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When self-publishing on PlayStation 4, here's what to expect
When self-publishing on PlayStation 4, here's what to expect
July 15, 2013 | By Mike Rose

Agostino Simonetta, senior account manager at Sony Computer Entertainment Europe, has given some insight into how the self-publishing process on PlayStation 4 works.

[Note: We've seen a bit of confusion on Twitter: This article is about making games for PlayStation 4, a process that still requires access to an official development kit. For a bit more on PS4 dev kits and indies, read this Gamasutra article.]

Talking at Develop Conference last week in Brighton, Simonetta offered attendees various tidbits about what indies and larger development teams should expect when self-publishing their titles for the upcoming PS4, all under the slogan "No hurdles, just games."

"Every developer is a publisher"

Simonetta explained that all PS4 developers maintain complete "end-to-end" control over everything, including the release date of their games.

When it comes to promotion, studios work alongside Sony to discuss the best possible ways to get the word out efficently.

Your past work does not guarantee success

You might assume that developers who have already released a number of highly successful titles will have more chance of success on PS4, but Simonetta says that this simply isn't the case.

He noted that your potential success on PS4 is all about the quality of your current game, and nothing to do with how many games you've previously released.

Quality leads to marketing

Quality plays a factor in whether or not Sony chooses to promote your game heavily or not as well.

Simonetta said that being promoted via the PlayStation Blog, or having your PS4 game tweeted about via the official PlayStation Twitter account, is "not guaranteed" -- rather, "it depends on the objective quality of your title."

Hence, if Sony decides that your game isn't up to snuff, you may not get as big a free marketing push as other titles on the platform.

Feedback is optional

When it comes to handing over your finished product to Sony for internal checks, there's a tickbox on the application form regarding game feedback.

Essentially, getting feedback from Sony about your game is entirely optional. You can choose to bypass the company's prying eyes completely and get your game published on PS4 without receiving an opinion, or you can ask the submission team for feedback.

There's absolutely no obligation to get feedback, says Simonetta, and if you do choose to receive feedback, there's no obligation to follow it either.

Submission week

Simonetta noted that when submitting your final product to Sony, there's no voting rounds or greenlight process.

From the moment you submit your game, it takes around a week before it's ready to go live. At this point, you can begin marketing your title, and choose exactly when you want it to appear on the store.

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E Zachary Knight
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That is a pretty straight forward process. I like it. I wonder how it compares to Nintendo's process.

Kale Menges
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I really hope the PS4 is legit. I am stoked. ;)

Marvin Hawkins
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That sounds nice. But I guess the question is, how much will it be to register? Will it be the same as Playstation mobile, or will we have to buy dev kits?

Kris Graft
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I added a note to make clear that PS4 dev kits are still required. Sorry if this got your hopes up!

Mike Griffin
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Of course if you _are_ confident enough in your game's awesomeness, submitting to Sony's feedback process early on increases your chances to receive promotional support from them -- simply because they'll have the product in their hands early, and can initialize planning. Presuming their submissions team can spot the gems!

Karl Schmidt
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So how do I get my hands on some dev hardware? :)

Keith Thomson
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Judging from what others have said, I imagine it would start with talking to @shahidkamal.

Ron Dippold
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'He noted that your potential success on PS4 is all about the quality of your current game, and nothing to do with how many games you've previously released.'

Though it seems like you could do what the mobile people already do heavily and leverage your popular older games to promote your new game. Candy Crush Saga -> Pet Rescue Saga being the obvious latest one. If you're churning them out that fast, of course.

Sony - As a user I would really love to be able to search for non-freemium games to avoid that cesspit most of the time. Freemium devs here - I don't mean /your/ game, of course, just the other sleazy games that are ruining it for everyone else.

Jim Perry
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Nowhere in this did I see how one gets to be a PS4 developer. If the application process is anything like this - then I don't see this as "true indie" friendly.

Dave Long
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This might sound a bit harsh, but if a solo indie dev can't cope with that level of paperwork, then they really have to ask themselves if they are cut out to be an indie, and if an indie studio can't cope with that, they've got some gaping capability gaps. That form is primarily tick-boxes covering off incredibly basic stuff, plus some background on the indie studio's composition. I would personally find it more work to knock up a CV for a job at Macdonalds than to fill in that form. Of course, the broken Captcha down the bottom is a worry ;).

Thomas Steinke
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Sony is really supporting the Indie community. It is awesome to see this. Very excited to develop for PS4. Way to go Sony!

Ryan Christensen
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They are going to be very developer friendly this gen, thanks Sony! I imagine lots of hardware sold will be due to the ability of small to medium devs being able to push games. Hoping the dev kits are fairly affordable and maybe even being able to publish directly to your own PS4 ala Xbox of old and OUYA style. Since the PS4 is x86 baased maybe less need for a devkit altogether. Sony back in the day had a PS2 dev version that was able to do this.

Dave Reed
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So how much is a devkit? (And why not make retail consoles function as basic devkits?)

Sebastian Bender
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Sounds good at a first glimpse but I personally would like to see a little bit more detail to actually get excited:

How will games be generally presented in the store?
Is there any quality control at all?
What kind of visibility will a newly released/highly popular/crappy game have?
What kind of marketing and promotion is Sony talking about despite the Blog and Tweet?
How much will a PS4 dev kit cost and how can an indie afford it (discount program anyone)?

Jibreel Muhammad
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I got a dev kit from Sony free of charge. From what I've been hearing from other indies, Sony has been renting them out to indie devs for free. Just contact them if you want one, they've been really good about making sure everyone who wants one gets one.

Thomas Happ
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Are you paying attention, Microsoft? Everyone likes this. Just do the same thing, okay?