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Sony: Competing With iPhone, PSP Homebrew 'Not Part Of The Plan'

Sony's move to target the small apps market with yesterday's PSP Minis announcement market raises obvious parallels to the iPhone space, but the company insists it's got no designs on a bite of Apple's marketshare.
Although the long-rumored unveiling of the PlayStation 3 Slim alongside the platform's anticipated $100 price reduction was the talk of GamesCom yesterday, Sony also revealed its intention to release 'PSP Minis,' smaller lower-priced titles aimed for the October launch of the download-only PSP Go. A move to target the small apps market raises obvious parallels to the iPhone space, but in an interview with Gamasutra, Sony PlayStation Network operations director Eric Lempel insists Sony is not angling for a bite of the Apple marketshare. "It's totally different," he says. "At E3, we announced the cost reduction of the PSP dev tools, so the price came down significantly. With that came a lot of other developers who were interested in creating games but weren't interested in creating these kind of 'big huge experiences'." "We wanted to get into this area to have developers... creating low-priced, bite-sized games you could download quickly and play. It's not open to users; these are professional developers, it's not like what you're seeing on that other platform." But although open-sourcing PSP development or nurturing a homebrew scene is not immediately on Sony's radar -- "we're really only focusing on today with this, and that's not part of the plan" -- Lempel also noted that "we never say never for anything." "This is kind of a new program," he says. "We have our full-blown games, and now here is another tier in that offering." Speaking of full-blown games, Lempel also says the company hasn't yet arrived at a solution for the UMD collections of PSP-3000 users who wish to upgrade to the newer, UMD-less PSP Go this fall. Although the company plans to release future handheld games in both formats for the foreseeable future, there's still the issue of whether users who go disc-less will have to re-purchase games they already own. "It's a really valid question, and we're still evaluating possibilities there," says Lempel. He says that it's a major issue of consideration within the company, and that arriving at an answer is a top priority. "We're not quite sure what we'll end up with, but we are... looking at solutions," he adds.

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