Sony Aims to Bolster Android Games with PS Suite SDK

Sony Computer Entertainment has announced plans to release a software development kit for PlayStation Suite. Some of you will recall that PlayStation Suite offers games for Sony’s Android products and the upcoming PlayStation Vita. One of Android’s glaring weaknesses is games; due to a wide variety of hardware and mediocre development tools, Android game is several steps behind iOS gaming. A PlayStation Suite SDK is a potentially useful and lucrative tool for mobile game developers and would make Sony’s Android offerings more attractive to consumers.

Here’s more from the press release:

Supporting C# as the programming language, PS Suite SDK can run programs developed in C# on virtual machine equipped on both PS Certified devices and PS Vita. By supporting development for multiple devices and by adopting libraries to create a variety of content not only limited to games, PS Suite SDK will not only help developers save their cost in creating new content but also allow them to efficiently create their content on one SDK and without having to create on several different SDKs.

Through PS Suite, SCE will deploy various measures to supportcontent developersin their business forrapidly prevailing Android based portable devices and will expand the PlayStation entertainment experience on an open operating system.

This is a great move for Sony. If developers take to the SDK then products like the Sony Ericcson Xperia Play, Sony Tablet P, and Sony Tablet S would have a nice differentiator. The Vita would (potentially) also get some nice downloadable games that would satisfy impulse purchases. The Android phone and tablet markets are extremely competitive; a superior gaming experience would help Sony’s Android goods stand out.

Android as a whole needs every gaming initiative it can get. While the next version of Android, Ice Cream Sandwich, is supposed to bring development tools that address hardware fragmentation and Google has improved the development environment, it’s still considerably behind Apple iOS. As I’ve said in the past, I’ve mostly given up on Android gaming, but all it takes is a good set of tools and talented developers to invigorate the market.

On a side note, I’m surprised that this is even happening. Sony’s numerous departments have rarely played well together. It’s nice to see Sony Computer Entertainment and Sony Electronics joining forces for the greater good. Imagine all the amazing things the company could do if its executives didn’t hate each other?!? *snicker*

What do you think of Sony betting on Android with a PlayStation Suite SDK? Will it lead to quality Android games? Or will Android always be behind iOS in terms of gaming?

Final Fantasy X HD Coming to PS3 and Vita!!!

At Sony’s Tokyo Game Show (TGS) 2011 press conference, the company revealed a bunch of remastered hits for the PlayStation 3 and PlayStation Vita. A lot of prospective Vita owners were psyched to learned that the Metal Gear Solid HD and Zone of the Enders HD games are coming to Sony’s upcoming handheld console. I love me some excellent Kojima Production games and all, but the big news for me was Final Fantasy X HD!

I’m an absolute mark for Final Fantasy X. I believe that it’s one of the best in the series. I love the “sphere grid” leveling system and the game’s soundtrack. I’m super psyched that FFX will be getting spruced up graphics to accompany its fantastic gameplay and wonderful music on the PS3 and Vita. This game will completely rock.

Any of you excited for Final Fantasy X HD? Or are you more about Metal Gear Solid and Zone of the Enders?

Indie Game Store Owner Goes Off on Call of Duty Elite

My pal Chett Muzzalupo, owner of independent game store L1 Games, recently posted a great rant that covers Call of Duty Elite, EA Sports Season Pass, digital distribution, and more. He makes some great points that I completely agree with. He also makes some points that are a bit exaggerated. Lastly, he also exhibits great taste by professing his love for Red Dwarf.

Given our recent discussion on the escalating cost(s) of games and our numerous discussions about digital distribution over the years, I wanted to make sure that you saw this video. And to be completely honest, I just like Chett. He’s a cool guy with a great voice.

Kindly watch the video when you get a chance and let me know what you think of Chett’s points.

Sony Hires Former Homeland Security Director

Sony Corp. has hired a former director of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. Most of you will recall that Sony Computer Entertainment was a victim of hackers, leaving its PlayStation Network service down for several weeks. In addition to being reamed in the press, Sony had to spend a ton of money to compensate its customers for the outage. The company is hoping that a Homeland Security expert will be able to defend SCE, Sony Music, Sony Pictures, etc. from future “cyber attacks”.

Here’s more from the LA Times:

Philip Reitinger, formerly the director of Homeland Security’s National Cyber Security Center, will join Sony in the newly created position of chief information security officer and a senior vice president.

Reitinger has also worked for the Department of Defense and the Department of Justice and holds a law degree from Yale, Sony said.

As a frequent flyer, when I think of the Department of Homeland Security I automatically think of its Transportation Security Administration — you know, those people that molest and take naked photos of you at the airport. I’ve been asking several of my Sony friends if they have to have their “packages” searched before entering the office. *snicker*

Seriously though, it’s a smart hire for Sony. Hiring accomplished hackers is a great way to bolster security, but hiring a “gubment” bigwig will make shareholders feel safer. Plus, I’m going to get at least a week of jokes to use on my Sony friends.


Kevin Butler Kicks Off “Long Live Play” Ad Campaign

Here’s another excellent Sony PlayStation commercial featuring Kevin Butler. This time around he’s kicking off Sony’s “Long Live Play” ad campaign. The spot has Butler working at a company called Economy Flooring when he’s called back to the Sony Defense Force by Sony Computer Entertainment America CEO Jack Tretton. As expected, it’s a cute and witty commercial. I love that it celebrates gaming as something fun and cool. My favorite moment was when Butler looked at his framed 8 x 10 of Tretton and said, “You are the boss of me.” Ha!

