Report: How PlayStation Is Failing Indie Developers

Discussion in 'Console Industry' started by iroboto, Jul 3, 2021.

  1. iroboto

    iroboto Daft Funk
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    Article
    https://www.pushsquare.com/news/2021/07/report_how_playstation_is_failing_indie_developers

    Related articles
    Sony Draws the Ire of Indie Video Game Makers - Jason Schreier

    We've had off-topic discussions in threads about indie promotions/working with Sony in the past. The new articles here explain the recent state of indies working with Sony. I can't vouch for it obviously, since I've not seen that seen since PS3. But as someone who is making another title sometime, and others on this board working on their hobbies, yea this sucks.

    Some painful stuff summarized:
    * Developers need to pay 25K to show up on the promoted on the store front
    * Sony gifting away copies of your game for free (no one pays)
    * Can't sell your game at discount whenever you want, you have limited control over the price

    * Support in general for indies is shit (doesn't sound like much has changed here since PS3, though I've never worked with MS so no clue if it's any different)
    * Developer's own promotions getting better views than Sony
    * Also difficult to get listed onto Sony's youtube channel
    * Super Complicated to get your title onto the PS store listing (I didn't have this issue back then, but to be fair I think the publisher handled this)
    * list goes on

    // Personal Thoughts
    It's always been tough to be a successful indie title (10K-100K units sold). Some of these practices are the norm. But as to why say, some developers choose to put their title on game pass, even if for free to be promoted, you can see above what some of the options are.

    The purpose of the thread isn't to make Sony look bad here, but just to understand that making a game and putting it on a store and having 'success', the last part is either going to cost you an arm and leg, or you've had some crazy successful marketing that cost you big time, or you won the lottery.
     
    #1 iroboto, Jul 3, 2021
    Last edited: Jul 3, 2021
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  2. Malo

    Malo Yak Mechanicum
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    Obviously this is all bullshit as Life of Black Tiger was featured on Sony's YouTube channel and promoted by Sony.

    /sarcasm
     
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  3. Silent_Buddha

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    Ouch, the poor get poorer and the rich get richer?

    That's gotta hurt as an indie developer if your game is being given away for free from someone other than yourself without your permission.

    I'm guessing Sony has to have wording in the contracts that indies have to sign that gives them the right to give away their games with no compensation, otherwise that can't possibly be legal.

    Regards,
    SB
     
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  4. Nesh

    Nesh Double Agent
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    It shouldnt be legal with or without contract
     
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  5. zed

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    Yes this sounds dodgy and bad on sony's part. But for the rest of what the person was complaining about (except for the promote own stuff above other stuff) i believe in, there should be standards to get into a store. Otherwise you have the apple appstore or Google play store where each day 100s of new apps get released no matter how shit or illegal or effort spent they are. Steam is nearly like this now, so much crap released, good games get drowned in the crap. The saying throw shit at the wall eventually some of it sticks, makes money just sums it up. So just keep doing this as it pays the bills, fuck actually making a game yourself. Hell of i had no morals i would prolly do this instead of trying to actually make a game myself

    The PS4 in 2013 was more lax so you had shit like black tiger released, do people actually want this? Prolly not, there should just be fewer titles released, everything has to reach a certain level to get this level of being able to be released.

    Though if what is true that Sony promote their games above others for no valid reason except
    Game company=Sony +300 chance promotion on webstore is just self favouring and should result in massive fines, or worse for Sony.

    ATM we don't see any evidence this is happening
     
    #5 zed, Jul 3, 2021
    Last edited: Jul 3, 2021
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  6. Nesh

    Nesh Double Agent
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    Oh I agree with standards totally. I dont agree with methods that are exploitative though.
    To be honest I am curious though what are Sony's set of rules that determines if a game should be given for free.
    Is he talking about Plus or the games given for free for a set time frame to everyone? Are they games that stop selling?
     
  7. Inuhanyou

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    Publishers should make it as easy as possible to get Indies certified and promoted. Most Indies and kickstarters are not games I usually search out but that doesn't mean they shouldn't be treated well. Today's indie niche title is tomorrow's big hit.

    Maybe it's because Sony is a more global dev that there are more complaints about them than Nintendo or MS but I don't quite buy that.

    Whatever the issue is, Sony should be fixing it right now. Making devs lives less convenient is never smart in the longrun
     
  8. ToTTenTranz

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    I'm not sure what the complaint is here.

    Indie devs are complaining about... not being able to afford the same publicity spots as big publishers on Sony's storefront?

    So what solution do they propose? They think they should pay less for the same ad space as richer companies, or get for free what the other companies must pay for?
    Can they see how much of a slippery slope that is?

    So what if an Indie gets no presence on the storefront?
    I'd be down for some compensation plans like Sony promoting some award-winning indies on their store, or if the prize for the Indie competition was exactly that.

    But as a customer, I also don't want every indie stuff (of which the majority is pretty crappy... sorry indies..) shoved down my throat every time I go to the PS Store. Steam did that for a while and I eventually stopped using it altogether.

    Also, this being aimed at Sony is clearly because they have the biggest target at their backs. The original kotaku report said Microsoft uses similar payment schemes.


    And by the way, after that article from kotaku came out some people sent them an e-mail asking what the entry fee was to get an ad on their first page.
    The entry fee for posting an ad on kotaku is $25 000.
     
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  9. iroboto

    iroboto Daft Funk
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    the main complaint seems focused on the overall lack of support from Sony. everything else is fairly standard for the norm, but it's worth putting out there for people to understand the decisions indies face when it comes to promotion costs.
     
