Sony tries to boost PS3 development with dev kit price cut

Sony PlayStation 3In an ironic bid to attract more development to the PS3 - the most costly console on the market - Sony today announced the availability of "lower-cost" development kits. There's still no news on the rumored price cut for consumers, however.

In an effort to increase development for PlayStation 3, Sony today lowered the cost of its PS3 development kit to $2,000, the second price cut the company has made since demo units began shipping to developers in 2005.

"Having the same form factor as the commercially available PS3, the new Reference Tool models allow advanced game programming and more efficient computer graphics rendering," the company said via press release. "With its more affordable pricing, this new model will appeal to a broader range of developers and publishers, and will help to provide a more streamlined game development environment, further accelerating game development for PS3."

What's more, Sony promised enhanced technical support for developers, an optimized PS3 compiler (SNC PPU) to improve efficiency, and better documentation for PhyreEngine, the company's free-to-use graphics engine that supports both OpenGL and Direct3D. In general, the announcement featured a lot of verbal commitment from Sony on behalf of developers.

"With more and more new and exciting PS3 titles scheduled for release this year from third party developers and publishers as well as from SCE Worldwide Studios," the company added, "SCE will deploy various measures to further reinforce game development for PS3 and will continue to expand the platform to offer attractive interactive entertainment experiences only available on PS3."

The news comes as "Surviving the Recession" and "Stability in the Stormy Weather" are a key themes of this year's Game Developers Conference. With today's announcement, it's an issue Sony is obviously aware of. But it's ironic to see a "lower-cost" development initiative being promoted for the PlayStation 3—which at $400, remains the most expensive console on the market.

As a result and despite solid games, PS3 sales have declined for four consecutive months now over the same period last year—a sobering trend publishers and developers have surely noticed. Perhaps incessant calls to lower the console's price will be the only solution to reverse declining demand.

Sony was not immediately available when contacted by Ars on Monday for further comment.

Source: ars technica

Tags: PlayStation 3, Sony

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