This Week in Business is our weekly recap column, a collection of statistics and quotes from recent stories presented with a hint of opinion and intended to shed light on various trends. Check back every Friday for a new entry.
It should have been a week of good news for Sony. And depending on who’s also trapped in your Twitter echo chamber, it was.
In just three days, the platform owner announced that it had acquired Finnish studio Housemarque and then Dutch developer Nixxes Software, bolstering what was already a strong portfolio of proprietary studios.
Housemarque has been producing strong successes for PlayStation since Resogun in 2013, the last PS5 exclusive release, Returnal, and Nixxes has developed ports of Sony titles on PC, further indicating that the platform owner is not on. the point of stopping updating its Steam page.
There is also reason to believe that Sony bought Bluepoint, the studio behind various PS4 and PS5 remasters, including last year’s Demon’s Souls.
So these are two (potentially three) notable acquisitions that strengthen the line-up of PlayStation Studios in the space of a week. But it wasn’t the Sony conversation that stood out the most over the past seven days.
Iain Garner, co-founder of indie publisher Neon Doctrine – which runs games like The Legend of Tian Ding and Project Altheia – caused a real storm in a Twitter thread about a platform owner who doesn’t did not support the independents.
QUOTE | “I will not define Platform X but it is the operator of a very powerful console and does not have a Games Pass!”
Okay, that sounds like Sony, although it’s worth remembering that the Switch is a “very successful console” as well.
QUOTE | “Yeah, PlayStation sucks for independent developers. We sold like garbage over there compared [to] the other big consoles. In addition, we have more sales on Itch only than on [PlayStation] I’m pretty sure of it. ”- Jay Tholen, developer of Hypnospace Outlaw, makes sure the platform we’re talking about is crystal clear.
Garner complained about the lack of communication (especially on how to log in with an account manager), the ineffectiveness of wishlists, the inability of developers to control discounts on their own titles, PlayStation’s only invite policy on who is and is not part of sales events and high fees for any amount of visibility.
STAT | $ 25,000 – The minimum amount you would have to pay Sony to have your game showcased on the PlayStation Store window
And Garner was not alone. Several indie developers of varying sizes echoed his sentiments, including some who produced larger indie games.
QUOTE | “We’re a fairly established developer with a proven track record, but honestly I have no idea who to even contact for console sales. It’s like trying to be heard in a vacuum of space” – – Ragnar Tørnquist, founder of Dreamfall Chapters and Draugen dev Red Thread Games, commenting on Garner’s posts.
Tørnquist said Garner’s comments “accurately reflected our experience,” adding that it was “disheartening” to see how much effort had been put into trying to get the game from his studio Draugen at a discount or featured in a store. sale, but to no avail.
There still doesn’t appear to have been a comment from PlayStation – presumably because that would confirm that it is indeed Platform X, which would amount to an unmasking on The Masked Singer immediately followed by a barrage of rotten tomatoes.
If even half of those complaints are true, it’s disappointing but, at the risk of leaving Sony a little slack, it must also be difficult to deal with who does and does not get noticed in a storefront which, while digital, has. always a finite amount of promotional space. Consider the number of billions of independent studios around the world and imagine them all knocking on your door, demanding the same marketing support.
Granted, Nintendo and Xbox are handling this more than good enough on their own platforms, and there is some debate over whether Sony prioritizes indies. But with the combination of the PS4 and PS5, Sony still has the largest user base and therefore, in theory, more demand for attention from independents.
That doesn’t make things any less frustrating, of course, and the $ 25,000 entry fee certainly seems high when talking about a category of developer who more often than not doesn’t exactly have a ton of money behind it.
It wasn’t the only fury around Sony on social media this week.
STAT | 0 – Number of PS Plus subscribers who can receive the PS5 upgrade for Greedfall if they have claimed the game as part of their subscription.
