Sony's micro-game initiative has struggled with an identity crisis for some time; offering digestible titles similar to those available on smartphones at double the cost.
Despite this, the service has been paramount to the success and growth of some independent games developers. One such studio is Icon Games, who after having a rough time working on Nintendo's WiiWare platform has spoken about the "joy" of working on Sony's Minis program.
"Sony promotes the service well, you can update your product at will, reduce the price permanently or in timed sales promotions and best of all you get nice regular cash-flow saving monthly payments," the developer explained. Payment is in contrast to Nintendo's WiiWare service, where developers are required to meet a sales quota before receiving any returns on their investment.
"Sony were very approachable and very developer friendly with us, and with other developers I spoke to," the developer added. "Hell they even loaned us the PSP dev-kits."
Icon Games did concede that sales on the PlayStation Minis program are lower than comparable services (iOS, full PSN releases), but are "fairly consistent and enough to cover the PSP specific dev-costs plus a little profit".
According to Icon, sales for PlayStation Minis are stronger in PAL regions than North America, which corroborates with information we've learned too. The developer noted a "marked difference in approach and enthusiasm for the Minis program between SCEE and SCEA, with SCEE very positive and pro-active with Minis and SCEA much less so," which would explain the sales difference.
Icon Games' biggest seller on PlayStation Minis thus far is Arcade Darts, a title that has sold around 13,500 units. It doesn't sound like a huge number, but Icon only expected the title to do about 2,500 units through its entire life-time. We've actually spent a fair amount of time with Arcade Darts, and thoroughly enjoyed it.
Of course, all of this bodes well for Sony's strategy going forward. Shuhei Yoshida's already said that Sony will be embracing indie developers for the PlayStation Vita, and PlayStation Suite is likely to have a huge influence on Sony's portfolio going forward. The take-away is that developers like Icon will be along for the ride. The company has two more PlayStation Minis in development, in addition to a couple of PlayStation Vita titles.
"From a developer perspective, especially compared to Nintendo and Microsoft, Sony has been there nearly every step of the way and I am confident they will pick-up after recent hiccups," Icon concluded.