Self-publishing on PSN: Easier Than You Think
by DAN MILLER-SCHROEDER, design3.com
Ted Regulski of SCEA made it clear at GDC this Wednesday: it's easy to digitally self-publish to PSN. All you need is a great game, and they'll guide you through the rest. Not only that, but Sony offers funding and promotional opportunities for the cream of the crop, a rarity for indie developers.
Why publish on PSN at all when the mobile and PC markets are so democratized and popular? For one, those markets are over-saturated, and a game on Vita or PS3 is much more likely to make a splash. Also, the PSN publishing process is strikingly simple and similar to other digital distribution platforms with revenue sharing agreements like the App Store and Android Market.
If you as a developer or studio are interested in PSN publishing, simply contact your region's developer relations office (posted on design3) and start the process. You'll have to 1) sign agreements, 2) submit metadata and code, and 3) get final approval. Monthly payments start coming in as soon as the game goes live.
Regulski stressed how crucial it is for self-publishers to promote their game, as they don't have the advantage of a AAA PR campaign behind them. However, with a little initiative, developers can harness Sony's own promotional machine to get featured in the PSN Store, in mailings, and even at conferences like E3, GDC, and Comic-con.
Sony also supports developers with their US-only PubFund, an agreement for a back end guarantee against future royalties. This means they'll advance you money upon a game's release and make it back in royalties. Once they've earned back the advance, you keep the rest of the revenue. When used in combination with federal and private grants, a small studio or developer can stay afloat more easily than relying on incremental sales revenue alone. Regulski stressed that PubFund proposals must be unique, must creatively utilize the PS3 or Vita hardware, and should probably be previously unreleased. They get less than 15 PubFund pitches per week, and he insinuated that they're hungry for Vita content.
The bottom line is that Sony's developer relations teams are eager to work with you to get your project published and to help you sell as many units as possible. Just get in contact, start a dialogue, and make it happen.
Detailed guidelines for submitting PSN games, as well as developer relations contacts can be found here.
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Dan Miller-Schroeder is the design3's Instructional Designer and is constantly on the hunt for bringing educational material to the design3 community. Find him on design3 as "danms" or follow him on Twitter @d3danzo.