This news, as you can imagine, has not been well received by consumers via social media. And while, as our editor Rob Fahey observed, Twitter is never truly representative of the views of the broader consumer base, it colors the conversation for some circles, especially among the major players.
Greedfall isn’t the first game to suffer from this issue, as the Integrate update for Final Fantasy 7 Remake for PS5 was also not available to PS Plus subscribers. Both titles are third-party offerings, but Sony is definitely in the crosshairs here.
The debate over whether gamers are entitled to free upgrades from next-gen versions, especially since such a thing was unknown in previous generations, is complex – even this mention of previous generations may prompt an “Ah, but …” What’s not for debate is whether Sony would have wanted two scathing conversations about how it manages its platforms to rise as it announced the expansion of its studio activities.
These are tough times to be a platform holder. Long-established social media channels give any disgruntled party – whether justified or not – the opportunity to voice their grievances. Grievances that can make headlines, that can turn into weekly recaps.
Talking about that…
QUOTE | “HR is responsible for educating people in leadership positions about what neurodiversity is” – If you haven’t already, be sure to check out our in-depth guide to understanding and supporting neurodiversity on work place.
STAT | Over 33 – Number of articles and podcasts we have planned for our Get A Job In Games month, which started yesterday. You can find them all here.
QUOTE | “We have gone from a world where consoles supporting independent developers were unthinkable to a world where it is unthinkable that they weren’t.” – Agostino Simonetta reflects on his time at PlayStation and ID @ Xbox as ‘he takes control of Thunderful Games.
QUOTE | “We wanted to make a real strategy game rather than a game where whoever can click the fastest is the better player” – David Kim, chief game designer at Uncapped Games and former developer at Blizzard, plans to his new studio.
QUOTE | “There is a real void in the Roblox marketplace where older gamers go for more sophisticated experiences like Fortnite and Minecraft” – New UK studio Talewind tells us about their plans to make games just for Roblox.
STAT | $? – Amount that Take-Two spent to acquire Dynamixyz, the French facial animation specialist who worked on Red Dead Redemption 2, NBA 2K21 and movies like Avengers: Endgame.
STAT | 469 – Days between Dan Houser leaving Rockstar Games and incorporating the new studio Absurd Ventures In Games.
QUOTE | “We operate under the policy that if there is a real or serious risk of forced labor, not only for Uyghurs, we will stop doing business with them” – Response from Nintendo Chairman Shuntaro Furukawa to shareholders interviewed on a report of thousands of Muslims working under coercive conditions in various factories in China.
QUOTE | “Thin as tissue paper” – Dylan Schmeyer of Kusk Law on charges included in Chris Avellone’s libel lawsuit against women accusing him of sexual misconduct.
QUOTE | “I worked with colleagues on something great, and I wish I could tell you all about it” – About as much as former BioWare boss Casey Hudson was willing to share about his new venture , Humanoid Studios.
STAT | $ 1,000 billion – Market capitalization of Facebook, owner of Oculus and (obviously) Facebook Gaming, after antitrust complaints against the company were dismissed.
STAT | 1.5 million – Number of players using Facebook Gaming’s cloud service on a monthly basis.
QUOTE | “Complainant doesn’t have the idea of an angry man with a scowl in his face” – One of Activision’s arguments against WWE wrestler Booker T. Huffman, who claims Call of Duty character David ‘Prophet’ Wilkes copies his own character GI Bro. Obviously, the judge agreed.
STAT | $ 44.7 billion – Global spending on mobile games in the first half of 2021.
STAT | 61 – Days until the UK Age Appropriate Design Code comes into effect (yes, even for businesses outside the UK). Here’s what you need to know.
STAT | 2,849 – Number of articles mentioning Elden Ring in the title or main body during week E3, making it the most covered game on this week’s show (s). Probably also the number of articles expressing surprise and / or relief that the game still exists.
STAT | 118 – Days until we can play Age of Empires 4, now that Microsoft has enabled Xbox Cloud Gaming on PC and iOS.