Sony Begins Charging Publishers For Hosting DLC


By Chris Scott Barr

One of the great things about being a gamer in today’s world is that game content isn’t limited to what is on the disc you purchase at your local retailer. With broadband in most households, you can just log onto Xbox Live, PSN or whatever gaming service you use and download extra content and demos. Xbox 360 owners are currently at a disadvantage, as they have to pay around $50 a year for a Gold subscription which allows them to take their games online and download free demos. However, PS3 owners may start finding DLC a little harder to come by in the future.

According to a memo that was sent out to publishers, Sony will begin charging publishers a scaling fee for downloadable content. Specifically, they will have to pay 16 cents per gig downloaded for the first 60 days for free content (such as demos ) and indefinitely for all other paid content. Sure, that might not sound like a big deal, since Sony has to pay for their bandwidth, so they’re just passing on the buck. Unfortunately, that can lead to some big issues for publishers.

Lets say you’re a small publisher and you’ve got a new game coming out next month. You want to build up some hype so you decide to release a demo on the PSN store. Now lets say that your demo is around 1GB, and you take it to Sony to put on the PSN. It’s not a game that’s gotten a ton of coverage, so you’re expecting to get maybe 100,000 downloads . That’s $16,000 right there; a good chunk of money, but it’s in the budget. Now a month later you get your bill and find out that it’s been downloaded over a million times. While that normally is fantastic news, you now owe $160,000 in hosting fees to Sony.  Ouch.

Granted, that’s one of the really bad scenarios. When publishers release DLC that is only a few MB in size, the fees won’t be nearly as much. Either way, publishers aren’t happy about this, as one company put it “It’s a new thing we have to budget. It’s not cool. It sucks.” Another went as far as to say “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.”

Does this mean that PS3 owners might start seeing fewer demos in the future? It’s entirely possible. At least if it does happen, we’ll have a pretty good idea why.

VIA [ MTV Multiplayer ]