I really really hope this is Sony Computer Entertainment badly handling something (wouldn’t be the first time) but today’s announcement that PlayStation Mobile is being shut down, without their being a comparable service replacing it, seems idiotic.
Okay we know PSM’s shutdown was pretty much inevitable since the service was discontinued on Sony branded smartphones (and with Sony spinning off it’s loss-making smartphone business, it would seem, along with half the other parts of the company for potential individual sale it’s hardly suprising – VAIO is already gone to it’s own seperate entity, it’s hardly surprising) but what now of the type of games that have been coming through as PlayStation Mobile releases?
For me personally, a PSP owning PS Vita player, I always saw PlayStation Mobile as the natural sucessor to the PSP Minis (later Minis), though I found it quite strange they were not runnable on the PS4.
For those who are unaware, PlayStation Minis were games under a certain file size that would run on the PSP/PSP Go! and also on the PS3 and then PS Vita. The range includes titles such as Pinball Dreams and A Space Shooter For Two Bucks. Literally cheap and cheerful – a good bedrock of cheap content – the vast majority of which are *still* on PlayStation store for purchase and download as they still work on the PSP, PS3 and PS Vita.
PSM is being cut off from supply later this year entirely? What madness is this?? 15th July is the last day you will be able to buy PlayStation Mobile games and apps to play on the PS Vita, or download them easly from the PlayStation Store (though it appears that they will be available to download from the download list until September, but after that another method might have to be followed, or in other words, jump through hassle hoops for the content you purchased.)
I do hope those who developed the PSM products in Unity and provided a great deal of content for the PlayStation Vita (and PlayStation TV I may add) are having words, because this is crazy.
Today’s releases on the PlayStation Store are a perfect example of how nuts this is; there are 5 PSVita Native releases (Flame Over, Hotline Miami 2:Wrong Number, Aabs Animals, Doodle Kingdom and Reel Fishing®: Master’s Challenge) while there are 11 (YES ELEVEN) PlayStation Mobile releases (see http://wp.me/p2Xzq4-2FP.)
I do hope SCE have some way of addressing this lined up. Tiny little games that would fit in a file of less than, say, 250MB (yeah megabytes!) have a place in the market especially when they are sold at anything from 40p(!). Okay I can understand how 40p content won’t make money for anyone unless it’s downloaded by more people than there are PS Vita’s, but something needs to take PSMs place. Something that the Unity developers attracted by PSM can use, especially. Something like Minis perhaps but for PSVita and PS4?
A Suggestion To SCE
“PSN Bytes” a range of PlayStation Network games and apps that fit within 250MB of storage space – and every single one is cross-buy and cross-save across PS Vita, PSTV and PS4 (and in some cases PS3?)
Okay it might need an agreement with Unity to create a new subclass to replace PSM on the free to use version of Unity… but there’s so much content that could be lost.
All the PlayStation Mobile releases developed in Unity could be ported within Unity 5 (free) with a PSN Bytes plug-in and be compiled for both PS4 and PS Vita native. A file size roof of 250MB for distribution on PlayStation Store could limit the plug-in so that anything bigger and you need Unity Pro, and to release as a standard PSN game. Release the games or apps with a base price of 99p with the option to go up to , say £7.99, using a similar pricing/fee structure to PlayStation Mobile.
SCE please allow the bedroom coders, start-ups and content producers who currently are trying things out with PlayStation Mobile to have somewhere to move to, while strengthing the catalogue for the PlayStation formats, and offering an entry level price point for content. This would encourage innovation and riskier games rather than stifle smaller developers as today’s announcement of PSM’s complete discontinuation will do.
I’d love to hear from the development community on this especially those who have been creating for PlayStation Mobile, including those who have been given a way into the industry by the combination of Unity and PSM that only started last June. As for us players, it’s another selection of content we are losing – what are your thoughts?