While we’ve heard rumblings in the past about some small developers/studios struggling with PlayStation, it’s been few and far between. But it seems the outcry is beginning to grow.
This fire began with a Twitter thread from Neon Doctrine co-founder Iain Garner where he specifically calls out some of the antiquated processes by PlayStation (which he referred to as “Platform X”). Taken in a silo, this could have been nothing more than a disgruntled developer head. But since speaking out, several more indie studios/leaders have echoed the sentiments.
Per an article from our friends at Gamesindustry.biz, there are several more recent examples. Whitethorn Games CEO Matthew White posted a “totally hypothetical definitely not real revenue breakdown” pie chart in a tweet thread noting that “less than 3% of sales as a company are on [Platform X].” White went on to say email communications with the platform are returned in months rather than days or weeks, the process of obtaining sales reports is unnecessarily time consuming and outdated, and it has no marketing, analytics, or advertising assessment tools for developers. “[Platform X] is our worst performing platform, worse than other well-known plumber or super-soldier related video game systems, and also worse than DRM-free sales platforms like Itch, etc.”
Ragnar Tørnquist of RedThread Games retweeted Garner’s original post, saying, “This thread mirrors our experiences exactly. Draugen has been out for over a year on consoles. When was the last time it was discounted or featured in a sale? And it’s definitely not for a lack of trying. It’s disheartening.”
“We’re a pretty established developer with a proven track record, but I honestly have no idea who to even contact to make console sales happen. It’s like trying to be heard in the vacuum of space.”
Hypnospace Outlaw developer Jay Tholen went ahead and named names, saying, “Yeah PlayStation sucks for indie devs. We’ve sold like trash on there compared [to] the other big consoles. Also we make more sales on Itch alone than we do on [PlayStation] I’m pretty sure.”
Finally Mike Rose, who has been very outspoken in the past and also applauded Game Pass regularly, had the following to say:
There’s a thread going round today that lots of people are sharing. The reason you don’t see more threads like it, is because devs are too worried to say it publicly. But trust me when I say that the vast majority of devs are reading that thread, and nodding their heads violently.
Obviously it’s difficult to comment realistically on this without full context and experience, but this absolutely feels like a “where there’s smoke there’s fire” situation. If several developers, who are risking potential relationships by speaking out, are doing so, then there’s an issue. We obviously hope that this is an area that improves in time.