Gamasutra: The Art & Business of Making Gamesspacer
Icon's PSP Minis Adventure
Printer-Friendly VersionPrinter-Friendly Version
arrowPress Releases
April 16, 2014
PR Newswire
View All
View All     Submit Event





If you enjoy reading this site, you might also want to check out these UBM TechWeb sites:


 
Icon's PSP Minis Adventure
by Richard Hill-Whittall on 07/23/11 11:24:00 am   Expert Blogs   Featured Blogs

The following blog post, unless otherwise noted, was written by a member of Gamasutra’s community.
The thoughts and opinions expressed are those of the writer and not Gamasutra or its parent company.

 

We released our first PSP Mini, Arcade Darts in July 2010 – which was good timing to cover cash-flow shortfalls from our WiiWare development (a full summary of which can be found here).

In contrast to WiiWare, the PSP Minis program was a joy to work with. Sony promotes the service well (it was a front-page PSN link for several months), you can update your product at will (although each update requires a fresh QA submission), reduce the price permanently or in timed sales promotions and best of all – you get nice regular cash-flow saving monthly payments.

Sony were very approachable and very developer friendly (are you reading this Nintendo?!) with us, and with other developers I spoke to. Hell – they even loaned us the PSP dev-kits!

I had heard a number of horror stories about the low sales numbers for Minis before we started, but we were pleasantly surprised. Certainly compared to the bigger console digital download formats such as XBLA and PS3 PSN and high selling iOS Apps, the numbers are quite low – but we found them to be fairly consistent and enough to cover the PSP specific dev-costs plus a little profit.

The sales split seems to be the opposite of WiiWare; whereby on Minis we found the PAL sales to be far higher than the NTSC sales. Roughly speaking the split is 2:1 in favour of PAL sales. There also seemed to be a marked difference in approach and enthusiasm for the Minis program between SCEE and SCEA, with SCEE very positive and pro-active with Minis and SCEA much less so.

Another key point is that you are paid monthly by SCEE, but quarterly plus 45 days by SCEA; and they are often later than that! Although rather disappointingly this all fell apart after the PSN hacking downtime and at the time of writing is still a long way off returning to normal – which has been very hard on our finances.

Facts & Figures

So, how have we done so far?

Our biggest seller is Arcade Darts, so far selling over 11,000 PAL units and 2,500+ NTSC units. This far exceeded our expectations (we actually only expected to make around 2,500 sales!).

Our next Mini, Arcade Air Hockey & Bowling was released in September 2010 and has so far sold over 8,000 PAL units. This was also our biggest US hit on Minis with sales totals so far at 6,500 units.

Next up we released two titles in January 2011; Family Games and Soccer Bashi. As with WiiWare, Bashi has been a total failure; so far selling only 420 PAL units and 600 NTSC units – the losses we’ve made with this are frightening. Moral of the story I think is don’t do a retro block breaker unless you really revolutionise the genre or make it really cheap!

Family Games has fared a little better at 3,000+ PAL sales, and 1,500 NTSC sales.

Again the PSN downtime really hammered sales here, although even before that it seemed like Minis sales numbers were tailing off compared to 2010.

Conclusion

Taken as a whole Minis development has been a thoroughly enjoyable experience and a real panacea to the pain of WiiWare. We’ve had lots of really nice reviews, met a fair few members of the Minis community on PSPMinis.com and actually got money for sales in a timely fashion without the hell of Sales Thresholds.

Sony has been great to work with – I really can’t overstate that enough. From a developer perspective, especially compared to Nintendo and Microsoft, Sony has been there nearly every step of the way and I am confident they will pick-up after recent hiccups.

We have just released our fifth Mini, Arcade Pool & Snooker and are currently working on two further Minis for release later in 2011. So our Minis Adventure looks set to continue well into the future…


Related Jobs

CCP
CCP — Reykjavik, Iceland
[04.16.14]

Visual Effects Artist
SOAR Inc.
SOAR Inc. — Mountain View, California, United States
[04.16.14]

Game Designer/Narrative Writer
Treyarch / Activision
Treyarch / Activision — Santa Monica, California, United States
[04.16.14]

Associate Producer - Treyarch
Treyarch / Activision
Treyarch / Activision — Santa Monica, California, United States
[04.16.14]

Production Coordinator (temporary) - Treyarch






Comments


Eirik Moseng
profile image
Thanks for sharing Richard!



May I ask what development times you have in average on these titles for PSP Minis?

Richard Hill-Whittall
profile image
Hi Eirik - sory for the delay replying.



On average 3 months, although bearing in mind we already had the games completed/or similar stuff released on other formats.

Eirik Moseng
profile image
No worries, we have all busy days as game developers :) Thanks for sharing!



Cheers!

Richard Hill-Whittall
profile image
Just about to release a Vita IPA write-up.


none
 
Comment: