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The Fig Take: PSP Minis

I thought I’d start a little segment of the Blazebyte blog called the Fig Take. I’ll post one every couple of days on my opinions on the gaming world, on missed opportunities and gained potential, on success and on failure. No, it won’t be fact based, mostly opinionated, but that’s where you can come in and debate matter into your own hands. All in all, this is a post every couple of days about a topic that you guys can agree or not on.

For my first topic, I am going to pick on PSP Minis.

Has Sony struck gold?
Sony has struck a caved-in gold mine.

Sony made a good move latching onto Apple’s success of the App Store. They promoted bite-size  games for the PSP and it has been a partial success so far.

I say partial, because while the sales are good, the quality control and pricing is way off the chart. It’s one step forward and two steps back, further alienating the PSP fanbase. Only one company has made Minis which have received over an average score for games, and that is Halfbrick. This company has it all right. The pricing is great for what you get, and the games are of quality and are tested.

Everything else is utter crap. Seriously though, most of the things run under the bar of Moovlin PC, a game which I have pretty much developed solely. These developers do not pay for bug testers or get feedback often and release alot of half-assed games onto the Playstation Minis section. On top of that, these games which are utter crap end up being priced for more than some of Halfbrick’s games, which are actually good.

There is only one thing to blame. Developers are running out of funds and not profiting enough because of this. It’s because they  need to put their games through ESRB. While developing costs can be as low as 20$ for a game, getting ESRB to rate your game (as it is required) can cost developers 2000$. Since the PSP Platform has been steadily declining in popularity in recent months, they cannot afford to use the “sell cheap, make cheap profit” technique. In case you don’t know what that is, it’s where a developer sells a game for under the value it is really worth in hope that people give it rave reviews for the amount of content you get for such a low price.

This is nearly impossible for the developers to do because the market for Minis is not established. The best thing to do would be for Sony to take off the requirement for ESRB ratings and let the developers rate them themselves. Sony can make them sign a form which ensures Sony to sue them if the game rating is not correct. Apple has done something similar to that and the ESRB free games on the iPhone are a success.

The Highest Rated Minis game up to date, receiving a 9.0 from IGN.

Second of all, these games need quality control. I’ve seen developers who just start with the PSP. No offense to any aspiring creator, but it’s much easier to start with the Flash platform and gain support. Flash is amazing for these kinds of tiny games, and sites like Newgrounds.com can offer you feedback. The more feedback you get from people, the more of a true developer you become. Without feedback, you never become a better developer.

Moovlin PC is an example of this. I’ll show you what feedback has done for me.

yay? wait....

And after a year of hard work and feedback from people…

WOAH HO HO!

It’s not that hard.

And that’s the Fig take for March 29th, 2010. Don’t hate the player, hate the game.