Check out the spot and let me know what you think (please)!

This Week’s Videogame Releases

Are you ready for some (American) football?!? A bunch of you had fantasy drafts yesterday and are amped for the season to start. Why not increase the anticipation with some Madden NFL 12? If you’re more about guns than balls then you should keep an eye on Bodycount, the spiritual successor to the underrated Black. Looking for something more esoteric and Japanese? How about Cladun X2 from the excellent people at Nippon Ichi Software America? You can add some (scary) spice to your life and get in shape on the Wii with Get Fit with Mel B.

Anyone buying new games this week?

PSP Vita Will Have Facebook, Foursquare, Skype, and Twitter

Sony has confirmed that its upcoming PlayStation Vita will have native Facebook, Foursquare, Skype, and Twitter apps. Do you guys and dolls care that the Vita will have extensive social networking capabilities or…

Sony has confirmed that its upcoming PlayStation Vita will have native Facebook, Foursquare, Skype, and Twitter apps. Each app adds a layer of social networking, communications, and location-based entertainment. Of course what I really want to know is are you going to go my way, do you care?!?

I think it’s fantastic that the Vita will have these apps. As many of you know, I’m a frequent user of all four. I love that Sony is making the Vita social. More importantly, the Vita will be social in a way that fits in with most of the online world, as opposed to an insular method like Street Pass on the Nintendo 3DS. Similar to how how consoles are no longer just about games, these apps will ensure that the Vita is far more than a portable gaming device.

Having said that, I don’t see myself using them (much) on the Vita. I use all four services on my mobile phones (yes, plural). For the most part, I don’t see how using one of these services on the Vita will be better than using them on my phone. Perhaps viewing Facebook pictures or making Skype video calls will be better because of the larger screen, but I can’t think of any other reasons.

How do you feel about Facebook, Foursquare, Skype, and Twitter on the PlayStation Vita? Does it make the device more interesting for you? Can you think of a case where it would be better to use one of these services on a Vita than on a phone?

PlayStation Vita Coming to America in 2012

Were you looking forward to buying a PlayStation Vita this holiday season? Unless you want an imported Japanese version, you’ll have to wait a bit longer. Sony’s next portable gaming system will not be available in North America and Europe until early 2012. Here’s more from Bloomberg:

The product will initially launch in Japan before the end of December, followed by introductions in the U.S. and Europe early next year, Kazuo Hirai, Chairman Howard Stringer’s top lieutenant, told reporters in Tokyo today. The company had previously said it planned a phased global rollout of the Vita from the end of this year, without providing specifics.

Sony was in a great position to compete with Nintendo’s 3DS handheld, which recently slashed its price due to weaker-than-expected sales. A lot of gamers were looking forward to the Vita and many are surely disappointed that it won’t be out in 2011 as originally expected. That said, the extra time should allow Sony to bolster the Vita’s launch lineup. Having strong games at launch would help Sony avoid one of the 3DS’ problems.

How do you feel about the PlayStation Vita being delayed until 2012? Are you bummed? Or are you hopeful that the extra time will lead to a better launch lineup? Perhaps the whole thing is leaving you with a profound sense of “meh”? Leave a comment and let me know (please)!


Sony Acquires Sucker Punch (inFamous, Sly Cooper)

Sony Computer Entertainment has announced that it has acquired Sucker Punch Productions, developer of the inFamous and Sly Cooper games. Sucker Punch will now be part of Sony Computer Entertainment Worldwide Studios (SCE WWS). In today’s press release, SCE WWS president Shuhei Yoshida said:

The addition of Sucker Punch to SCE WWS reiterates our dedication to developing world class gaming experiences that can only be found on the PlayStation platform. With one of the strongest exclusive software lineups in the PS3’s history, combined with the diverse, innovate content in the works for PlayStation Vita, consumers have a lot to be excited about this year.

This is a prudent move for Sony in light of one its other longtime exclusive development partners, Insomniac Games, developing for Xbox 360. Sucker Punch has a strong track record, but probably cost less to acquire than Insomniac or Naughty Dog would have. The acquisition locks in one of Sony’s top developers and, more importantly, keeps it away from the competition.

I’m thrilled for Sucker Punch and I hope a lot of the people in the company will be a bit richer when the acquisition is finalized. I’ve been playing the company’s games since 1999’s Rocket: Robot on Wheels and I’m a huge fan of the Sly Cooper games. The guys and gals at Sucker Punch deserve this reward.

How do you feel about Sony’s acquisition of Sucker Punch? Do you think that it’s money well spent? Are you afraid of the studio changing now that it has new people to answer to?

PlayStation Vita Coming October 28?!?

Everyone knows that the PlayStation Vita will launch some time in 2011, but Sony hasn’t announced a specific launch date. If Blockbuster UK is to believed, the Vita will launch on October 28, 2011. One of IGN’s readers nabbed a Blockbuster advertisement listing a precise release date.

If the PlayStation Vita does launch in late October, are you going to pick one up? It’s sleek, powerful, and comes at an attractive price of $249. I’m in for two (not really)!