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  10. chris1515

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    The indie Sony teams seems understaffed and it is hard for very tiny indie. This is not a problem for Supergiant Games or big indie games or indie working on Virtual reality but new indie or lower profile title suffer. And it is more difficult to have visibility on the store and discount than on Switch and Xbox.
     
  11. Silent_Buddha

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    It's far more than that, they don't get much support from Sony, at all. And when they do, they have to pay out the nose for it. From the above article:

    So, when Sony starts giving away their games for free without compensating them and without their permission, it's like a double whammy.

    Both MS and Nintendo have tools available for the developer to choose how they want to sell their games and how they want to promote them.

    Regards,
    SB
     
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  12. BRiT

    BRiT (>• •)>⌐■-■ (⌐■-■)
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    Since others were mentioning Xbox:


     
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  13. PSman1700

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    Explains why the valve ceo thought xsx was the better console when asked in an interview last year.
     
  14. Inuhanyou

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    If indie devs start en masse leaving Sony due to this I wonder if they will actually respond then?

    They don't have to let it get that far.

    It's fine to prioritize "traditional console development pipelines" but that doesn't mean making things overtly difficult for everyone else. I'd love to know what steam and Ms specifically do better and just have people constantly badger Jim Ryan in interviews to do that until they buckle


    I'm wondering how much of this is Sony management intentionally being difficult for Indies versus how much steam and Ms are just better at support
     
  15. Lurkmass

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    They don't know the half of the cruelty that was previously imposed. Before the PS4, Sony would make platforms with exotic architectures all in the name of promoting exclusive software and hindering multiplatform development. Compared to the past they have it fairly decent now ...

    If indies want to cut a better deal with Sony specifically then maybe they should think about releasing their games in an exclusive partnership with them since they have every reason to get defensive when they're up against a competitor with potential monopoly powers ? Otherwise Sony are free to capitalize their advantage as they see fit just as well as their competitors too ...
     
  16. see colon

    see colon All Ham & No Potatos
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    Is that what this is about? I thought it was lack of documentation, communication, and a general lack of intuitive steps mixed with added costs required to get your game spotlighted or showcased on Sony's platform mixed with a total lack of consumer facing UX language and only a semi functional search that buries indie games (and sometimes AA titles) out of view from potential customers. Or is that Sony's real advantage.
     
  17. Lurkmass

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    It's both ...

    Sony doesn't go around unconditionally expecting every developer to automatically to release their games on their platforms unlike their biggest competitor. Their competitor maybe more open when it comes to communication, documentation or marketing purposes but none of that truly matters for where it's supposed to count. At least you see Sony releasing their software for Windows but they aren't expecting anything close to reciprocal in return ...

    In a time where Sony is clearly loosening their grip on the concept of exclusive software, indies demanding similar terms and conditions as seen elsewhere doesn't help their cause one bit when most of them don't even show the same genuine propensity to develop their games for Sony's platform and really only care about chasing the money. These are the reasons I can only imagine why Sony doesn't make life easy for them because most of them don't have any real interest for them outside of making a quick buck ...

    If indies felt the same way about developing for Sony's platforms like they did with their competitor then things might've played out differently and Sony wouldn't be as exploitative with their work but as it stands right now Sony doesn't trust goodwill to automatically come out of them so they must offer up a visible advantage to their favour ...
     
  18. see colon

    see colon All Ham & No Potatos
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    I guess I'm not following. Sony's competitive advantage is having a storefront that doesn't showcase the games on it well, a lack of communication with the teams making content for them, and a confusing process for getting your titles on their platform to begin with. I don't understand how that's their competitive advantage. What exactly are they leveraging except excluding developers and, in turn, themselves, from making money. The whole reason why people want to be on Sony's platforms are because the user base should translate into sales. It makes no sense to purposely scuttle those sales if you make money from licensing fees on those sales.

    The thing I think is most damning from these revelations are the developers saying they made more from Itch than they did from PSN. I think a large percentage of people who consider themselves gamers don't even know Itch exists, much less have purchased anything from it. And even if they do know it exists, the average PC gamer's distain for any storefront that isn't Steam would hold back quite a few people as well.
     
  19. Lurkmass

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    Their main advantage is having leading home console platforms and Sony aren't desperate for indie games to release over there so if indie developers don't like their exploitative terms and conditions on offer then they can move on elsewhere to publish on other stores. They are fortunate that Sony decided to make it easier for them to do multiplatform development in the end but it makes them more vulnerable to competition as well ...

    Sony doesn't want to hamper software sales either but they still desire more favourable outcomes for themselves since they feel that having the highest selling platforms isn't enough. If indies do eventually start showing the same attitude like they do on other platforms then Sony might eventually soften up but right now they have to give them a tangible benefit like timed exclusive releases or exclusive content/marketing ...
     
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  20. zed

    zed
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    In 2019 the median indie game made $1400 the top 25% made 12k

    In 2013 the median indie game made 110k the top 25% 590k

    You had enuf of this trump style winning yet, indie devs?


    I know some are happy with opening steam etc up to having way more shovel ware by making it easier to publish but personally I'm happier with having fewer but higher quality titles. make the criteria harder not easier to get your game listed

    https://datastudio.google.com/u/0/reporting/9c1cbd0f-653a-4046-ba69-d2381b192762/page/OYeAB
     
    #20 zed, Jul 6, 2021
    Last edited: Jul 6, 2021
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