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How self-publishing on PlayStation has evolved in the last year

How self-publishing on PlayStation has evolved in the last year

July 8, 2014 | By Mike Rose

July 8, 2014 | By Mike Rose
More: Console/PC, Business/Marketing

A year ago, Sony Computer Entertainment Europe's Agostino Simonetta discussed exactly where his team was up to with regards to self-publishing on PlayStation 4. Today at Develop Conference, Simonetta explained how this process has evolved in the last 12 months.

Simonetta had previously said that Sony's approach to PS4 self-publishing was centered around the phrase, "Every developer is a publisher." He noted that 12 months later, there are now over 1000+ licensed PlayStation developers, and over 100 games have been self-published on PlayStation platforms.

But he admitted that at the time, PlayStation was still quite a walled garden, and that SCE still needed to work hard to provide better self-publishing on PlayStation for developers.

"Our commitment was that we were going to fix this as much as we could, as fast as we could," he notes -- and he believes that today, that process is far more streamlined.

The original concept submission review process has been completely replaced, for example, such that absolutely any game can self-publish for PlayStation, with less focus on what Sony thinks about your game.

"We don't stop you if your game isn't particularly good," Simonetta says, "but if a game is good, we work closely with those developers."

And he adds, "As of today, Format QA is only about the technical requirement checklist. We took a step back. It's your responsibility if your game is buggy - it's a more modern approach." He says that this approach has cut the time down to get through QA by 30 percent.

All of this has resulted in more developers getting their games on PlayStation platforms far more quickly, he reasons.

"In the past we were taking 2-3 weeks to get your title through," he says. "Now, once the title passes, it can go live the very next week." Sony says it is also currently working to make this process even faster, with a streamlining project the team is yet to announce.

"Sometimes it hurts, but we learn a lesson."

As part of the talk, Simonetta invited developers from UK studios Roll7 and Team17 up talk about their experiences -- and Team17's Michael Torode in particular took the opportunity to explain what he felt was wrong with the PSN store.

The PSN store feels like a magazine rather than a useful digital store, says Torode, and it's very difficult to actually find interesting games you want to download.

And he noted that Sony can be bad at sticking to promotion promises. "We agreed with Sony on a promotion, but one week before the promotion we were told we were pulled from the promotion," he explained. "The store team were busy, but that's a discussion for the negotiation stage."

Simonetta took the stand after Torode to say, "Sometimes it hurts [to hear criticism], but we learn a lesson."

"Engagement is listening to people, learning, and sharing," he said. "Team 17 always give us a hard time, telling us what worked for them and what didn't."

He noted that having developers speak out about what Sony is doing wrong can only make the company work harder and better. He added, "We don't just disregard it, thinking that we know better."

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