seems like they want to make it as simple as possible.

  8. This is a really nice feature, it just confuses me as C# is used for the Xbox indie games as well as the Zune games. Generally companies get funny about stuff like this, but I’m glad they have grown up past silly disputes. It has actually made me want a vita more than I already do.

  9. Brilliant. Although as mentioned before, whilst no ads is great, this probably means a severe lack of free apps which i have a lot of on my iPod touch which i’m using to type this

  10. Great news, as long as the quality is maintained then we should be in for some great games and apps.

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