Iain Garner of independent game publisher Neon Doctrine recently posted a tirade on Twitter where he suggested that getting prominent promotion on the store of a “very successful console” that “does not have Games Pass” (i.e not Xbox, and presumably meaning PlayStation) costs at least $25,000.
Video game publication Kotaku first published the story and claims to have verified financial figures that, if it indeed is PlayStation that he’s talking about, that cost can reach as high as $200,000.
Garner goes on to say that promotion is based on the aforementioned platform liking the game but argues that: “How is this evaluation done? Dunno, they don’t share that, nor will they share the value they ascribe to my game.”
Furthermore, the process for getting a game to pass compliance and get on the store in the first place is cumbersome and spans three generations of backend software. Launching the game at a discounted price requires the console owner’s approval and even then is “very limited” but allowed on “every other” platform.
Kotaku has since received multiple responses from independent developers giving their own takes.
“Oh yeah, so there’s Nintendo who supports you,” says one response. “Microsoft who supports you and [then] there is Sony who supports its own AAA machine and gives a fuck about everyone else.”
There are several other damning quotes in Kotaku’s story – including that Sony “does not understand what indie means” – but it’s certainly not the first time the company has come under fire for its policies and seemingly using its position to act in a manner similar to Apple with its App Store.
While an increasing number of games have supported cross-play between Xbox, Switch, and PC, very few are available on PlayStation or have been late to support. Developers have often reported that Sony is against cross-play as it provides less incentive for a player to buy a PlayStation to play with their friends.
Borderlands 3 developer Gearbox, for example, had to remove a patch that would have enabled cross-play in the PlayStation version of the game.
In an interview with Axios earlier this month, PlayStation chief Jim Ryan claimed that “Sony wants cross-platform multiplayer, or cross-play, in more games”.
We’ve heard similar comments in the past so it will be interesting to see whether PlayStation makes policy changes to be more welcoming of cross-play and of indie game developers.
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