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Prozak

Unity Becoming a PSP Developer

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I would like to know if any of you have any knowledge into becoming a certified PlayStation Portable developer. I'm in a group, soon-to-be a company, and we're developing a title, which we can easily describe as a "grown up" version of Advance Wars, a turn-based strategy title for the PC Platform, with multiplayer capabilities, using the engine I've been developing for the last years, Colibri 3D. The title of the game is Strive on Conflict, and you can check out a very informative post i've done here. We're seriously interested in contacting Sony, and inquiring about what would take, logisticly speaking, to be a PSP Developer. I know GameDev is visited by a whole gamut of developers, and so, if anyone has any information that is not NDA-bound, I would be interested, to help me evaluate the logistics of such an effort. Thank You.

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You will definitely need to contact Sony. Even if you had the hardware to make everything, its always best to get approval from Sony first because if you don't then your game may not get shipped...officially. ;)

Expect to spend a grip too.

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Quote:
Original post by nes8bit
You will definitely need to contact Sony. Even if you had the hardware to make everything, its always best to get approval from Sony first because if you don't then your game may not get shipped...officially. ;)

Expect to spend a grip too.


nesbit, lol. This is a seriour endeavour, we won't be making this in our backyards. I'm just trying to gather developer experiences with the medium, if any one here has any... which I hope they do...

That will help me assess the feasibility of such a project.

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WE're looking to raise a couple million dollars, maybe a bit more for this particular project. Sony might also be interested in backing us up (im not aware of any turn-based tacto-strategic game for that platform, and it could be the showpiece for battery life, as, as we all know, turn based games go fairly easy on cpus...)

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I tried to become an "official" psp developer for my game Super Hamster Plane.
Unfortunately the information I got from Sony is that developers can only become "official" through the publisher they are working for. Of course, publishers wont seriously consider the game for the psp unless you are an official developer so... from my experience, you are screwed (which is why I stopped working on Super Hamster Plane and am now working on a Shareware PC game).

What I heard from people who did succeed in making PSP and DS games is:
1) make a shareware version
2) make lots of $$$ cause the game is so great
3) publishers themselves will hear you made alot of money and offer you a psp / ds / xbox / ps2 / gc / nge / etc... deal

Nitzan

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Quote:
Original post by Prozak
WE're looking to raise a couple million dollars, maybe a bit more for this particular project. Sony might also be interested in backing us up (im not aware of any turn-based tacto-strategic game for that platform, and it could be the showpiece for battery life, as, as we all know, turn based games go fairly easy on cpus...)


If you've talked to Sony already, you shouldn't need to ask this question. How else would you know they'd be interested? :P

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Well, unfortunately, that's an all too common instance in practically any media industry. But... what are you gonna do?

Idea for now being sef-publishing, which now days, if you meet up with the right investors, can be a rather profitable venture if you find a creative way to market your product, and if you can intelligently bypass the mass retail market. So, we're not talking tens of millions of dollars in profit, but if you're not spending 10s of millions, you don't really need that much to be successful.

(For the uninformed Prozak and I are a common duo on the boards, you will often see our posts near each other's because we both work on the same development team.)

I am wondering if anyone has had any success as an independent developer hoping to license large commercial production units like the PSP or even PS2. Well, come hell or high water, we may just have to be the first. hehe. (Knocks on wood.)

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Yeah, just to re-iterate what Nitzan said, you are pretty much required to go through a publisher. But look at it this way, the devkits are outrageously expensive and I doubt you would be able to afford them if Sony gave you the go ahead anyway. And without the hardware devkits (assuming you used a third party emulator instead), I don't think you would be able to pass their TRC requirements either, as you wouldnt be able to recreate/fix the bugs they would find. Of course, if you find a publisher they would usually supply the devkits to you for free for the duration of the project.

In short, to get the publishers to take interest, you will either need to be a recognised developer, or have a solid, practically fully implemented game. The crucial point is that the publisher has to see the game as low risk as possible. Best person to contact to learn the details of this process is probably Obscure.

Edit: Oops, missed your post regarding how much capital you plan to raise. If you can truly raise that much, then affording the devkits wouldnt be an issue. However, I believe that Sony only work with publishers because they can guarantee a certain level of quality in their games, and this is especially important with launch titles. Again, I recommend you approach publishers instead. :)



Best of luck mate!
Kyle

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Well, two things to address in regard to points posted.

