Sony's long-awaited answer to Xbox Live Indie Games has just launched. Called PlayStation Mobile, it sets up an App Store-style environment, where indie game developers can pay $99 per year to put their games on the PlayStation Vita's marketplace. And that's not all; select Android devices will be able to run the games as well.
What kind of games are there?
The official PlayStation blog has featured two of the indie games so far, Loot the Land and Super Crate Box. The latter was originally featured on Steam and the Mac and iOS App Stores, and was ported to PlayStation Mobile by a fan. About a dozen others are shown on the PlayStation Mobile home page, and are imaginative indie games in roughly the same vein.
Who else is making these games, and how much do they cost?
PlayStation Mobile games are largely priced around $1 to $5, the same as App Store titles. There are a handful of titles from major developers, although some of these are ports of old PSOne games. The highlights promoted by Sony are the indie titles, some of which have been featured on other platforms before and some of which are new for PlayStation Mobile.
This sounds a lot like PlayStation Minis. What's the difference?
PlayStation Minis still exist in their own section of the PSN marketplace, on modern Sony consoles. The concept is similar, in that they're bite-sized games that only cost a few dollars and aren't always made by the major game studios.
The difference for developers is that anyone can sign up for the PlayStation Mobile developer program and start writing games, so long as they pay the $99 a year fee and their games are approved by Sony. The difference for PlayStation owners, besides the fact that PlayStation Mobile games are in a separate part of the PSN marketplace, is that PlayStation Mobile titles are only on the Vita, as opposed to the PSP and PS3. However, they'll also run on select Android devices by Sony and HTC, and any PlayStation Mobile game that you buy will be playable on every such device that you own.
Which "select devices" can run PlayStation Mobile games?
The official PlayStation Mobile site has a list. Basically, if you're using an Android tablet made by Sony you'll get an update that includes PlayStation Mobile automatically, and if you have an Android phone with "Xperia" in its name you can go to Sony's site to download the PlayStation Store app.
Support for the HTC One S, HTC One V, and HTC One X hasn't been finalized yet; Sony says "We will update you soon." No support for the HTC One X+ has been announced, but that may be explained by the fact that HTC's newest flagship phone was just announced yesterday.
Jared Spurbeck is an open-source software enthusiast, who uses an Android phone and an Ubuntu laptop PC. He has been writing about technology and electronics since 2008.
- Game Consoles
- Technology & Electronics
- PlayStation Vita
- PlayStation blog