Sony has revealed that it will stop charging game developers for the privilege of developing games for PlayStation Mobile and the PlayStation Vita.
Sony announced it will waive the $99 fee to become a PlayStation Mobile publisher this summer, starting yesterday. In the announcement Sony said it is “always looking to support new developer talent,” which is part of the motivation behind waiving the publisher fee.
Presumably the other reason is there just aren’t that many games for PlayStation Mobile devices and the PlayStation Vita. There are very few games that stand out in the program at the moment, and perhaps new developers will help fix that problem.
PlayStation Mobile, for those who don’t know or forgot, is Sony’s game store for select Android devices and the PlayStation Vita. Manufacturers have to submit their devices for PlayStation certification, though not many do. Every Sony Xperia phone, including the Xperia Z supports PlayStation Mobile.
At one time HTC partnered with Sony to make its phones PlayStation Mobile certified. Last year’s HTC One X supported the program, but the current HTC One does not support the platform.
Sony’s current strategy is to court as many independent game developers as possible to its platforms. It’s upcoming PlayStation 4 console makes it easy for independent developers to publish their own games, they can even set their own price for their games. This move looks like an extension of that strategy.
With such a small market for PlayStation Mobile devices, however, the platform is likely a harder sell than the PS4. The PS4 only competes with next Xbox and the Wii U, while PlayStation Mobile devices compete against the likes of the super-popular iPhone and Samsung Galaxy S4.
Sony isn’t the only company that typically charges developers for the privilege of publishing games on its platform. Apple also charges developers $99 per year to publish apps to the iOS or Mac App Stores.