One-time champion of music on the move with its decade-defining Walkman cassette players, Sony seems set to begin a land-grab for future growth in the mobile device segment, with SCEE head of developer relations, Zena Colaco, making a series of statements putting the smack down on the App Store economy.
“Unlike with the App Store, we’re looking to support everyone that develops for us, instead of leaving developers out in the wilderness,” he told Develop magazine.
“We’re not immediately interested in giving developers free access and no help,” he added, noting that Sony intends focusing on developers who can deliver the highest quality applications for its PSP Go and PSPmini ranges.
Sony’s developer boss may not make himself hugely popular among the majority of iPhone developers with his next statement. “Some of the developers working on the App Store and PSP Minis tell us that they prefer our approach because they get more visibility. I’m not suggesting that iPhone developers are unprofessional, but I think that the App Store has attracted a number of hobbyists. Clearly, the PSP is designed for gaming.”
Colaco stressed that its not Sony’s intention to war against Apple, at least, not right now, saying: “Our focus isn’t directed straight towards the App Store. We acknowledge that we’ll be competing in that space, and I think at some point we’ll give developers access that allows things to move down that route.”
His comments emerge as the company plans to open its very own applications store, the Minis Store, on its PlayStation Network this October, when it releases the PSP Go. As a temptation to woo developers, he also noted that the company may in future make PSP development kits completely free.
On the launch of the Minis Store, the Sony exec added: “We’re not short of product. Right now we’re working with about 60 developers with about 50 games coming out before Christmas. I think we’re going to launch with about 15 titles.”
Sony’s move comes as Nokia, Microsoft, RIM, Palm and others all begin launch of Apple App Store-inspired online application stores for users. Though Apple remains the biggest fish in this pond at present, with its $3.3 billion App Store industry.