First of all the publishing department of Sony is in no way shape form the people we need to talk to about PSP. Regardless of a potential intereste from Sony Publishing, Sony Computer Entertainment North America Developer Relations is not so interested in talking to us. But we don't have to give up that easily hehe.

Second point being in regard to affording the devkit. If it were figured into a budget presented to investors, and they wanted a PSP product to invest in... they would be somewhat compelled to see the investment needed. At least this has been my experience.

One additional point, regarding the game. It is currently in late stages of development, and is actually nearing completion as a PC title. We are simply interested in porting the title over to PSP.

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Once your game is complete and you are selling it online (I assume this is your plan?), and you have managed to secure these investors, you will obviously be in a much stronger position to speak to Sony - perhaps wait till then before approaching them about the PSP again? But even if your game was selling extremely well, I think its much more likely that a publisher would approach you a long time before Sony would.

Is there any particular reason why you are not speaking to publishers?

Kyle

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If I'm remembering what they told us at EDF correctly, you don't have to pay for the initial devkit - which includes an emulator for you to develop a prototype on. It's only once you've got that prototype working (and Sony approve it) that you'll need to spend money on hardware dev kits.

I don't hear of anyone approaching Sony directly - it's all done through publishers. (Unless you want to suddenly expand your group into game publishing [wink])

(I'm moving this to the Consoles forum because it seems more suited there than here).

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Quote:
Original post by Prozak
Quote:
Original post by nes8bit
You will definitely need to contact Sony. Even if you had the hardware to make everything, its always best to get approval from Sony first because if you don't then your game may not get shipped...officially. ;)

Expect to spend a grip too.


nesbit, lol. This is a seriour endeavour, we won't be making this in our backyards. I'm just trying to gather developer experiences with the medium, if any one here has any... which I hope they do...

That will help me assess the feasibility of such a project.


Ahh...my mistake then. I'm just saying though...your best bet is to ask Sony.

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Guest Anonymous Poster
Sorry, you'd probably want the SCEE link:
http://www.technology.scee.net/sceesite/software.html

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Guest Anonymous Poster
Third party studios with a solid reputation can become PSP developers without the intervention of a publisher or even a proposed game. I know because I work for one.

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I figured I would bring it up for future reference. I am currenty in communication with a rep from SCEE regarding PSP development. I will happily make the details of our communications available in here so that everyone has a little more fact to go on. I should have the details posted within a matter of days.

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Guest Anonymous Poster
Both Kyle N and Nitzan are completely uninformed and giving out incorrect information on this topic (at least for SCEE). I would suggest the best route is always to contact your Developer Account Manager first to get the latest info on the processes.

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To use a million of $ in a future project directed to a future console that nobody known if it will be a prominent gameboy in 3d or it will be a blufware like ngage... IMHO :too risky! and without counting that Sony don't allow any designers




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Quote:
Original post by Anonymous Poster
Both Kyle N and Nitzan are completely uninformed and giving out incorrect information on this topic (at least for SCEE).

Care to elaborate? I never suggested it was impossible for a third-party studio to become a registered PSP developer. As another AP stated (was that you too?) a third-party studio with a solid reputation can of course do this. However, a start-up, presently unfunded developer (I believe the OP has said they are actively seeking investment, but do not have it at the moment?) may have trouble gaining recognition from SCEE, and may find themselves more successful if they approach a publisher with a near finished game first.

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Quote:
Original post by Anonymous Poster
Both Kyle N and Nitzan are completely uninformed and giving out incorrect information on this topic (at least for SCEE). I would suggest the best route is always to contact your Developer Account Manager first to get the latest info on the processes.


I would like to add that the information I got was on June 2nd, 2004 and concerned SCEA.

Good luck and please keep us posted about your success in developing a title for the PSP.

Releveant snippets from the email I received from SCEA:

Quote:

Unfortunately, at the moment, we do not have a licensed developer program so we are asking potential developers to go to the PSP website (www.psp-pro.com) and register their interest with their local region of SCE (in your case this is SCEA).

In the meantime, if you wish to begin prototyping, we are recommending the following PC arrangement:

P4 3GHz+ running Windows XP
High-end ATi or nVidia graphics card (the ATi is the 9800 Pro, the nVidia is the 5900)

Code this under OpenGL, and pipe the output to a PSP-sized window (480x272)


By the way, to this date, I never received a response after registering.

Nitzan

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