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Sony Now Charging Publishers For PS3 Downloadable Content


Roboplegic Wrongcock
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Publishing sources told us that Sony’s previously un-reported new “PlayStation Network Bandwidth Fee” is forcing them to think twice about what content they offer to PS3 gamers for download.

Until October 1 2008, video game publishers who wanted to offer downloadable content on the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 didn’t have to worry about getting a bill from Microsoft and Sony.

The million-plus downloads that a popular demo or map pack might receive could delight gamers, but rack up some expensive bandwidth costs. No problem: the publishers, who already pay a licensing fee to get their games on the two big platforms, could count on the platform holders — Microsoft and Sony — to pay the cost of piping that digital content to gamers.

That situation changed with the PS3 on October 1 of last year, when Sony implemented a 16 cents per Gigabyte fee to publishers for paid and free downloadable content, according to publishing sources familiar with Sony’s policy.

Game publishers are not happy about it.

MTV Multiplayer has verified that a letter sent to publishers last fall detailed the policy. It applies a 16-cent charge to every Gigabyte of content downloaded from the PS3’s PSN online store. For free content, like demos, those charges apply only during the first 60 days of the content’s release. For paid content, like map packs, the charges rack up in perpetuity, or until that content is removed from the PlayStation 3’s online store.

This “PlayStation Network Bandwidth” fee has been unpopular with game companies, according to at least three publishing and development sources who spoke to MTV Multiplayer about the policy on the condition of anonymity so as not to get their companies on Sony’s bad side.

“It definitely makes us think about how we view the distribution of content related to our games when it is free for us to do it on the web, on Xbox Live, or any other way — including broadcast — than on Sony’s platform,” one publishing source said. “It’s a new thing we have to budget. It’s not cool. It sucks.”

Publishers already pay costs for creating a demo, a process that can run six figures. Sony’s fees add a new expense. For a demo that is sized at exactly 1GB and is downloaded one million times, that would add an extra $160,000 that Sony is now charging and that, according to publishing sources, Microsoft isn’t. That’s what could scare publishers from placing content on the PS3.

The cost estimate is relevant because demos can be that big and that popular. Demos typically run at close to 1GB, with Ubisoft’s “Hawx” demo weighing in at 834MB, “Resident Evil 5” at 942MB and the demo for the upcoming “Legend of Wrestlemania” at 1003MB, which is just over 1GB. On the Xbox 360, the “Halo Wars” demo has exceeded two million downloads. The “Resident Evil 5″ demo, across the Xbox 360 and PS3, was downloaded more than four million times by late February.

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Presumably Microsoft don't charge publishers a bandwidth fee because Gold subscriptions cover the cost instead. Not that I'm defending this move by Sony as it seems rather counter-productive, but if Live was free I would imagine something similar would be in place for that service.

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Well this will probably mean the 360 getting a lot more exclusive DLC

Free DLC, perhaps, but not paid. Remember that the PSN doesn't use a points system, so it's easy enough for publishers to whack an extra 16 cents per GB on the price tag.

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Yeah, Sony are cunts because Microsoft make YOU pay for the bandwidth instead. Well done everyone.

Is revenue from Gold subs actually known to be used to pay for bandwidth for DLC, or is it just an assumption?

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Is revenue from Gold subs actually known to be used to pay for bandwidth for DLC, or is it just an assumption?

I don't think it matters, the point seems to be that MS make a lot more money off live due to the subs than Sony do from their service so Sony need to make it up in other ways like this.

I wonder how expensive Home was though :(

MS host like a billion downloads for windows and updates and all of their software on the internet though, I bet live bandwidth costs aren't even a concern to them in the least. This is when being a giant like MS helps them out in situations like this where Sony have to make a compromise.

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Is revenue from Gold subs actually known to be used to pay for bandwidth for DLC, or is it just an assumption?

What else would they use it for? Other than making little hats out of it, obviously.

It is an assumption, but it stands to reason that Gold exists to offset the costs of the entire Live service, including Silver member usage; bandwidth, maintenance, original content, etcetera. I seem to remember Microsoft themselves suggesting as much, although I'm afraid I can't recall where or when that was.

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What else would they use it for? Other than making little hats out of it, obviously.

It is an assumption, but it stands to reason that Gold exists to offset the costs of the entire Live service, including Silver member usage; bandwidth, maintenance, original content, etcetera. I seem to remember Microsoft themselves suggesting as much, although I'm afraid I can't recall where or when that was.

I've heard somewhere* its been used for to pay all these DLC and other online exclusivity deals, but like I said where it goes doesnt matter.

Like I also said, Microsoft must hold billions of gigabytes of files over all their departments, Live probably isn't a massive deal to them.

*It was Michael Pachter I think

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Sony seem to be going from strength to strength.

Don't worry it's all going to turn around when this is released.

http://www.electricpig.co.uk/2009/03/19/so...g-robot-friend/

The Sony PS3 could get an add-on game-playing robot, if a recently-unearthed patent application is to be believed. The patent application, from Sony Computer Entertainment, was filed last June, for a wheeled robot with a camera, microphone that reacts to a gamer’s voice and speaker, plus other sensors.

The Sony PS3 robot is designed to trundle around your living room, detecting its surroundings and presumably display them on your TV, while you somehow interact with the robot in a videogame format.

The Sony PS3 robot pal also, according to the patent, could have acceleration, gyroscopic and possibly GPS location sensors. The patent also details how the robot could respond to a gamer’s commands despite the view of the robot being different from the view of the gamer (perhaps it can recognise pets as enemies and laser-zap them in-game?)

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Until October 1 2008, video game publishers who wanted to offer downloadable content on the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 didn’t have to worry about getting a bill from Microsoft and Sony.

If it was such a big problem, wouldn't we have seen a big change in the last 6 months?

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If it was such a big problem, wouldn't we have seen a big change in the last 6 months?

Could still be waiting for the ripple effect to hit, a lot of content is presumably planned far in advance and maybe not subject to the new system due to pre-existing arrangements made. Look how long it took after Sony introducing the Trophy system for them to be implemented as standard in PS3 games.

Or it could be a storm in a teacup.

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