Sony’s relationship with their indie partners has been a little rocky over the last few months. First there the confusion over the closure of the PlayStation Vita Store where a lack of communication on Sony’s part saw several Vita games canceled. Then others took to Twitter in July to complain about PlayStation Store discount policies, the costs of having games on the store, and issues with communication again. At the time, Sony made no comment. However, according to the results of Sony’s 2021 Global Partner Survey obtained by IGN, Sony has identified three areas of improvement in an attempt to repair the damaged relationship with their PlayStation indie partners.
The first area of improvement is to reduce the complexity of the relationship between Sony and indie partners. This includes areas like making sure partners understand the way Sony operates so the studios can make informed decisions, and improving communication, such as making it clear who will be working with the publishers over any concerns.
The second area of improvement was in regards to promotions. They will be allowing both publishers and developers better access to PlayStation Store sales, promotion analytics, and improved engagement. They’ll also be looking to enhance discoverability for smaller games, likely to do with the way they will be featured in the PlayStation Store. Finally, the third area of improvement is when dealing with issues and complaints. Sony will do this by modernising their toolset to improve “ticketing systems, documentation, and customer service efforts”.
Sony already seems to be making a start on some of these improvements. Akupara Games CEO David Logan told IGN that “it was clear that the account managers at Sony had been working hard for a long time to push through a lot of the ideas the indie developers flagged” and that “Sony started rolling out a bunch of big changes” not long after the indie partners’ criticisms went public in July. This has included extremely improved response times, with most responses arriving between 24 and 48 hours after initial communication. There has also been better promotion for some games in places like the Playstation Youtube channel, more streamlined game pages and new sections on the Playstation Store, subsidised porting costs with “very friendly” terms, and more opportunities to discount their games.