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Publishers unhappy with PS3 bandwidth fees

Publishers unhappy with PS3 bandwidth fees

Sony has reportedly irked publishers by charging them 16 cents per gigabyte downloaded by gamers.

Sony has, according to reports from MTV, irked a large proportion of the games publishing industry by continuing to use a system that charges publishers for putting content on the PlayStation Network.

The PlayStation Network Bandwidth Fee, which went into effect in October last year, puts a charge of 16 cents per gigabyte on publishers who host free content on PSN, to help Sony cover bandwidth costs. Free content only has to pay this for the first 60 days, while paid content continues to be charged at this rate as long as it is available.

As MTV points out, while 16 cents may not sound like much, it can quickly add up. A one gigabyte demo might be downloaded a million times, in which case the publisher is landed with a $160,000 extra cost for just hosting a demo. If you're adding trailers or free DLC on top of that it can quickly spiral costs upwards and publishers are apparently a bit unhappy that they have to pay that on top of the original licensing fees to have games on the PS3 in the first place.

"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 told MTV. "It's a new thing we have to budget. It's not cool. It sucks."

Sony hasn't given a solid comment on the topic, but MTV did get a quick word from SCEA spokesman Patrick Seybold, who promised that Sony works closely with all publishers and that it does not believe the system affects the quality or quantity of content on PSN.

Would you baulk at such costs, or do you think Sony is in the right? Let us know your thoughts in the forums.

25 Comments

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ChaosDefinesOrder 20th March 2009, 18:59 Quote
For a free-to-customers store/network, the money has to come from somewhere

that's a rediculous long-term cost though! Sony are soon going to find themselves losing publishers...
Skiddywinks 20th March 2009, 19:08 Quote
Was just going to mention the fact this is probably largely a consequence of Sony not charging for PSN use.
shigllgetcha 20th March 2009, 19:49 Quote
Sony really does hate games
Horizon 20th March 2009, 20:42 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by shigllgetcha
Sony really does hate games

It's a simple question. Who pays for bandwidth? Microsoft's answer was you, Sony's answer was the publishers? I like Sony's approach because I don't download much, I hate to think I'm paying for someone elses' download. I do disagree with the free stuff having a 60 day limit and the paid stuff a lifetime fee, shouldn't it be the other way around?
tejas 20th March 2009, 20:42 Quote
Sega Dreamcast all over again. Sony really screwed up this time...
ssj12 20th March 2009, 20:47 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Horizon
Quote:
Originally Posted by shigllgetcha
Sony really does hate games

It's a simple question. Who pays for bandwidth? Microsoft's answer was you, Sony's answer was the publishers? I like Sony's approach because I don't download much, I hate to think I'm paying for someone elses' download. I do disagree with the free stuff having a 60 day limit and the paid stuff a lifetime fee, shouldn't it be the other way around?

No, because what you pay for is YOURS. You own what you buy. The free things you dont, its more of a rental which last time I checked you have to return rentals.

@tejas - not at all. Sony is doing a wonderful job at making a really good open platform. The PSN can easily surpass Xbox Live in the future.
devdevil85 20th March 2009, 20:57 Quote
Somebody has to pay for bandwidth and since I'm not, it looks like both Sony and publishers have to. As for XBL, Gold subscribers are paying for these fees.
supaste 20th March 2009, 21:19 Quote
So how do Pc games manage this problem?
perplekks45 20th March 2009, 21:29 Quote
Either by clicking on [banner] ads, getting a premium account [FileShack, FilePlanet,...] or not at all [Steam].
I'm glad, I'm a PC! And yes, I use Windows, too. :)
freedom810 20th March 2009, 22:30 Quote
Okay if published don't like it they can **** off because I'm certainly not paying for online any time soon. If they leave its there loss, they'd be giving up a huge portion of their market and it would therefore be considered a stupid move on their part. $160k to a publisher is chump change isn't it?
one million download a demo costing the company $160k
The game costs around ?$50? upon release say around 300k are shipped at least, that's like 15million?
And the likely hood of any decent game selling more than 300k units is pretty high...
mrb_no1 20th March 2009, 22:36 Quote
i say give it time and see what happens, publishers are moaning because free content is costing them, but lets see in a few years once the psn is properly settled in with developers and games a plenty and see what publishers say when their games are being downloaded online over the psn rather than distributed the old fashion way as to their costs incurred. plus if publishers dont go exlcusively to microsoft, they can enjoy the frills of not paying for bandwidth with xbl, and then paying a little on the psn...

peace

fatman
Skiddywinks 20th March 2009, 23:24 Quote
Personally, I prefer having to pay a measily £40 a year and not have developers unwilling to put up new content because they are worried about the charges they will have to pay. For the cost of a game we have a system that truly encourages growth and innovation, rather than trying to cover financial holes by charging developers. I'm not so sure Braid would have been on Xbox Live if the developer had to pay a silly about of money just to have it on there.

