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Sony Charges Publishers For DLC Bandwidth Usage

Soulskill posted more than 5 years ago | from the nothing-if-not-consistent dept.

PlayStation (Games) 127

tlhIngan writes "Since October 1, 2008, Sony has been billing game publishers for DLC bandwidth usage. The game companies are forced to pay 16 cents per gigabyte downloaded by users (the 'Playstation Network Fee') regardless of whether the content is free or paid. The good news is that free content will only be billed during the initial 60 days it's up, but paid content will require fees forever. (No word on whether free content will mysteriously disappear after 60 days, though.) Given that some popular game demos run over a gigabyte by themselves, it could easily start costing publishers serious money (16 cents each for a few million downloads adds up). So far, it hasn't cut down the content available (or few publishers have started pulling content), but it's too soon to tell. It should be noted that Microsoft isn't charging publishers any money for content on Xbox Live, though some may argue that the 'gold premium content' is the same thing." Perhaps this is one of the reasons various publishers are pressuring Sony for a PS3 price cut.

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$0.16/GB is a pretty good price (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27277243)

$0.16/GB is what you'd pay to serve content at pretty huge volumes. If they published it on any other website, they'd probably pay more.

Re:$0.16/GB is a pretty good price (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27277251)

[citation needed]

Re:$0.16/GB is a pretty good price (4, Informative)

kyrre (197103) | more than 5 years ago | (#27277271)

Amazon S3 [amazon.com] is likely one of the cheaper providers of storage. They charge from 17 cents pr gigabyte of download. In addition they will costs 10 cents pr gigabyte. They also charge pr request.

Re:$0.16/GB is a pretty good price (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27278037)

"per" is one letter longer than "pr"

Re:$0.16/GB is a pretty good price (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27278171)

Nobody cares

Re:$0.16/GB is a pretty good price (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27278355)

I care

Re:$0.16/GB is a pretty good price (1)

nschubach (922175) | more than 5 years ago | (#27278955)

In case you haven't noticed, Anonymous Cowards are here for our entertainment. Unless you make your post funny, nothing you say matters.

Re:$0.16/GB is a pretty good price (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27280179)

+11 insightfully oblivious

Re:$0.16/GB is a pretty good price (1)

kyrre (197103) | more than 5 years ago | (#27280277)

Sorry about that. My native language is Norwegian and it is spelled 'pr' in every day writing. I do not know why that is. I suppose we the name Per is in conflict or something.

Re:$0.16/GB is a pretty good price (2, Informative)

GoRK (10018) | more than 5 years ago | (#27278753)

S3's transfer fees start at 17c to 10TB/mo. and decline to 10c at 150TB/mo. At the volumes we are talking about for game downloads at ~1-2GB each download you'd easily be at the top end.

And amazon isn't really that cheap either when it comes down to content delivery. It's nice because it's more or less on demand but if you can do a little bit of forward planning, a content delivery network like Akamai can give you better pricing.

Anyway the article is a stupid gripe about a nonexistent problem. Microsoft doesn't charge the publisher bandwidth fees because they choose to charge the customer. Furthermore anyone who thinks they can do it for "free" on their own website is under some serious delusions. A publisher unable to budget for this correctly is a bad publisher. I think perhaps they are just pissed because they can't provide the service and charge for the bandwidth themselves - I bet they would charge a lot more than 16c/GB.

Sony picked a price and terms that are reasonable and cost competitive in the market. There are some ways around it too - game downloads from PSN could contain only skeleton executable files which would download the rest of the data on first start from a publisher's own content servers. The fact that we're not seeing any of this is probably because it's just not that big of a deal. $200K in bandwidth fees to expose a million people or more to your game demo is money well spent. It comes out of the advertising budget and will give a better return than $200K spent on billboards, that's for sure.

Re:$0.16/GB is a pretty good price (1)

kyrre (197103) | more than 5 years ago | (#27280335)

There are some ways around it too - game downloads from PSN could contain only skeleton executable files which would download the rest of the data on first start from a publisher's own content servers

MGS Online does have a ingame update thing. It is very annoying. I this might be the reason. Konami is trying to save a buck. (The updater also feature a non working p2p option).

