Sony Mobile To Avoid “Junk” On Other Mobile Stores

Jim Ryan, Sony’s European head, has spoken about the future make up of the PlayStation Mobile marketplace. Formerly PlayStation Suite, the platform puts Sony’s gaming brand on mobile apps available for a multitude of devices, including the company’s own mobile handsets, HTC handsets and the PlayStation Vita.

Over 50 smaller developers are said to be working on games for the platform already and I’ve previously said that I think it might be the thing to really spur on uptake and spending on the Vita.


Now, in an interview with, Ryan has said that Sony are understandably cautious about what their brand represents. He said that Sony has to be careful it is “ensuring that anything that is offered on this platform is of proper PlayStation quality and that people feel comfortable and safe that they are not going to inadvertently stumble upon any of the junk that exists in that wider marketplace.”

On one hand, that sounds like a good thing. There is an awful lot of noise on the AppStore and it makes it almost impossible to find those great mobile gaming gems without support from Apple themselves or an expensive marketing campaign that is at crossed purpose to the smaller development environment. But introducing any sort of barrier to that kind of mobile marketplace adds an obstacle that tiny indie developers might struggle to overcome.

I’ll be honest, the thought of a Sony certification process acting as a barrier to content arriving on their PlayStation Mobile platform does nothing for my previously enthusiastic confidence in the idea.

I’m all for finding a way to curate or otherwise surface quality content but Sony’s certification processes haven’t exactly worked for Minis – a platform with a fraction of the size of the AppStore and similar (although, admittedly on a much smaller scale) problems with quality to noise ratio.

An extra barrier between development and marketplace might be enough to put off indie developers considering that PlayStation Mobile is such a tiny potential market in comparison to other mobile marketplaces with fewer barriers of entry.




  1. Avoiding junk? Let the public decide what’s junk, not Sony. This’ll never take off like the App Store now.

    • I’m sure he just means stuff like ‘Angry zombie birds’ on iOS and other fakes that are just scams…just look at some of the crap on PS3 (Haze etc.). So I assume this will just be certification that the apps aren’t utter rubbish, and at the very least work properly.

      • But, but…I liked Haze! :(

        I *hope* it does just mean strict filtering of crapware.

      • Haze was ok, but a game breaking bug near the end stopped me bothering to find out the end. Got it for about £3 so it wasn’t too disappointing…just wanted to see whether it was as bad as some said, which it wasn’t. But like I say, the bugs were atrocious.

  2. good so much crap on Apple/Android store good to no it will be quality Sony no what there doing they own PlayStation.

    • I agree. I don’t even go on the App Store to look for games anymore, as I can’t be bothered to look through all the crap. It’s fine if you know what you want.

    • I’ve given up on the app store. Too much on there. Better to use links from sites to find the gems.

      • peter to be fair there very open on PSN so to judge it before we even no is pointless there just don’t want fart sounds special anywhere near it.

    • No guarantee it’ll be quality, only that it’ll be “Sony approved” – something that hasn’t worked to filter out shit on Minis or to surface quality on the PSN. Sony’s interference in a free digital marketplace killed their music distribution aspirations and now there’s a decent chance of it killing their mobile gaming store.

      That’s a billion dollar market that they’re possibly going to miss by not being open enough. That’s a billion dollar market that won’t be financing new PlayStation 3 (and 4) game and tech development.

      I agree that there’s an insane amount of rubbish to wade through on the AppStore – customers are finding their own ways to surface that stuff and Apple (and Google on Android) should be doing more to make that easy and intuitive. But they probably don’t care when they’re making many times more cash selling those 69p games that take some finding than Sony makes selling £40 games that take up entire racks of shelves on the high street.

      Simply put, like it or not, Sony will eventually cease to be a force in the gaming sector if they don’t find a way to compete with Apple, Google, Facebook and Steam. This is quite obviously not the way to compete with those companies.

      • comment was for you mate above.

        most apps do not break even so they can not be making that much money on the app store.

      • Heh, I’ll pick up both comments here ;)

        They’re not open at all on the PSN, plenty gets turned down, plenty sits in localisation or certification for months on end (hence all the comments with SCEE like “where’s Auditorium HD?”) and plenty of developers are quietly frustrated by that process – developers who could be tempted to try making more money from less outlay and less risk with mobile and social apps. Everything on PSN needs to be licensed by Sony and made using still relatively expensive devkits. Then, when it’s put on the PSN Store, that’s the only place people can purchase it. So in order to market their own games, developers have to essentially send the people they’ve spent money attracting through a big shop window filled with other, competing, products because there’s no web store to directly link to.

        It’s true that most apps don’t break even, getting noticed on the AppStore is incredibly difficult. But those games that are sufficient quality and/or marketed well make a lot of income, relative to their production costs. That’s for the developers, though. For Apple, they have a huge, open store ecosystem that others are stocking with ever refreshing, ever vibrant content that they only do cursory quality checks on (which isn’t expensive) and they take 30% cut on sales. So they make millions for hosting files and curating a front page for their store. That’s what Sony could have set up with PlayStation Mobile – the opportunity to take a percentage off the top and reap huge rewards for not much outlay. Instead, it seems that they’re going to increase their costs and massively decrease their potential earnings. That’s not going to work.

        Don’t misunderstand me here, I think some quality control is needed but I don’t think Sony has a great track record with that for digital distribution (although Hirai seems to be trying to turn them into a different kind of company, which is reassuring) and I don’t think the scale hinted at here is ever going to be tempting for the small dev teams who can’t afford to take a risk. They’ll just continue to develop for mobile stores that they’re more sure of getting access to and more capable of self-promoting.

      • Wasn’t it meantion on here this week that Coconut Dodge sold more as a mini than on iOS? Surely that’s a sign that to some degree it is working.

        You also only need to look at the struggles Facebook has faced floating on the stock market partly due to time spent on facebook falling and a lack of revenue developers are generating through it to see that there is no guarentee how long things like Facebook will survive as a platforms.

        From when I’m sitting Andoird and iOS both look very much like the the various gaming markets over time. It’s in a time of boom with the mass market on side but they will, as always, move onto something else and games sales on the platforms will fall back down closer the the volume pre-smart phone. Much like PC gaming it will suffer due to the volume of rubbish on the platforms and the constant need to upgrade hardware.

        PC’s had their time a while back and consoles have had their time with the mass market and are falling back to the sort of sales levels pre-PS1. It’s still sustainable and there will always be a market for that. Actors have found that working in video games is now credible and financally benefical. That will always cost money and no 69p game will ever be able to complete with that sort of quality and technology required. They will have a chunk of the market but it’ll never be all conquering.

        If streaming ever takes off where will that leave these 69p games? Who will buy them when they are already paying a subscrition to play the latest and greatest games? Free to play is a nice idea but I can’t see it transferring to something like FIFA when EA know they can sell you the whole package every year. What would a F2P version look like? Just the arena?

        Somewhere between the new PlayStation Plus and OnLive is probably the true future of gaming.

        This post seems to ended up a lot longer than I intended – woops.

  3. “One man’s junk is another man’s treasure” springs to mind. If they interfere too much, as you say that will put off many Indie developers, yet I agree that they need to have some standards. I’d prefer it to be more like the App Store with plenty of content, even if it’s a small percentage that’s actually decent over not much content that will probably have the same amount of ‘real gems’.

    • Having real gems is no good unless you can find them. Not all ps3 games get reviewed as it is and user reviews are far more hit and miss. That is always going be struggle for platforms as open as Android and iOS. Have many bad games will people buy before they stop buying altogether?

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