I have worked on various PlayStation systems over the years, including PS2,
PSP, PlayStation Mobile and now PSVita. Sony’s approach to working with
small indie studios has changed a great deal over those years, and they are
now the most progressive of all the platform holders.
The big change came with the PSP Minis program. We (Super Icon)
published six titles on PSP Minis, and Sony of Europe were very
approachable and a joy to work with. The Minis program offered regular
monthly revenue in a far lower risk environment than a platform such as
As a European developer, one concern that I do have is that Sony of America is not particularly approachable. It can be very difficult for a European developer to get included in promotions. The best approach is to be patient yet persistent, and always try to remain friendly. Be prepared to be ignored,though!
The concept approval process is now standardized across all of the
PlayStation machines. It is a single stage process and products are now
solely approved based on their scope and support of platform features.
All titles are required to support one or more platform features, which are
defined on the online submission form for each platform.
All non-exclusive titles must maintain feature and content parity with
competing SKUs. Exclusivity is a three-month period.
Sony will, in certain circumstances, provide free loan development kits. If
they like your game and want it on their platform you are very likely to get
kits for no cost. If you do have to pay, while I can’t give exact figures, a
rough guide would be PS3 kits are under €2,000, PS4 kits under €4,000 and
PSVita kits under €2,000.
You must include the following age ratings for each title you submit:
▶ ESRB for North American release
▶ PEGI for Europe release
There is no requirement to provide a translated electronic manual. For each
title you release, the Metadata (PlayStation Store marketing description)
needs to be translated into all of the languages for the regions you intend to
release in. This can include:
Sony are in the process of simplifying the QA process, so all regions will
now only report Must Fix—‘MF’ and ‘A’ class TRC and Functionality bugs.
You will have to fix the Must Fix issues, but any ‘A’ class bugs may be
addressed at the publisher’s discretion.
A word of warning—QA submissions can be a little inconsistent, so prepare
yourself for frustration!
You get 400 free product codes for PAL territories and 400 codes for NTSC.
These can be used for non-promotional uses (i.e. media, review, internal).
Typically, you receive them within a week of your game release. You have to
request them online though, so make sure you don’t forget.
SCEE pay royalties on a monthly basis. They send you a statement, you
invoice and payment follows a few weeks later. The revenue split is 70:30.
Pricing and Promotions
You set your own retail price for the PlayStation Store, and you have
complete flexibility to alter this as you wish at any time.
Once you have a couple of titles on the PlayStation Store, you can start
managing your catalogue. There are various things you can do such as 2-for-1 deals, multi-game bundles, price discounts on PS Plus and so on. You can time limit these deals if you wish and they can really help to boost revenues.
Sony often run their own special promotions, so try to involved in those.
You will see a big increase in sales if you are part of a Sony promotion.
Don’t be too concerned if you have to drop the retail price for such
promotions, the extra earnings will usually more than make up for this.
There is a lot of flexibility to keep earning revenue per title on the
PlayStation Store, so you can really extend the long-tail.