The “worst” builder to work with for indies, according to testimonials


We were talking to you yesterday about statements from a freelance developer / editor frustrated by Sony Interactive Entertainment’s way of managing its professional relationships with smaller companies. Apparently, this testimony has contributed to the splitting of many languages.


Read also: PS5: Sony talks about sales and wants to break a record set by the first PlayStation


Kotaku, who relayed yesterday the testimony posted on Twitter by Iain Garner and made revelations on the sums requested by Sony to promote a game on the PlayStation Store, has just handed over to. During the last 24 hours, the American site has indeed gathered numerous testimonials from independent developers, for the most part made on condition of anonymity, at least annoyed by the way Sony has to treat them. The first statement relayed by Kotaku immediately sets the tone:

There is Nintendo supporting you. There is also Microsoft supporting you. Then there is Sony who backs up their AAA machine and doesn’t give a damn about the others.

According to another testimony, this time from an editor, Sony is aware of the problem:

No platform is “great,” but Sony’s is particularly awful. And they know it, they’ve had a problem for a long time. They say themselves that they have a problem but they never fixed anything so the problem persists.

In addition to the problem of the magnitude of the costs associated with the promotion on the PlayStation Store that we told you about yesterday, developers mainly complain about the fact that without paying Sony, their game is totally lost on the PlayStation Store. Even if it is also possible to pay Microsoft and Nintendo to be promoted, developers and publishers also have free means to have their games promoted. In any case, this is explained by several independent game publishers about the situation on Xbox and Switch. An example of the situation on Xbox consoles:

Not a week goes by without people telling us, “I saw your game on the Xbox Dashboard today! The Xbox user interface looks messy. But in reality, it’s quite interesting that ‘it has so many places and spaces to showcase games.

Almost non-existent sales

One consequence of this lack of visibility on PlayStation consoles, which makes the situation even more complicated for small developers and publishers, is that game sales on Sony consoles are extremely low. On this subject, some creators have agreed to testify by revealing their names.

Matthew Wright of WhiteThorn Games says his game sales are split as follows: 60% on Switch, 30% on Xbox, 7% on Steam and only 3% on PlayStation. For his part, Christian Botea of ​​the studio / independent editor Those Awesome Guys explains that his sales are as follows: 91.5% on Steam, 7.6% on Switch, 0.6% on Xbox and 0.3% on PlayStation.

Another publisher, who wished to remain anonymous, communicated the sales figures of one of his games, a small independent game of which he gave the title Kotaku but which he asked the latter not to reveal: 20,000 copies on Xbox against 7,000 on PlayStation. It also revealed the DLC sales figures for the same game. And there, the lag is even more startling. On Xbox, 2,000 copies of the additional content found buyers while :

At Sony, and it’s no fucking joke, 7 (copies have been sold) to date.

According to Kotaku, for many of the developers and publishers he interviewed, a big part of the problem lies in the difficulty of finding games on the PlayStation Store that have not been promoted. And he relays the testimony of one of them on this subject:

If your store doesn’t have a location where players can’t find new or interesting games, and you literally have to use the search feature to find a game, then why are people giving them 30% off?

The 30% referred to here is the percentage of a game’s selling price that Sony recovers when sold through PlayStation Store. As for the reference to the search tool, several developers explained that in a large part of the cases, it is impossible to find a “small” game on the PlayStation Store when you do not directly enter its title in the engine. of research.

For the AAA

And history to extend even more the list of grievances of the independents, developers and publishers also complain about the difficulty to set up promotions on the PlayStation Store. As one of them explains, it is only possible to integrate the Promotions section of the Sony virtual store if the Japanese manufacturer invites you to do so:

This is the worst part. Nowadays, it is only possible to enter Promotions if you are invited to it. It is no longer possible to set custom discounts, or balances linked to a specific publisher / developer. And these invitations are … fucking crazy. Typically they offer something like a 40-50% commission (to allow joining the Promotions tab) by default and you have to make a counter offer. That’s when you say to yourself “shit, I have to offer them 30% or they’ll kick me out.” If you have so much time for promotions on other platforms and you try to come up with a stable pricing policy … god god it just ruins the strategy and it’s frustrating.

When Kotaku asks all of these personalities what Microsoft and Nintendo do best on Sony, the answer is apparently unanimous. According to them, communication is much better with firms in Redmond and Kyoto. On Microsoft’s side, they explain that the answers to questions and problems come faster, that the American glove never demands money, and that the Xbox Game Pass is a financially attractive solution.

On the Nintendo side, even if the house of Mario refuses developers to deploy patches larger than 200MB without special authorization, the situation is also much more comfortable than on PlayStation consoles. for developers and editors as a freelance editor explains:

Amazingly, after years and years Nintendo has come to listen and now provides some of the best tools for developers to control their games. We can reduce the price of our games whenever we want and no matter how much the reduction is, everything is under our control. Steam is the only other platform that allows a.

According to him, there are several solutions on Switch to promote your games without spending a single penny:

“New Releases, Great Deals” and all such listings exist and they (Nintendo) also place new releases and consequent price drops in the “Discover” tab. I’m not saying it’s amazing but there are at least methods of discovery. And at the end of the day, we sell good amounts of games on Switch because people can find our games … Now try to go to PlayStation Store and find a specific game.

Sony, which for several years has put forward its relationship with independent developers in its marketing, would certainly have done without such publicity. At the time of writing these lines, the firm headed by Jim Ryan has not yet responded to these testimonies.

Do all these statements surprise you? Did you suspect that the situation was so complicated on PlayStation consoles for smaller structures? Do you think Sony will react? Give us your opinion in the comments below.