In an announcement that has shocked the developer community, the Japanese division of Sony – Sony Computer Entertainment Inc – has announced that they are shutting down PlayStation Mobile this year. Gamers are being advised to ensure that they run all of their existing downloads from 10th April this year on every compatible device that they own to ensure that the licenses are verified so the games will continue to run after the service is shut down although the games will still be available to re-download should they need to be.
The service itself is scheduled to close on 10th September after which point no further titles will be released and verification will not be available meaning that existing games that have not been verified will not longer run. In addition, no further purchases will be possible from the store. No announcements have been made yet on the European or American PlayStation blogs confirming whether this is a global roll-out or just affecting the Japanese market although we assume that this will be taking place worldwide.
Understandably, developers are frustrated and disappointed at the news with many of them spending a considerable amount of time releasing numerous titles for the format with several having new titles scheduled for release. Not only does this decision mean that work on future titles will see limited sales potential but their previous work will no longer see further sales that they deserve. With the release of the PlayStation TV – which supports the platform – we feel that this is a serious error of judgement from Sony not only depriving gamers of well in excess of 100 additional titles for the console but depriving developers of valuable income.
Developers were not given any advance warning of this move, and have not been given any indication of whether their titles are to made available as regular PS Vita releases through the PSN Store, especially those developed using Unity. As we have mentioned before, the lack of marketing or store promotion of PSM titles has hurt sales prospects for games and integration of these titles into the store and re-releasing them as “regular” PS Vita titles would be a logical decision but no word has been given yet as to whether or not this would be the case. Regardless, one PS Vita developer has already come forward and offered support to PSM developers to adapt their games for regular PS Vita release.
We have asked the official PlayStation Mobile Developer Support Team for further clarification on what is happening and we will post further updates as we get them.