Sony releasing PlayStation Suite SDK to galvanize mobile game development

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Sony Computer Entertainment will release an open beta version of its PlayStation Suite software development kit in April 2012, promising developers a more streamlined environment to create mobile gaming experiences.

Sony issued a closed beta version of the PlayStation Suite SDK in late 2011 to select developers in the U.S., U.K. and Japan. The upcoming open beta incorporates their feedback, with Sony vowing an enhanced, more convenient content development environment. The company will offer the open beta free of charge in a phased rollout slated to expand beyond the U.S., U.K. and Japan target markets, stating that developers will also be able to conduct performance verification of titles built with the open beta version on the PlayStation Vita handheld.

Sony also plans to release the official version of PlayStation Suite SDK later this year at a price of $99 annually. The official SDK will allow developers to distribute premium content through Sony's PlayStation Store and continue updating titles originally created using the open beta or closed beta versions.

Sony first announced the PlayStation Suite program last year in a move to extend the venerable gaming brand across the mobile ecosystem. "It expands the PlayStation experience beyond the PSP border," then-Sony Computer Entertainment CEO/future Sony Corporation president and CEO Kazuo Hirai said at the time. "It is the first cross-platform endeavor." Last month, reports indicated Sony is awarding PlayStation Suite certification to HTC, enabling gamers to play classic PlayStation titles like Crash Bandicoot and Gran Turismo across the manufacturer's Android smartphones and tablets.

Sony recently indicated it is mulling whether to port its PlayStation Vita mobile operating system to smartphones and tablets. "If you're asking if we've made it in a way that's expandable, so that it's possible to apply to smartphones and tablets on top of achieving the high responsiveness we need for gaming devices--it is possible," Sony Computer Entertainment senior vice president Yoshio Matsumoto told Japanese publication AV Watch. "That doesn't mean that we're applying it to smartphones and tablets at this point in time, but it's been designed with expandability in mind."

Sony released the PlayStation Vita to U.S. consumers on Feb. 22. A Wi-Fi-only version of the portable gaming device is priced at $249, with a 3G/Wi-Fi edition priced at $299. AT&T Mobility (NYSE:T) is Sony's exclusive mobile broadband connectivity provider in the U.S. Sony has so far sold more than 1.2 million Vita units worldwide.

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