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GDC Austin: PSP Minis Drop Features To Hasten Approval Time
GDC Austin: PSP Minis Drop Features To Hasten Approval Time
September 16, 2009 | By Kris Graft

September 16, 2009 | By Kris Graft
More: Console/PC

At GDC Austin on Wednesday, Sony confirmed that the bite-sized PSP Mini digital download games will not be allowed to have wireless multiplayer functionality, downloadable content, or software updates.

Sony Computer Entertainment America senior account manager Justin Cooney said that the decision to bar the features is to "accelerate the approval process."

"When you look at it from a testing perspective, you have to do more QA. [Allowing those features] would defeat the purpose of having a dedicated service for smaller content," he told Gamasutra after a GDC session. "It increases the barriers." While Sony is barring wireless multiplayer, there are announced Mini games that have "hotseat" multiplayer in which players can swap the handheld and take turns.

Sony announced PSP Minis in August. The games are restricted to a 100MB download size and centered on pick-up-and-play accessibility. Minis launch with the revised PSP hardware, PSP Go, on October 1, with a library of 15 games, including iPhone-derived games like Fieldrunners and Hero of Sparta.

Cooney said that the QA process for PSP Minis typically take three to five days, compared to up to two weeks for full-sized PSP games. "Perhaps other times of the year, it may be shorter." He said that barring downloadable content and software updates are also "part of the streamlining" process for Mini QA.

"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," he said.

The PSP Mini guidelines are a marked difference from those of iPhone and iPod Touch games, in which developers can implement online features, downloadable content, and software updates that allow developers to evolve their games beyond release.

Would iPhone developers who want to bring their products over to PSP become turned off by Sony's PSP Mini restrictions? "I think from an iPhone perspective, you can create a Minis product from your iPhone product, or create a [full-size] PSP game," Cooney said. "Nothing stops you from bringing an iPhone product to the PlayStation platform. It's just really up to the developer to decide if they want it to be a regular title or a PSP Mini title."

John Howard with InMotion software, developers of the iPhone game I Dig It, is one developer expressing interest in porting iPhone games over to PSP Minis. Howard wasn't terribly concerned with the inability to have multiplayer, DLC, or even updates. He was just pleased to see that there is yet another venue for small, bite-sized games.

"If it's going to be as simple as they say it's going to be, and the pricing model is realistic, we'll deal with the downsides. All platforms have a downside," he said.

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Roberto Dillon
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less than 100MB, no wireless multiplayer, no downloadable content, no updates: is making a game where there is nothing to review the only way to speed up the approval process? Besides, I wonder how many people would actually be interested in downloadable games that lack further dowloadable content, updates and multiplayer capabilities....

Sometimes I really don't understand Sony's strategy... my fault, of course.

Wolf Wozniak
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Yea, I agree, as excited I am about the Minis store.

They have to be able to give them a chance to patch their stuff.

Alberto Barbosa Cabrera
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I really wanted to buy a psp mini until now...

Peter Dwyer
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Given the rediculous price for the GO, coupled with this new revelation, it's starting to look like the old Sony is back and stronger than ever.

Basically the PSP minis will be single player games that can contain bugs but, will not be fixed?!?

Of course this is absolute nonsense. There will need to be both a patch and versioning system in place exactly like the Apple app store has and extra content will probably be added with each new version. Without this the PSPGo will simply be murdered by the media. I really do wonder why the PR guys at Sony aren't being fired on a revolving door basis, much like the Admirals in the starwars movies.

Mike Smith
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Yeah for PSP Minis! I'm pumped!

steve roger
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Is anybody buying 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," he said.

Umm, doesn't this say that Sony can't get it's act together? Hi, we are Sony and we have a bloated and beauracrtic review process that can't be changed or improved. It is like they are throwing out the baby with the bath water.

Mohales Deis
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This is a professional site, yes? Then how come I'm sensing some standard game board bias here. The same old Sony? I digress.

This isn't a problem. The games will not suddenly not be fun because these are dropped. The whole idea is to have quick bite sized games delivered faster than any other service and this is what they are trying to do. These are not meant to be fully featured games because we already have a plethora of those options from fully featured PSP games, smaller ones still released on discs (or digital), and the PSN store for basically anything and everything in between.

The features they are taken out are still recent in game history so it's hard to believe that gamers cannot live without them. How are they going to fix bugs? How did they do so for the last 2 decades? No online multiplayer? That's only needed if the game was built around the idea or with the idea in hand. I for one am happy with going back to Hot seat multiplayer because I'm a traditional couch social player which means when I multiplay I rather have a group of friends or my girlfriend play with me on the couch. Downloadable content? We have lived with that again for what 3-4 years now and it is still a controversial issue because many people believe they are getting gimped. The developers aren't putting as much effort into the released games because they could add them later or charge for them, well that whole argument is out of the way and moot.

Guys remember to that Sony like MS and Nintendo is a business that has stockholders, stakeholders and a budget to worry about. It would be great if the companies can give us uber-systems that talk to you, have BC, Blu-Ray players, no limits, and is priced at $50 (consoles) with games costing $2. None of that is realistic however, many developers and managers are trying hard to please the community but they do have a business to run and it bothers me (only a little) when you get people from the game community saying how they could run the business Yet I'm afraid to ask what job titles and degrees most of them currently hold.

Please, be considerate.


Management, Marketing, HR, Psychology, and Computer ANimation Student

Mark Venturelli
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Mahles, it's not like that. Multiplayer is not a new feature. Pong was multiplayer, remember?

This is a stone wall for developers working on a multiplayer game, like I am. They could, in my opinion, allow multiplayer through ad-hoc but not online. After all, it is a lot easier to approve netcode that is meant to work only in a lag-free environment.

Anyway, this makes me sad panda.

Rob Schatz
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What a friggin Ponzi scheme. Better to spend $10 on a checker board where you can also "hotseat" swap players and not $299 on this POS.

Alexander Tuckett
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OHhh... ok... so they got lazy. Multiplayer is better when you're actually competing directly against someone. I guess there will be a truck load of turned based strategy games, with not much variation in game play. So much for driving people to develop new and innovative games of all sorts of genres... well... for this "thing" anyway.