This morning in my twitter feed Shahid tweeted a blogpost from the Unity3d guys about the beta version of Unity3d that's supports Playstation Mobile(PSM) on the Vita is now open to the public and is currently (my use of currently not theirs) also free.
Well this is amazing news. Sony have been really generous already with the Vita and PSM by already giving access to the public to this setup for free with making a dev environment available for free. Which is pretty awesome and cool.
So it was already pretty amazing that you could teach students how to write games in C# and XNA and port them (easily using Monogame) to the Vita and PSM. Yeah we use C# and XNA, so althought the PSM Vita dev kit uses C# I've not had to learn a new engine (although the PhyreEngine looks pretty cool and I really should find sometime to play with it).I think there is real value in students being able to see something they have created on a console like the Vita. It seems to have more of an impact than being on a PC/Mac.
To be able to do this though you need a PSM developer licence which was (not sure if still the case) free. So what we have already from Sony is a free dev setup for the PS Vita that can be used in the classroom. So no need to for a dev kit for the Vita and Sony First (which I've not had much luck with so far). The drawback is that this setup is limited to just writing games for the Vita, and not the other Sony consoles like the PS3 or PS4.
However Unity3d is the darling development environment of the moment, especially amongst indie game devs, and some studios. And from my point of view allows a nice reuse of skills because one of the scripting languages it supports is C#. So being able to use Unity3d to make games for the Vita via PSM is pretty amazing. Although I still find the workflow in Unity3d challenging! That's my problem because I need to use it more regularly, and not just dip in and out of it at irregular intervals when I have a spare moment (and we know how rare they are in education).
But Unity3d does do some of the work for students, ie provide an engine and environment, that once learnt allows students to concentrate on creating a game, and not a game and an engine. So now being able to make use of the wow factor of playing a student created game on a console makes Unity3d an even more attractive proposition.
I do have to say that Unity3d does need to get its act together when it comes to education, and become a bit more education friendly. Especially when it comes to pricing. But that is a subject for a future post.
You can read the full Unity3d blog post here [http://blogs.unity3d.com/2014/04/08/playstationvita-for-all-the-unity-for-playstationmobile-public-preview/]