When Sony unveiled the NGP and talked about its PlayStation Suite initiative for the first time earlier last week, you may remember that the publisher didn’t use the magical word “exclusive” when describing the PSS’ connection to Android. That was a deliberate move so it could keep the communication and creative channels open -- a point that SCE CEO Kaz “Ridge Racer” Hirai talked around in a roundtable discussion after the event.

"We have a completely open stance. With carriers and with hand set makers,” Hirai said according to Andriasang.com. "There are a variety of OSes,” he said. “But we're focusing first on Android. There's also Windows, iOS and so forth, but we don't have the resources to make it compatible with everything from the start."

This is the NGP, FYI.

We speculated that Sony could bring PSS to iOS, and while this isn’t anywhere near a confirmation, we’re more aware now that Sony is willing to, at least, entertain the idea of doing so. But there are a few stumbling blocks.

First, all games that go through PSS will be certified by Sony and funneled through its own closed system, presumably similar to iTunes in theory. Apple, of course, already certifies its own stuff and has its own digital delivery system. I can’t see Apple being fans of having a system on top of a system, so that’s block one.

Block two is that devices that will use PSS will need to be PlayStation Certified. There are a billion Android handsets out there, so this helps Sony keep the amount of SKUs it needs to certify games for down (probably way, way down). It also gives Sony a measure of control over what needs to be on a phone. I can’t see Apple playing ball with this either. Can you imagine a flip iPhone or iPod Touch that has a PlayStation d-pad? Yeah, me neither.

Still, this is interesting to hear from Hirai and we’ll no doubt keep our eyes on this initiative as it blossoms into a beautiful flower. A lot of you, including me, don’t think PSS will ever come to the iOS, but hey, we live in a world where a lot of crazier stuff has happened. Can you believe that, like, 300 Spartans kept an entire army at bay for a couple of days? Insane!

  • Anonymous

    Maybe Sony could sell some snap-in accessory for the iPod/iPhone and Apple could add a Playstation section to the App store with some kind of kick-back to Sony.

    Never gonna happen... but a gammer can dream.

    • SiDCrAzY

      A gammer can dream, but apparently a gammer can't spell. ;)

    • Mike

      there's some rumors that Sony wants to crush Apple in the "gamming" matter, i think it could, but it that's not true, i don't see why that couldn't happen...

      • Anonymous

        Why frame it as a competition? Millions of iOS owners will refuse to stump up cash for an NGP or an Android device, so why not make a cut on software sales to those people?

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Daniel-Stonem/1208708428 Daniel Stonem

      Nice! I want that accessory, hopefully it will add the 10 missing buttons!

    • Anonymous

      The PlayStation Suite is just a software framework (like Unity3D).
      Apple doesn't need to give Sony kickback or anything.
      It is used to get more people to develop for their PlayStation platform.

      Of course with a large enough library of games developed on the PlayStation Suite, it would make sense to make special accessories for them as well.

  • http://twitter.com/theplotlessplot Henrique de Sousa

    If they make a store-like app with multiple games as in-app purchases, I think it could work. Apple would still have to certify each in-app purchase, so there wouldn't be a problem, I think.
    This is good news, though. Regardless of how it all pans out.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_MR4IKQCBWIP6JHMN2FT562MGLI Web

    I could see this happening. Sony seems like it's doing something similar to what Amazon is doing with the Kindle app. Going for exposure and hopefully luring users from other devices to the richer PSP environment. As far as controls go, this Engadget article seems to indicate that if there are no physical buttons, then they can be emulated on the touchscreen.
    http://www.engadget.com/2011/01/27/sony-announces-playstation-suite/

  • http://twitter.com/VULTR3 Mike

    FOR SPARTA!

  • YoureAMessy

    There's really no point in doing this. The PlayStation Suite is full of PS1 games, which were created with physical buttons in mind. There's no way that the games will be any fun because of this. The only devices that would be capable of play these games well would be the NGP or the Xperia Play.

