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Photo: YUKI IWAMURA/AFP via Getty Images

Sony is under fire from indie developers who say it charges over $25,000 for prime placement on the PlayStation store and gives them "no ability to manage their games."

Why it matters: The process of getting listed, and then selling, games on the PlayStation store is a bureaucracy that small developers have no control over.

  • Outside of the work associated with making the game, developers should expect to submit trailers specific to PlayStation platforms, write blog posts, submit multiple social media forms, and so on.
  • This is on top of a $25,000 price tag, if they want to get featured — a minimum, as developers are then expected to give 30% of their additional earnings.

Iain Garner, who co-founded game publisher Neon Doctrine, said on Twitter that "in order to get promotion you must jump through hoops, beg and plead."

  • Garner does not specifically name Sony or PlayStation, instead referring to it as "Platform X" and "the operator of a very successful console and does not have Games Pass."
  • Two sources with direct knowledge of Sony's platform confirmed the policies to Axios as those of Sony.
  • He added that "if Platform X doesn't like your game, no fanfare no feature no love. There is NOTHING you can do to fix this," and that for a platform to promote a game on its official blog, "is not as good as they think it is."

What they're saying:WhiteThorn Games CEO Matthew White cosigned Garner’s thread, saying that less than 3% of his company’s sales come from "Platform X," which he calls their "worst performing" platform.

  • "We're a company with about 19 full time, 10 part time employees, and I'm honestly not sure life to date we've made more on this platform than they're asking us to pay out of pocket for featuring."
  • "I know it seems like I'm jumping on a dogpile, but it's been really difficult to work with our developers telling them straight up not to expect sales on PX."

Mike Rose of publisher No More Robots commented on the thread indirectly. "[D]evs are too worried to say it publicly," he said. "But trust me when I say that the vast majority of devs are reading that thread, and nodding their heads violently."

Sony did not respond to Axios’ request for comment.

The bottom line: Sony's current practices are a tough pill for some developers, many of which are often marginalized creators.

Go deeper

Dying Light 2's 500-hour completion time draws backlash

Dying Light 2. Screenshot: Techland

A weekend promotional announcement that the upcoming zombie game Dying Light 2 will take 500 hours to complete drew a lot of negative replies.

Why it matters: Big-name games keep getting longer, squeezing out other games and frustrating some players.

Biden: There won't be "American forces moving into Ukraine"

President Joe Biden told reporters Tuesday that he does not foresee U.S. troops moving into Ukraine.

Why it matters: Biden's comments come as tensions between Russia and Ukraine persist, and a Russian invasion of Ukraine appears increasingly likely.

Updated 3 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Omicron dashboard

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

  1. Health: Axios-Ipsos poll: Omicron's big numbersAnother wave of death — FDA limits use of Regeneron and Lilly antibody treatments — Fauci: "Confident" Omicron cases will peak in February.
  2. Vaccines: Pfizer begins clinical trial for Omicron-specific vaccine — The shifting definition of fully vaccinated.
  3. Politics: Biden admin withdraws temporary vaccine-or-test mandate for large employers — New York Supreme Court strikes down Gov. Hochul's mask mandate for public areas — Sarah Palin tests positive, delaying defamation trial — Virginia school boards sue Gov. Youngkin for lifting mask mandate.
  4. World: U.K. to lift travel testing requirement for fully vaccinated — Beijing Olympic Committee lowers testing threshold ahead of Games.
  5. Variant tracker