Sony: PSP SDKs May Become Free

What's a good way to kick Apple? Offer a free software development kit (SDK) for a competing platform. There's no question that Sony is gearing up for a war on the portable front with its revamped PSP handheld, set and ready to tackle the iPod Touch and iPhone next month with the release of the PSPgo. With the availability of the PlayStation Network and PSP-specific apps, the new console could cause quite a stir if Sony falls through with a free SDK.

Develop recently spoke with Sony Europe's head of developer relations, Zeno Colaco, and talked about how Sony's PSP Minis will be better than the sea of Apps saturating Apple's App Store. One thing that Colaco pointed out is that the App Store has attracted a number of "hobbyist developers"; because the PSPgo is first and foremost a gaming machine, the platform will offer a more "professional environment." Then again, he encourages the hobbyist to develop PSP Minis anyway.

Colaco also said that Sony has dropped the price of the PSP SDK by 80-percent; Apple's iPhone SDK is actually free for registered developers whereas the PSP SDK currently costs a whopping $1500. That kind of pricetag doesn't appear to be any kind of incentive to jump on the PSPgo bandwagon, especially for small developers and "hobbyists." But when asked if Sony plans to offer the SDK for free later on, Colaco seemed optimistic, saying that Sony may investigate a free model.

But the bottom line is that Sony wants a good portfolio of games, and doesn't want to leave developers "out in the wilderness" with free access and no help. "There are dangers in having total open access; having six thousand applications where probably only thirty are discovered by the consumer. Some of the developers working on the App Store and PSP Minis tell us that they prefer our approach because they get more visibility," he said.