April 19th, 2012 | By Richard Glenn
Would-be handheld developers have received a boost today with the news that Sony’s Playstation Suite has now entered its Open Beta phase.
In essence, what that means is that anyone looking to experiment with the development tools for the Playstation Vita and the Sony Experia Play can do so for free through the PS Suite Development Assistant application, now available to all developers for a limited period of time. Once the Developer Program for Playstation Suite is granted its full release, currently slated to be at some point during 2012, a $99 per year payment will be required for the continued use of the service, along with the mandatory signature of a contract to validate any future developed content.
Although Sony is still ironing out some of the finer details of the programme, it’s been revealed that validated content will be restricted to paid content, meaning that free-to-play games without the support of micro-transactions are a no-go. In-game purchasing, however, appears to be permitted, but developers wanting to implement such a system must wait for it to be integrated into a scheduled update at some stage during the Open Beta stage.
Undecided too are the exact price structures we can expect to see once independently-developed content see the light of day, and it’s also unclear what percentage of sales profits will go to the developers. Sony has, however, stated that pricing will be determined at a rate “based on current market conditions,” for whatever that might be worth.
What this means for indie game development remains unclear as this new venture breaks into its infancy, but it’s difficult not to arouse at least a modicum of curiosity. Could this mark the beginning of a new dawn for independent development beyond the predominantly PC-centric market? Is such an idea wrought with naivete? One thing’s for sure; we’d be interested in reading what the IGM community has to say.