Various indie developers have spoken out against the hurdles they have to go through to get noticed on the PlayStation Store and the lack of support they receive from Sony.
The grievances were posted on Twitter, and while none of the developers named PlayStation outright, the platform they discussed, “Platform X” was rather obvious.
The conversation was started by indie publisher Neon Doctrine’s Iain Garner who said that “Platform X”, which does not “have a Game Pass,” doesn’t provide the developer with the ability to manage their games, and in order to get a promotion, you have “jump through hoops, and beg and plead for any level of promotion.”
“If Platform X doesn’t like your game, no fanfare, no feature no love,” said Garner. “Oh but don’t worry. There is a way to guarantee you get featured! All you need to do is spend a VERY reasonable minimum of 25,000 USD to get featuring. Oh and then 30% of your subsequent earnings.”
Garner goes on to say that the developer can’t offer a discount without approval and that discounts are “invite-only,” and invites are also “very limited.”
Mike Rose from publisher No More Robots (Descenders) backed Garner up along with Ragnar Tornquist from Red Thread Games (Dreamfall Chapters), who added that Garner’s Twitter thread mirrored his company’s experiences exactly.
“Draugen has been out for over a year on consoles,” said Tornquist. “When was the last time it was discounted or featured in a sale? And it’s definitely not for a lack of trying. It’s disheartening.
“We’re a pretty established developer with a proven track record, but I honestly have no idea who to even contact to make console sales happen. It’s like trying to be heard in the vacuum of space.”
Matthew White of WhiteThorn Games (Calico), a former Senior Data Analyst at PlayStation, when into greater detail on the issue, stating the studio cannot seem to “move the needle on the platform,” and that less than 3% of sales as a company are on PlayStation.
“Platform X is our worst performing platform, worse than other well-known plumber or supersoldier related video game systems, and also worse than DRM-free sales platforms like Itch, etc,” said White. “Last month we made more on Google Admob. Marketing, analytics, CPM, etc. tools are nonexistent.”
“Average email responses are in months, not days or weeks. We have no visibility or communication with what is happening at PX. It took us more than eight months to get kits for PXs hardware, despite having numerous confirmed IPs on the title.
“We’re a company with about 19 full-time, 10 part-time employees, and I’m honestly not sure life to date we’ve made more on this platform than they’re asking us to pay out of pocket for featuring.”
White went on to say that it was “impossible” to plan launch support, that vouchers for Kickstarter backers take months to generate, and support emails go unanswered.
Whether or not such grievances will prompt Sony to rethink how it handles smaller indie developers and publishers remains to be seen.