What PSP Minis Are
PSP Minis are exclusively downloadable games that became available on the PlayStation Store starting October 1, 2009. These bite-sized games have a 100MB size limit and a $9.99 USD price limit.
The focus for PSP Minis is quick, pick-up-and-play, single-player games. There are a variety of genres represented, though many of the announced games are of the kind usually referred to as "casual."
Sony originally said that there would be 15 games available at launch on October 1, with more than 50 available by the end of the year in both North America and Europe/PAL territories, as well as other regions. When the PSP Minis appeared on October 1, however, there were only 7 titles. Presumably the other 8 will be available soon.
A number of the games so far announced are ports or updates of games previously developed for the iPhone/iPod Touch App Store, Wii Ware, DSi Ware or XBox Live Arcade, but some of them are original to the PSP.
What PSP Minis Are Not
At least in the beginning, PSP Minis will not be multiplayer and will not have online components. There may be the ability to patch or update games online, but Sony wants developers to concentrate on the single-player experience. Online functionality for PSP Minis may be considered for the future, but for now online components are not allowed.
Development and Approval for PSP Minis
Sony is encouraging smaller developers to create games for the PSP Minis line by reducing the cost of the PSP development kit (to $1500 USD) and streamlining the approval process (compared to full-size PSP games). It will still cost more to develop for PSP Minis than for, say, the iPhone, and the approval process is much more stringent in comparison, but not so much as to make PSP Minis beyond the reach of small developers.
The tougher approval process as compared to iPhone games is intended to weed out bad games, potentially giving good products by smaller developers room to shine.
Another plus for PSP Minis development is that Vicious Cycle Software, in an agreement with Sony, will make its Vicious Engine available to developers working on PSP Minis titles. This partnership is intended to allow mid-size and independent developers to quickly and inexpensively create quality games. The Vicious Engine has been used to develop full-size PSP games in a number of quite different genres, and so has proven its flexibility.
PSP Minis Launch Titles
There were 7 PSP Minis titles available at launch on October 1. These titles are listed below with publisher and/or developer in brackets.
- Alien Havoc (Creat Studios) [screenshot 1] [screenshot 2] $4.99 USD
- Brain Pipe (Digital Eel) $4.99 USD
- Fieldrunners (Subatomic) $6.99 USD
- Funky Punch (Solus Games) $4.99 USD
- Hero of Sparta (Gameloft) [screenshot 1] [screenshot 2] $6.99 USD
- Sudoku (EA) [screenshot 1] [screenshot 2] $4.99 USD
- Tetris (EA) [screenshot 1] [screenshot 2] $9.99 USD
Other Expected PSP Minis Titles
Sony announced that there would be 50 PSP Minis games by the end of the year. Aside from the titles listed above, games known to be in development or expected in the future are listed below.
- Aqua Panic! Oasis (Eko System)
- Arcade Air Hockey & Bowling (Icon Games)
- Arcade Darts (Icon Games)
- Arcade Pool & Snooker (Icon Games)
- AstroTripper (Pom Pom Games)
- Blastoff (Halfbrick)
- BreakQuest (Beatshapers) [screenshot 1] [screenshot 2]
- Bubble Trubble [screenshot 1]
- Burn, Zombie, Burn 2D (Kuju Entertainment/Doublesix) [screenshot 1] [screenshot 2] [screenshot 3]
- Championship Manager Minis (Gusto Games)
- Circles [screenshot 1]
- D-Cube Planet
- Echoes (Halfbrick)
- Flexis (Visual Medi ) [screenshot 1] [screenshot 2]
- FMX (Xendex)
- Kahoots (Honeyslug)
- Laser Rider
- Little Mason
- LittleTrack (Doublesix) [screenshot 1] [screenshot 2]
- Mahjong (G5) [screenshot 1] [screenshot 2]
- Mecho Wars (Oyagi Games)
- Melody Bloxx (Beatshapers) [screenshot 1] [screenshot 2]
- Mighty Empires: The Great Mughals (Immersive Games)
- Minigore (Mountain Sheep/Chillingu)
- Overkill Apache Deluxe (Playerthree)
- Pac-Man Championship Edition (Namco Bandai)
- Pinball Dreams (Cowboy Rodeo)
- PuzzleScape (Got Game) [screenshot 1] [screenshot 2]
- Rocket Racing (Halfbrick)
- Stunt Cars (Icon Games)
- Vempire (Impressionware)
- YetiSports (Xendex)
- Zombies (Halfbrick)
- Zombie Tycoon (Frima Studios) [screenshot 1] [screenshot 2]