Sony have today announced, via an official blog post that game developers looking to release their titles on the PlayStation Mobile (PSM) platform will no longer have to pay a publishing fee.
Until today, there had been an annual fee of £65 / $99.
So, what does this mean for PlayStation Mobile?
With Sony actively pushing smaller “indie” titles to the forefront of the PlayStation brand at an almost unhealthy rate recently, a lower barrier for entry can only mean more developers getting on board the hype-train; More games. Yay.
I have concerns regarding the quality of said games, and the effect this will have on the platform as a whole though; Nay.
PSM hasn’t had the best of starts, and to say it’s a £65 fee holding back the genuinely great content that consumers want would be complete insanity. Surely a nominal fee such as this is little more than a box to check for anyone with serious interest in putting out what they believe to be a serious, well made, enjoyable title.
It’s not the money.
There’s plenty of hurdles far more challenging to overcome than finding £65 – and by the sounds of things, more to come for developers – In their attempts to bolster PSM’s popularity, and thus, it’s library, I could see Sony doing the small number of current top-flight PSM developers a genuine misfortune.
There’s a few real gems in my PlayStation Certified pocket currently, but they’re hidden in a subset of the Vita store, or the PSM android app, which of course, you can’t find on the regular Play marketplace. That’d be too easy.
As a consumer, you have literally zero chance of you simply stumbling across any PSM game, good or bad – you need to go looking for them, and they’re already too many clicks away, unadvertised, and soon, to exacerbate things further, any games which actually deserve your attention are going to be piled under waves upon waves of “My First Bejeweled” clones and the like.
PlayStation Mobile is a mess. PlayStation Nation? PlayStation Segregation.
PSM needs a complete overhaul; Even if we ignore all the previously much-discussed issues with the platform as a whole – the lack of network support etc. – games should, without question, be integrated into the main store-front, under the new “indie” category if appropriate; At least then people might stumble over them whilst looking for something different.
With a wash of new content undoubtedly on the horizon, an advertising budget for PSM would be great too, but again, what’s to ensure that the good games don’t get lost amongst the slurry of Sony’s desperation?
Somebody ought to remind Sony that for developers to make their investment worthwhile, be that at £65 or £0, their game has to sell – and if it will sell elsewhere, then so be it.
I can’t see this going anywhere positive, any time soon.