Sony, the owners of PlayStation, have recently found themselves in hot water following multiple tweets describing their treatment of indie developers. Bloomberg reports that the backlash began after Iain Garner, CEO of “Another Indie Game,” took to twitter to vent his frustration at the company.
Garner explains that Sony very rarely offers indie games little to any promotion, which means developing for PlayStation also means developers need to do all of their own marketing just to make it clear that their game is in fact coming to PlayStation. Whether or not Sony actually promotes a game comes down to whether it matches their requirements or meets some specific criteria. What these requirements are is anybody’s guess since communicating with PlayStation is also nearly impossible for indie developers.
OK. I am mad enough to burn some bridges. Because honestly, what’s the point of a bridge that I am not allowed to cross.
So here is a thread about Platform X. I will not be defining Platform X but it’s the operator of a very successful console and does not have Games Pass! pic.twitter.com/OJ2ZJz9BNy
— Iain Garner (@NeonIain) June 30, 2021
Platform X was later confirmed to be PlayStation in an interview with Bloomberg.
These communication issues are widespread among the indie community, and many developers point to profits on PlayStation as proof that the company simply isn’t giving indie games the attention they need to survive on a console as competitive as the PS5. As shown below, profits made from indie games almost exclusively come from every other way to play games. PlayStation, on the other hand, only forms less than 1% of the profits made.
So bear in mind, we’re way smaller on the grand scheme of things and @matthewmwhite‘s @WhiteThornGames has a different audience than we do, but this speaks heaps about how Platform X just ain’t “doing it”.
— Cristian Botea 🎮 (@summoningpixels) June 30, 2021
Unfortunately, according to Garner, the only way to be sure that indie games see the front page of PlayStation’s store is to pay a staggering $25,000 along with 30% of their subsequent earnings. These numbers come from an official PlayStation Seminar Garner attended.
On top of all this, Sony very rarely allows indie games to go on sale on their consoles. Sales make up an extremely important part of game revenue since lowering prices make games more accessible to a wider audience, yet on PlayStation indie developers are rarely offered the chance to give discounts on their games. This likely contributes to the relatively small portion of profits indie games receive from Sony’s consoles.
Hopefully PlayStation and their indie developers can come to an agreement that’s best for everyone.