[Platform: PlayStation 2]Dev Details Sony’s Frustrating Rules For Discounts And Promotion On PlayStation

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  (Photo by CHARLY TRIBALLEAU / AFP) (Photo by CHARLY TRIBALLEAU/AFP via Getty Images)

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  It’s rare that we get a peek behind the curtain at how getting a game onto a console and trying to make it sell actually works, which is why a thread this morning from Iain Garner, co-founder of Neon Doctrine, which makes games like Hazel Sky, Lamentum, Project Althea and others.

  In a lengthy thread that he says may “burn some bridges,” Garner talks about his frustrations with “Platform X” a console maker that he makes very clear is not Microsoft or Nintendo. Which leaves Sony and uh, the Atari VCS? It’s Sony, he’s talking about Sony. Garner says he’s being as “subtle as legally required” by not saying it outright.

  Since I can’t embed the whole thread, I’ll transcribe it below:

  “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!

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  Platform X gives developers no ability to manage their games. In order to get promotion you must jump through hoops, beg and plead for any level of promotion. And a blog is not as good as they think it is. If Platform X doesn’t like your game, no fanfare no feature no love.

  There is NOTHING you can do to fix this. Wishlists have no effect, so all your personal marketing means nothing to Platform X. All that matters is their evaluation. How is this evaluation done? Dunno, they don’t share that, nor will they share the value they ascribe to my game.

  So before you launch, you need to

  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

  5. Submit multiple forms for social media

  Oh for 3 and 4 you need to go through an account manager, when asked how to get an account manager, we were told “I’m not sure, they are assigned by resources.” And as we now know, there’s no way to know what resource level you have been assigned.

  Neon Doctrine

  Neon Doctrine

  BTW, you cannot even do a launch discount without their approval and it is “very limited.” That’s right…. You can’t do the thing that ever other platform does meaning the Platform X owners will always get the worst deal!

  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 featured. Oh and then 30% of your subsequent earnings….Bargain!

  Now when your game is on the platform, likely without any support from Platform X, you may think, no problem, I can sync up discounts on Platform X with Steam and others…Wrong! Discounts are invite only and invites are also “very limited.”

  It’s been literal years since we could put a title of ours in discount, and I spoke to some other VERY POPULAR devs today and they had the same experience. So even if your game does well at launch and thrives on other platforms, you may still never be invited? Y? who knows?

  In conclusion, Platform X is super successful and awesome hardware but their backend and process if straight out of the early 00s. I have no idea how to succeed on this platform and they wont tell me. Even if I do succeed, they may screw me anyway…

  So for any gamers who have wandered in here. Next time you’re unhappy about your game never being discounted on Platform X or a game you want not launching on Platform X! Please go and complain to Platform X!”

  I asked Garner if he had any additional comments, or if he wanted to confirm once and for all this was Sony, but haven’t heard back yet. And Sony has not answered one of my emails in years, so I don’t think I’ll be hearing back from them about this either. So yeah I can uh, sort of see his point about their communication from a different angle.

  I didn’t realize that there would be this arduous process for a game developer to need permission or an invitation to lower the price of their own game. I get why auditioning for a “feature” slot might be hard to grab the spotlight for, but the price thing was a surprise.

  It’s always hard for any game, especially smaller ones, to find success and big sales, but it seems like it may be harder on “Platform X” than others.

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