Why All Current Consoles Are Sh!t To Develop For As An Indie (Part 2: PlayStation Network)

After the utter mess that was the 360, you would assume (if you didn’t, y’know, read the title of this post) that Sony would have this mess covered.

Not so, sadly.

First off, you have the PS3. Now, unlike for Xbox Live Indie Games, you have to pay for the full devkit and be accepted to sell on their systems.That’s considerably more money paid down than releasing on the 360, but that’s fine. The QC seems pretty normal, too, which is also good.

The problem, in this case, comes entirely from the consumer end of the situation. First off, I don’t know if the majority of PSN users are blind or something, but they seem to be incapable of getting around PSN. And I’m serious, one of the main complaints I see from developers is that people come to them after trying and failing to buy their game saying “I couldn’t find your game, but then I saw another game on sale and bought that instead.” How they managed to not find stuff when PSN has a search engine and is easy enough to get around otherwise is beyond me, but no matter.

And, sadly, a nice logo won’t fix the stupidity of the customers.

I’d chalk that up to “people are stupid” if it weren’t for that other half. Sony sells the customers what they want to sell – and that means they’ll show sales for games and maybe some new releases. Same as iOS, and there’s nothing a developer can do to get themselves featured – only on Sony’s whims.

But, in addition to that, for some reason, it has become somehow expected that every indie game on the service will slash its price after a month or two to compete with shovelware. One developer complained that the comments on a stellar review for their new title was filled with people saying that it looked great, and that they’d wait a few months for when the price goes down to buy it.

This is a general devaluing of games on the service, which is unacceptable. I think it says something that the vast majority of titles can’t keep their prices stable on this problem. And it’s not Sony’s fault at all, really, and it’s not enough to throw this onto the “people are stupid” pile. It’s more along the lines of “customers are astronomical idiots and developers are no better for shooting themselves in the foot by perpetuating this.” I’d understand if it was on XBLIG, which I covered before, but not on a system that forces you to go through the same process as big-name studios to get your games up, including getting rated by ESRB.

As for the Vita, Sony announced the PlayStation Suite, which would be nice if:

  1. This wasn’t swinging the door wide open for the exact same problems as Xbox Live.
  2. It didn’t lock out most of the Vita’s power, forcing people who want to release serious stuff to get a complete devkit anyway, making it pointless.
  3. The Vita’s install base wasn’t garbage at the moment compared to everyone else. Not to mention that Sony has specifically said they have no plans to cut the price of the system, while repeatedly making overly optimistic predictions with no basis, making me think it’ll be another PSP-level failure.

Honestly, PSN is more manageable than the others I’ll be covering (except computers), but you have to be willing to put up with all this bullsh!t from customers if you do it.

Tomorrow, I’ll be covering why Nintendo has somehow managed to fail even harder that both Sony and Microsoft at this.

Table of contents can be found here.