Playstation Network Gives Developers “Much Weaker Negotiating Position”

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This past week, Introversion managing director, Mark Morris revealed to Computer and Videogames that he feels Sony’s Playstation Network poses a larger obstacle than Xbox Live Arcade with regard to games being approved for distribution on the service.


"With Microsoft your approval is given at the start, as long as you deliver what you said you’d deliver you’re going to launch, where as it’s not like that with Sony," said Morris.


He went on to explain: "Sony’s clearance for launch comes quite later and you have to invest quite a lot of time before you get it. That’s a problem because it means you have to invest a lot of time and effort and then you’re in a much weaker negotiating position because they could turn around and say ‘we don’t want it’."


This isn’t the first time developers have been critical of publishing policies instated by Sony on PSN. Last year, multiple publishers confirmed to MTV Multiplayer that, in accordance with a policy for downloadable content on the service, a fee of 16 cents per Gigabyte downloaded was payable to Sony. While in the case of free software (such as demos), the fee was only payable during the content’s first two months on the service, the fee for paid content was required to be paid throughout its tenure.


Both aforementioned issues are not present on Microsoft’s Xbox Live Arcade, according to these same sources. However, XBLA has been criticized in the past for different reasons, including Microsoft’s decisions to pull certain games from the service based on Metacritic score (and other factors), and their royalty fee.


Nintendo’s WiiWare has also received much criticism from developers of late, with regard to support in the way of marketing and the lack of freedom to use the Wii’s services. The service’s 40 MB file size limit has also been a popular point of contention. In short, no downloadable games service is perfect, and each is still evolving.

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Ishaan Sahdev
Ishaan specializes in game design/sales analysis. He's the former managing editor of Siliconera and wrote the book "The Legend of Zelda - A Complete Development History". He also used to moonlight as a professional manga editor. These days, his day job has nothing to do with games, but the two inform each other nonetheless.