Sony launches beta SDK for Android and PlayStation gaming program

Program open to developers in U.S., U.K. and Japan

Sony is hoping developers are interested in working on games for its PlayStation Vita and Android-based devices, as it launched a beta test Thursday of a new cross-platform SDK.

The company will offer a beta of the PlayStation Suite SDK (software development kit) to a limited number of developers in U.S., U.K. and Japan. The goal is to get the SDK ready for an official launch, according to Sony.

The resulting games will run on the upcoming PlayStation Vita -- a handheld gaming device that will go on sale in December in Japan -- and PlayStation Certified products, which include Sony Ericsson's Xperia Play smartphone and Sony's Tablet S and P. The company recently said it intends to expand the program to products from other vendors, and is in talks with a number of companies.

The PlayStation Suite framework was launched in January, and allows owners of compatible and certified products to play some old PS One titles. The games run in a virtual machine.

The beta SDK uses the C# programming language and is compatible with Windows XP and 7. The kit can simulate the PlayStation Vita and PlayStation certified products, to make the development process easier.

Sony isn't ready to say when the SDK will be officially launched or how it will share revenue with developers.

Interested developers can sign up on Sony's PlayStation website. The company will stop accepting applications once the maximum enrollment is reached, it said.

The sale of handheld gaming devices have come under pressure as gaming on smartphones have become increasingly popular. Revenue from games on iOS and Android has surpassed that of the Nintendo DS and Sony's PSP in the U.S., mobile analytics company Flurry said on Wednesday.

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Mikael Ricknäs

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