Re:$0.16/GB is a pretty good price (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27278791)

I'm all for efficient communication but is cutting out the "e" in "per" really faster/better? You could have written 10c/GB or $0.10/GB...

Re:$0.16/GB is a pretty good price (4, Insightful)

Doctor_Jest (688315) | more than 5 years ago | (#27277255)

Quite true... and since there's not a "gold subscriber" subsidy like there is on Live, I think it's reasonable. It's not unheard of, considering the installed base, to charge for this, but I'm sure since Sony's been taking it on the chin P.R. wise, this will be magnified more than it really needs to be.

To each his own. :) I wonder if anyone knows the going rates for Live content? I know the absurdly small file size probably nullifies that, as far as live arcade stuff goes, but what about demos? Does MS charge EA for demo space or is it simply rolled into the cost of your yearly gold membership? It's late... I'll google that tomorrow. :)

Re:$0.16/GB is a pretty good price (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27277291)

Microsoft, on the other hand, limits the amount of size of the content you are allowed to put up on their marketplace. Certain megabyte allotment, 150 MB at the moment, although it's been only 50MB for a very long time leading up until now. I know this doesn't apply to all types of content, but it does to downloadable games... ...

so who's stifling developers more? ...
yay for wii and ridiculously overpriced snes roms; although this isn't fair to sony: while their ps1 downloadable offerings are cheaper, they really don't seem to be expanding the library much at all, and there are so many ps1 games that fetch too high a price on ebay due to rarity that I'd like to play again.

Re:$0.16/GB is a pretty good price (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27277365)

The downloadable Watchmen game was over 1 GB.

Re:$0.16/GB is a pretty good price (2, Insightful)

Doctor_Jest (688315) | more than 5 years ago | (#27280447)

..And Microsoft had their "dilemma" about it, and temporarily (meaning they didn't want PSN to be the only place to get this game, even though it sucks) lifted their restriction. The game was $20 to boot. So they recouped any cash they would've lost in "overage" with the upped price, which I believe is the most expensive Arcade title to date. The previous was Braid at 1600 points, IIRC.

What I enjoy is the total lack of 400 point titles anymore. :) MS quietly killed the less profitable titles in favor of 800/1200/1600 point titles and no one seemed to notice, simply because it was so gradual. Oddly, I think that fits into the "passing the savings on to the user" model Live adopts. Community games don't really count, because they're a different breed of title, and the old arcade standbys originally came out at 400pts, with some topping 800. It's just my take on it, since I've no proof other than the missing 400pt titles.

Re:$0.16/GB is a pretty good price (1)

rdnetto (955205) | more than 5 years ago | (#27277519)

Only arcade games are limtied to 150 MB. Demos don't seem to have the same restriction, as they often run into the gigabytes.

Re:$0.16/GB is a pretty good price (1)

GreenTech11 (1471589) | more than 5 years ago | (#27277587)

Don't know where you got the 150mb limit from, Halo 3 map packs are closer to 500mb, and then there are demo trailers over 150mb

Re:$0.16/GB is a pretty good price (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27278647)

Halo 3 Map pack is not an arcade game. The limit of 150 MB is for Xbox Arcade games ONLY.

Re:$0.16/GB is a pretty good price (1)

KDR_11k (778916) | more than 5 years ago | (#27277697)

yay for wii and ridiculously overpriced snes roms

Those things aren't cheaper on flea markets either except flea markets have a terrible selection so you probably won't find what you were looking for anyway.

Re:$0.16/GB is a pretty good price (1)

adisakp (705706) | more than 5 years ago | (#27279177)

Parent is exactly right. Sony charges Publishers... while Microsoft charges the Users. Neither one are offering online services for *FREE*. It just depends who you think should pay for it.

Re:$0.16/GB is a pretty good price (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27279851)

In the end run it's always the user that pays.

Re:$0.16/GB is a pretty good price (1)

TrancePhreak (576593) | more than 5 years ago | (#27280411)

Silver users get demos for free and are not charged for use.

Re:$0.16/GB is a pretty good price (1)

BlueBlade (123303) | more than 5 years ago | (#27277499)

$0.16/GB is what you'd pay to serve content at pretty huge volumes. If they published it on any other website, they'd probably pay more.

