Sony’s relationship with their indie partners has been a bit shaky in recent months. First, there was confusion over the PlayStation Vita Store shutdown, with a lack of communication from Sony leading to several Vita games being cancelled. Others took to Twitter in July to complain about the PlayStation Store’s discount policy, the cost of games in-store and again communication difficulties. Sony did not comment at the time. However, according to the results of Sony’s 2021 Global Partner Survey obtained by IGN, Sony has identified three areas for improvement in an effort to repair the damaged relationship with their PlayStation indie partners.
The first area for improvement is to reduce the complexity of the relationship between Sony and indie partners. This includes areas such as making sure partners understand the way Sony works so that the studios can make informed decisions, and improving communication, such as clarifying who will work with publishers on any issues.
The second point for improvement related to the promotions. They give both publishers and developers better access to PlayStation Store sales, promotional analytics and enhanced engagement. They will also try to improve the discoverability of smaller games, which probably has to do with the way they will be shown on the PlayStation Store. Finally, the third point for improvement is the handling of problems and complaints. Sony will do this by modernizing their toolset to improve “ticketing systems, documentation and customer service efforts”.
Sony already seems to be making a start on some of these improvements. David Logan, CEO of Akupara Games, told IGN that “it was clear that the account executives at Sony had worked hard for a long time to push through many of the ideas that the indie developers had flagged” and that “Sony started rolling out of a lot of big changes” not long after the criticisms from the indie partners became public in July. This has resulted in extremely improved response times, with most responses arriving within 24 to 48 hours of the initial communication. There has also been better promotion for some games in places like Playstation’s YouTube channel, more streamlined game pages and new sections in the Playstation Store, subsidized porting fees with “very friendly” conditions and more opportunities to discount their games.