£40 gets me the most functional online service in a console ever, means that developers have a unified base to build on with the help of Microsoft, and means that the ability to play the games I like will be running indefinitely. I'm all for it.
hodgy100 21st March 2009, 00:56 Quote
its not that hard to make up the price, on paid DLC and stuff they can just add so much money onto the cost of the DLC e.g a file is 512MB so they just add 8p onto the price, therefore ther person that buys that DLC pays for the bandwidth they used as well. its not hard :/
Veles 21st March 2009, 01:14 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Horizon
It's a simple question. Who pays for bandwidth? Microsoft's answer was you, Sony's answer was the publishers? I like Sony's approach because I don't download much, I hate to think I'm paying for someone elses' download. I do disagree with the free stuff having a 60 day limit and the paid stuff a lifetime fee, shouldn't it be the other way around?

Actually if you're a silver member (no fee) you can download demos, etc. fine, although usually a week or so later than gold members. No fee to the user, no fee to the publisher. I found the xbox live fees to be perfectly reasonable back in the original xbox days and especially reasonable now with all the extra stuff we have now.

The only thing the PSN charges to the developers does is make them less likely to release demos and the like on PSN.
Quote:
Originally Posted by freedom810
The game costs around ?$50? upon release say around 300k are shipped at least, that's like 15million?
And the likely hood of any decent game selling more than 300k units is pretty high...

Yes, because all the retail cost of a game goes back to the publisher doesn't it.
devdevil85 21st March 2009, 01:22 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Veles
Quote:
Originally Posted by Horizon
It's a simple question. Who pays for bandwidth? Microsoft's answer was you, Sony's answer was the publishers? I like Sony's approach because I don't download much, I hate to think I'm paying for someone elses' download. I do disagree with the free stuff having a 60 day limit and the paid stuff a lifetime fee, shouldn't it be the other way around?

Actually if you're a silver member (no fee) you can download demos, etc. fine, although usually a week or so later than gold members. No fee to the user, no fee to the publisher. I found the xbox live fees to be perfectly reasonable back in the original xbox days and especially reasonable now with all the extra stuff we have now.

The only thing the PSN charges to the developers does is make them less likely to release demos and the like on PSN.
XBL Gold members are the ones paying for the fees that Silver members are not. MS is passing the buck onto the consumer. Both companies can look bad depending on how you see it.
DarkLord7854 21st March 2009, 05:55 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by freedom810
Okay if published don't like it they can **** off because I'm certainly not paying for online any time soon. If they leave its there loss, they'd be giving up a huge portion of their market and it would therefore be considered a stupid move on their part. $160k to a publisher is chump change isn't it?
one million download a demo costing the company $160k
The game costs around ?$50? upon release say around 300k are shipped at least, that's like 15million?
And the likely hood of any decent game selling more than 300k units is pretty high...


:(

What about all licensing fees? Registration fees? Fees that go into putting the game onto shelves? But most importantly, you have the massive employee salaries. That 15 million goes by REALLY quickly.
DXR_13KE 21st March 2009, 16:18 Quote
idea: use some sort of distributed system like P2P.
steveo_mcg 21st March 2009, 16:52 Quote
Then people will just complain that they are paying for bandwidth that Sony/Pubs should be footing the bill for, I for one don't have the bandwidth to spare at peak times thanks to VM dodgy capping policy.
freedom810 21st March 2009, 17:03 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by DarkLord7854
:(

What about all licensing fees? Registration fees? Fees that go into putting the game onto shelves? But most importantly, you have the massive employee salaries. That 15 million goes by REALLY quickly.
I understand all those things need to be taken into account and should have mentioned them but I'm sure they still get a hefty price for themselves otherwise they wouldn't continue making games.
Like I said before if they don't want to develop on PS3 then they don't have too, they will just lose customers, and a lot of customers too...
Veles 21st March 2009, 19:03 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by devdevil85
MS is passing the buck onto the consumer. Both companies can look bad depending on how you see it.