  • http://twitter.com/MikePlays Mike Greening

    It doesn't look like we're going to see Sony influencing Apple design anytime soon, and that might be the sticking point for Sony bringing games to iOS. Still, the more the companies play nice with each other, the better it is for gamers and for everyone's pocketbooks. Thanks for the great writeup Brad.

  • jase

    Well, I think that Sony should encourage their NGP game developers to also develop for iOS along with Android. Otherwise, the developers for the NGP may not be able to justify an adequate investment in their games for an installed base that will be small compared to iOS devices.

    People can criticize Sony all they want, but this new NGP is truly their only viable strategy to stay relevant in the portable market. The dual analog sticks and physical buttons and other control options are going to give them a competitive advantage over iOS devices that have only a touch screen and gyro/motion sensor.

    The problem for Sony is that the iOS market is so vast and so lucrative, that developers can afford to invest the resources into making a great game without physical analog sticks and buttons, and offer it at an unbeatable price. If I were Sony, I would be very afraid when I saw "Dead Space" for iOS for $6.99. According to most reviewers, that is a near-console level quality game with a good enough touch control/UI scheme. Games such as "Dead Space" are the true future competition for Sony in the handheld/portable market.

    I do not think that the 3DS is going to be as successful as the previous Nintendo handheld. It's going to be more expensive, and it's going to have much less battery life. If the 3D ends up being gimmick that people tire of, then that will be no advantage either. Look for Nintendo to lose significant market share over what they have enjoyed historically with the DS.

  • Jo

    Goodness. How do you make such high end hardware and end up with such hideous OS ?

    • YerMom

      Apple fan boi much?

      There's nothing hideous about Sony's OS.

  • Anonymous

    Well, dual-stick type games would play pretty well. Platformers... no so much. Still, I'm sure there's some games that would translate well. I'll vote yes. :)

  • http://www.buzzabit.com/aaron Aaron Sullivan

    Wish Apple would just make a controller accessory and be done with it. It would cause a flood of Japanese developers to fully embrace the platform. Many already seem to be in love with it. Or at least release a standard specification and a license path that is more focused with a lower barrier to entry for accessory specialists.

    While I'm dreaming make the new devices 3D in order to bury the 3DS and force Nintendo to make games for iOS devices. ^_^

    • Anonymous

      But a controller isn't really practical. If it's bluetooth, you'll be holding the controller, but what will be holding your iPhone? If it's something that actually attaches to the phone it's likely to be awkard from a weight distribution standpoint, and probably won't work when the next iPhone is released, let alone with both iPhone and iPod touch.

      • http://www.buzzabit.com/aaron Aaron Sullivan

        Seems like a reasonable solution could be engineered. 3rd parties have made reasonable attempts. Plus, a new accessory for each phone revision (or modularity) isn't out of the question. I don't expect it from Apple, but there is a considerable pie out there to take a few slices from if Apple wants it.

  • http://twitter.com/ArchieWithers Nicholas Pfent

    All in all this is a huge display of the merging between different areas of the handheld gaming field. With Sony taking this stance on the potential of smartphones, we should see the other larger studios finally take the leap and put out some premium titles. In that case, if games are coming out for PSS on Android, it would not be a long shot to have simultaneous iOS release dates.

  • Anonymous

    I don't see why Touch Arcade is so excited about this. How does this really benefit an iOS gamer? Do I really want PS1 games on my iPhone? Please don't follow Sega's flood of non playable games route.

    New NGP games would be nice since they are touch screen from the ground up. Would an iPhone 4 be able to run it? At least the iPhone 5 will be out for some time before the NGP comes out which should give developers time to port over.

    • http://toucharcade.com Eli Hodapp

      We're excited about it because there are a ton of fantastic PSone games they could potentially bring over that would work great, even with mediocre controls. Most RPG's and turn based games work fine even with the worst virtual control implementation. If they released Final Fantasy 7 or Final Fantasy Tactics they'd basically dominate the RPG charts on the App Store for eternity.

      • Anonymous

        In the age of convergence I would rather have one device in my pocket that can do multiple things rather than just bring a dedicated handheld gaming machine with me like I did 5 years ago. For gaming on the go I'm more than happy with my phone and for gaming at home I would rather just stick to my consoles (and pc) and spend more money on those for a better experience.

