“Can you release to PSM with cocos2d-x” : Not without special SDK access from SONY and porting cocos2d-x over to the proprietary SDK. If you want to use the self-publishing model from PSM then you have to use C# and we recommend MonoGame and Cocos2D-XNA. The BasicEffect in MonoGame does not work perfectly with PSM, but you can create your own effects in lieu of BasicEffect.
“1.free/low-cost since I am a beginner, I can’t warrant a big investment without knowing if/when I can actually complete a game”
Judge where your target audience exists, not where your money is limited. If you are after the Ubuntu market, PSM, Xbox 360, Windows Phone 7, Windows Phone 8, Windows Desktop (7/8/XP/Vista), then cocos2d-xna is just as effective as cocos2d-x. Your choice here depends on your experience with C++ versus C#. Both will have their pitfalls if you are truly a beginner/novice programmer.
Cocos XNA has better support for the console platforms, but comes at a cost, \$600 a year for Xamarin.Android and Xamarin.iOS
More FUD. Xamarin Community Edition allows you to publish FOR FREE but at a limited size. if you want an unlimited deployment for your game, then you will have to pay for the Android and iOS support. That’s the only 2 platforms that cost. Again, see my point above about your target audience.
“Also, while Cocos2d-XNA may be free for Xbox/PSM, as I understand those platforms have a fairly expensive (at least for a beginner like me) licensing cost to get on their platforms that is not the fault of Cocos2d-XNA”
Incorrect. PSM is free, Xbox is \$99 per year. Windows App Store is also \$99 per year. That’s \$8 per month. Apple is also \$99 per year if you want to do iOS, and another \$99 if you want MacOS access. Ubuntu also has a publishing fee as I recall, but am probably wrong there.
SONY PSM is the ONLY totally free service for self publishing. Android has a one-time fee of \$25 (or something low like that). Again, not free.
There is so much misinformation about this topic.
The only source of information about Cocos2D-XNA is from Totally Evil Entertainment. We have been supporting that platform for over 18 months now and have successfully brought it to the platforms supported by MonoGame. if your source of information about Cocos2D-XNA is not from Totally Evil then it is likely wrong.
Jacob Anderson - Gena Minchuk - Kenneth Pouncey : these are the people who support Cocos2D-XNA. We will gladly answer any emails you send to us, just email team a.t cocos2dxna d.o.t com and you will get a response.
You could also adopt Java and write specifically in java then use xmlvm to convert your Java game over to the other platforms. That’s also free and it works sometimes. It seems to support Android and iOS and Windows Phone. Plus, it’s open source so you can contribute back to it.