Very true, but as a gold member since the start of xbl on the original xbox when it was nothing more than online gaming with VoIP, I was happy to pay the fee back then and I'm more than happy to pay the fee now with all the additional services on offer. As shown by the old PSN on the PS2, making the developers pay for it doesn't work out too well with many games now unplayable online due to the developers shutting down their servers. Developers have enough trouble making mends meet sometimes without additional costs laid on them.
devdevil85 21st March 2009, 22:18 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Veles
Quote:
Originally Posted by devdevil85
MS is passing the buck onto the consumer. Both companies can look bad depending on how you see it.

Very true, but as a gold member since the start of xbl on the original xbox when it was nothing more than online gaming with VoIP, I was happy to pay the fee back then and I'm more than happy to pay the fee now with all the additional services on offer. As shown by the old PSN on the PS2, making the developers pay for it doesn't work out too well with many games now unplayable online due to the developers shutting down their servers. Developers have enough trouble making mends meet sometimes without additional costs laid on them.
Veles, I'm just trying to saying to say that (depending on how you want to report it) MS could be made out to look bad, too, since they are passing the fee onto Gold members (even if they don't download stuff). I'm not saying anyone is bad or good, but based on how someone else's interpretation of it.
DarkLord7854 22nd March 2009, 01:03 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by devdevil85
Veles, I'm just trying to saying to say that (depending on how you want to report it) MS could be made out to look bad, too, since they are passing the fee onto Gold members (even if they don't download stuff). I'm not saying anyone is bad or good, but based on how someone else's interpretation of it.

Yes, that's true, but you can't make them look as bad because the Gold subscribers do get some fairly nice benefits for their money. Whereas developers paying for bandwidth aren't necessarily getting any return for their money since they most likely have other marketing avenues apart from PSN which are probably cheaper and offer more for their $$.
NightrainSrt4 22nd March 2009, 01:11 Quote
It would suck to be a single indie dev and put up a game demo not realizing how many people would download it. Especially if you put up the full game expecting to make a decent amount based on the number of downloads you had to pay for of the demo. Though I don't have a ps3 so I don't know if they have lots of indie stuff there.
devdevil85 23rd March 2009, 03:45 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by DarkLord7854
Quote:
Originally Posted by devdevil85
Veles, I'm just trying to saying to say that (depending on how you want to report it) MS could be made out to look bad, too, since they are passing the fee onto Gold members (even if they don't download stuff). I'm not saying anyone is bad or good, but based on how someone else's interpretation of it.

Yes, that's true, but you can't make them look as bad because the Gold subscribers do get some fairly nice benefits for their money. Whereas developers paying for bandwidth aren't necessarily getting any return for their money since they most likely have other marketing avenues apart from PSN which are probably cheaper and offer more for their $$.
What if you found out that as a Gold subscriber you were paying $10 more per year (from whatever you paid for your subscription) to pay for the fees of downloading DLC? Again, we will never know what the cost is (if there is any) to Gold subscribers or if MS pays for the bandwidth (which I highly, highly doubt). It just depends on how you want to see it.

Indie developers are currently using PSN exclusively as their avenue for their games, so I'm sure it's not what it's all cracked up to be or what's it being made out to be. For the big publishers, $160,000 (what some are quoting) really isn't that much to reach thousands upon thousands of possible customers and if the title truly is quality and what gamers want then they should make that cost up quickly. Hopefully Sony is doing the most they can to try and keep the costs down and hopefully it will get less as bandwidth costs drop.
tuteja1986 28th March 2009, 03:16 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by supaste
So how do Pc games manage this problem?

They get a third party to manage it :! like Fileplanet , Gamespot , Filefront... like if you go to ea site to download a BF patch you see loads of 3rd party links for the patch as they don't want to host it as it cost them alot for their bandwidth.

Now steam manages huge bandwidth cost with exceed XBOX live and PSN by selling loads of games to cover it. They use over 10,000TB bandwidth. They also get free hosting servers from ISP that want to free advertising like iinet does steam content hosting in Australia and they get free advertising in game. Like when you play TF2 and connect to server you will see a small banner with a iinet add. I do expect one day for steam to release a year subscription model as their business model may fail one day as games get bigger in size.

XBOX LIve will probably reduce its subscription fee as its number grow. Currently people are paying :

$50 a year :: $4.16 per month
But you can probably find it cheaper like i did at JB Hifi for $40 on sale
$40 a year :: $3.33 per month
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