        The NGP looks like a really impressive device, but I predict the mass consumer won't buy into another 200+ dollar handheld with 40-50 dollar games no matter how much more impressive the software will be compared to iOS games.

  • Sainter

    300 Spartans holding off an army, Kijib getting suspended from TouchArcade. Both unlikely events that no one saw coming.

    I really can't see this coming mainly because Apple will want to control everything about it. Unless Sony are happy putting the games through the App Store review process then I can't see it happening. While it would be a good idea for Apple to get involved so people see less of an incentive to buy the NGP, I see more chance of Kijib returning to be honest.

  • http://www.facebook.com/vazkor Stefano De Angelis

    Why not make the only iPhone button a D-Pad? It could have exactly the same shape, just tilting from side to side. Then they could add two touch-sensitive buttons (à la PS3) on the upper side of the device. Win?

    • http://www.buzzabit.com/aaron Aaron Sullivan

      Not a bad start, anyway. :) You can't mess with the non-gamers, and this is a good idea to attempt it. Bigger iPhone button, I guess... buttons would need ridges or something to prevent drift. I don't think Apple would go it, personally, but it's much closer to acceptable than most suggestions I've seen.

  • MisterDrgn

    Pass. Still not interested in wrestling with a PS game with touchscreen controls...

  • Philosonic

    If Apple hates buttons so much, could a second touch screen on the back be a viable solution for a better gaming experience?

  • dude_man

    Anyone remember how in MGS4, Snake has a working, fully branded iPod?

  • Sumiguchi

    Who cares... I'm getting the NGP!!!

  • TigerXtreme69

    Anyone know if this means FF7 for iOS if it happens? I'm not saying I don't care if not, but I definitely care a lot less.

  • TeddyNYC

    If Sony brought the PlayStation Suite to iOS, it truly would change everything, especially for Sony. Eventually, I do expect Apple to team up with either Nintendo or Sony. The only question is will it be Link on your iPad or the Helghast. Wouldn't it be cool if it were both.

  • E_Domina

    Unless Sony is going to optimize each game for the iPhone, a lot of users are missing out

  • http://twitter.com/clonewar2 parrotcam

    it wouldn't be a pleasant experience to play these PS1 games on a touchscreen. I can't see how it could be done. These games were meant for physical buttons and dual analog sticks. the controls are too complex to be ported to just touch controls. On top of that, the iphone's screen size is much too small for them.

  • Knowing Man

    Completely pointless. Even carefully ported, controller-customized titles like Driver are *barely* playable on a touchscreen. Generic, emulator stuff will play like ass.

    • http://twitter.com/21tigermike Michael A. Robson

      I just watched the Engadget Show.. The PS solution looks clunky, the new machine will be great, but their 'platform' on other people's hardware .. nah

  • http://twitter.com/NoSuperMan ImNoSuperMan

    And in related news, Apple just rejected sony's eBook reader coz of some dumb reasons. Guess there isnt much point in hoping this will show up for iOS anytime soon

    http://www.macrumors.com/2011/02/01/apple-rejects-sony-reader-from-app-store-kindle-removal-next/

    • http://twitter.com/DeloreanDreams Marty MAC Fly

      Interesting timing for Apple to do this... I wonder if the recent Sony + Android team-up was a catalyst for this decision?

    • Anonymous

      They rejected it because it had in-app purchases through Sony's service. That's always been against the rules. The Nook and Kindle apps are in the app store as you may notice. Sony just needs to make the purchases either through the app store, or they could do like Amazon and B&N do with their reader apps.

  • Wisedude
  • Guest

    "A lot of you, including me, don’t think PSS will ever come to the iOS, but hey, we live in a world where a lot of crazier stuff has happened." Can someone please teach Brad to structure sentences better, without the use of a plethora of commas?

    Alternatively, hire a decent writer.

  • Anon

    I love the hypocrisy here.

    Argument against someone defending hardcore gaming hardware: "LOL U DNT NEED BUTTONZ"

    Argument against Sony bringing PSS to iOS: "LOL U NEED BUTTONZ"