Here's one reason why PSP minis are more expensive than their iPhone counterparts: the ESRB. Sony doesn't enforce any control over the pricing of minis, but they do mandate getting approval from the ESRB ratings board. That, apparently, has been a significant hidden cost some developers didn't expect. "You have to invest some money into dev kits and into getting ratings for your game. The costs of ratings such us ESRB is significantly more then we had realized," Fieldrunners developer Sergei Gourski told Gamasutra. According to a posting at GameDev.net, the cost of getting an approval is $2,500. [Update: The ESRB responded to our story, correcting the price. "ESRB has a reduced fee of $800 for games that have development costs under $250,000, which would likely apply to virtually all PSP Minis."]
Content developed for the iPhone doesn't need to go through the ratings board, an oversight which, surprisingly, has yet to attract a media call-to-arms. Should the ESRB succeed in courting Apple as the defacto ratings system for the iPhone, the high cost of approval should curtail one of the largest problems facing the iPhone store today: having too much content, a sentiment shared by Minigore developer Kimmo Vihola. Vihola noted that "[Apple's] process is starting to crack from the seams," and pointed out that Sony's turnaround time on minis is much faster than Apple's store. Sony takes three to five days for approval, while Apple varies "from a couple of days to up to six weeks."