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Sony Accused of Charging $25,000 For Store Visibility

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According to a developer, a “very successful console [maker that] does not have Game Pass” charges Indie devs at least $25,000 in order to receive discounts and featured spots on the system. This was claimed by Iain Garner, who is a co-founder of indie studio Neon Doctrine. While the platform in question es never expressly stated, only referred to as ‘Platform X’, the terminology used and the fact that it has no “Game Pass” have to lead many to speculate that the console he is referring to is the Sony PlayStation.

Another Tweet, this one from Whitehorn Games CEO Matthew White, piled on stating similar issues with the same platform. Matthew then proceeds to state that Platform X performs “worse than other well-known plumber or supersoldier related video game systems”.

While this makes it pretty obvious who they are singling out, Matthew also states he had worked for Platform X before. A quick check of his Linkedin profile lists former him as a Senior Games Analyst for Sony between August 2016 and August 2017.

Essentially Iain’s claim here is that Sony makes it very hard for their indie developers to get exposure. Unless they like your game, or you, they do very little to help your game. As he states in the tweet, devs get very little way to manage their game, this even includes the ability to discount their game. He even calls out Platform X’s blog as not being as good as they think. He makes it sound like you need to do something crazy like I don’t know, make people think you might be Hideo Kojima or something to even make that a viable tool.

To even get onto ‘Platform X’ is a rather difficult process, requiring your game to pass a rigorous certification process. Iain Lists the steps as :

  • 1. Develop the game for Platform X
  • 2. Get through their incredibly difficult lotcheck spread over 3 generations of backend software
  • 3. Submit a Platform X specific trailer
  • 4. Write a Platform X Blog which
  • 5. Submit multiple forms for social media

After this exposure on ‘Platform X’ is not guaranteed. As he puts it you “must jump through hoops, beg, and plead for any level of promotion.” However, you can skip that step for “a VERY reasonable minimum of 25,000 USD to get featuring.” And this is on top of the 30% that the console manufacture is already taking out of the profits made on the system.

Initially a Kotaku report, they have also been able to confirm that the console in question is the Sony PlayStation. Other developers have been less candid, simply using PlayStation instead of ‘Platform X’. While the Iain stated specifically $25,000 as the buy-in price, allegedly these deals can ultimately reach $200,000 dollars.

While these claims have been lodged against Sony right now, it should be noted that Microsoft also reportedly has a similar structure for their online store as well.

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