PSP App store in the works - Report

Sony tells Develop it will lower development barriers, will open new section of the PlayStation Store for smaller and cheaper titles--not all of which will be traditional gaming.

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Since the release of God of War: Chains of Olympus in March 2008, not a single PSP game has cracked the monthly top 10 list of US best-sellers from the NPD Group. In April, competition in the portable space heated up with the release of Nintendo's DSi, which offers low-cost, direct-download games like WarioWare: Snapped. Now, Sony appears to be trying to reverse its fortunes through a new development model that promotes affordable, easily downloadable titles.

The UMD-less PSP Go will have access to the new games via the upcoming section of the PlayStation Store.
The UMD-less PSP Go will have access to the new games via the upcoming section of the PlayStation Store.

Speaking with British magazine Develop, Sony revealed that it hopes to spark a flurry of new games for its portable platform through several new measures. The platform-holder will allow for lower-cost games by releasing cheaper PSP development kits and streamlining the development process. (Previously, Sony announced it would cut the price of its development kit by 80 percent.) Sony also raised the possibility of non-gaming applications coming to the handheld.

"We're introducing new initiatives for the PSP which take it beyond traditional gaming, but still include elements from gaming, and also includes new developers," said the head of developer relations for Sony Computer Entertainment Europe Zeno Colaco, to Develop. Sony claims that more than 50 developers are currently working on new creations for the PSP, with a new, specially branded section of the PlayStation Store to market the new games. Many of the developers are from developing countries, like India's Gameshastra, according to Develop.

With the new move, the PlayStation Store may look a bit more like the iPhone App Store, which allows developers to create all manner of gaming and non-gaming applications--some 65,000 to date. However, Sony also mentioned that it wouldn't make its software development kit public like the iPhone's.

"It is still a professional environment, you still need a development kit and you still need to have investment and a team. But it can be a small team," Colaco said.

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