Are you sure? I admit I'm not in the hosting business, but that cost seems extremely high to me. I don't even pay that much for my home connection ($29.95 with a 200GB quota, $10 per 100GB slice over). I would assume that, for those huge upstream pipes, the cost will be much lower (2 or 3 cents per GB maybe?). Maybe someone who works for a big content provider can correct my WAG?

I think Sony is shooting itself in the foot with those prices. Their online offering is already inferior to Microsoft's, penalizing companies for putting up content and making the PS3 more attractive seem counterproductive to me. I guess we'll see how it goes.

Re:$0.16/GB is a pretty good price (2, Insightful)

Shadow of Eternity (795165) | more than 5 years ago | (#27277667)

You forgot that they've already admitted that they make their entire system difficult and painful to use on purpose believing that it will extend it's life by making it more difficult to use it's full potential quickly.

Re:$0.16/GB is a pretty good price (0)

Florian Weimer (88405) | more than 5 years ago | (#27277701)

Are you sure? I admit I'm not in the hosting business, but that cost seems extremely high to me. I don't even pay that much for my home connection ($29.95 with a 200GB quota, $10 per 100GB slice over). I would assume that, for those huge upstream pipes, the cost will be much lower (2 or 3 cents per GB maybe?).

If I understand the situation correctly, Sony's offer includes content distribution. Presumably, users in Europe, the U.S. and Asia all have adequate bandwidth when downloading it. When you buy mere transit at one place in the world, you may get prices around $.03 (although this is not particularly likely, at least at most places), but it's likely that some of your users have trouble reaching you at decent bandwidths. And you still have to deal with all the servers on your own (and multiple connections for redundancy etc.).

Re:$0.16/GB is a pretty good price (0)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 5 years ago | (#27278197)

>>>that cost seems extremely high to m

Sony is losing massive amounts of money, because they were once the #1 console seller (over 200 million PS1 and PS2s sold) and now they are a distant 3rd place with the PS3.* That wasn't part of their original plan when they developed the PS3 so they find themselves deep in debt. Sony is probably charging more than they need to charge for upstream rates, because they're trying to earn extra dollars. It's what I do on ebay - offset losses on the sale by earning profit on the Shipping/handling rate. Same deal with Sony.

*
* To put that in perspective, here are some other 3rd place consoles from previous generations: Dreamcast (2000-2005), Saturn (1995-99), Atari Jaguar (1990-95 era), Atari 7800 ProSystem (1985-90). The dates are approximate.

Re:$0.16/GB is a pretty good price (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27278623)

I'm in the hosting business, I can tell you that 0.16/GB is a very good price.

Most plans are over-subscribed. For example, I offer 80GB/mo transfer (no rollover) and I charge $100/year. However I charge $0.50/GB for overage. When a customer wants lots of bandwidth I usually try to steer them somewhere else.

One guy wanted to host his video on my server instead of putting it on youtube, I canceled his account and refunded his money.

Re:$0.16/GB is a pretty good price (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27277549)

Another point is that I believe publisher's are free to find alternative hosting solutions or host it themself (which I think is what EA does with most of its content)

Re:$0.16/GB is a pretty good price (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27277907)

I agree, it is a decent price for bandwidth, hell i expected higher to be perfectly honest.

In a way, it also makes developers think twice when putting out things of large size.
Optimize as much as possible.
Quite funny, the irony that is, they pretty much made Blu-ray, current largest optical discs in the market...

Platform owner (1)

janwedekind (778872) | more than 5 years ago | (#27278107)

To me it sounds like they are using their status as a platform owner. It's like your landlord propping up the rent. Sure you can move out if you think it's unfair. But it will take time to pay off because of the high short-term cost of moving.
It seems like every week another "App Store" is opening. They are not selling service, they are selling visibility.

Re:$0.16/GB is a pretty good price (1)

billcopc (196330) | more than 5 years ago | (#27278483)

$0.16/GB is what an American would pay to serve content at pretty huge volumes.

European and Asian bandwidth is much more sanely priced. I'm small peas and my costs are $0.04/GB for low volume, and around $0.007 for high volume (yes, 7 tenths of a cent).

Yet another reason to thank internet porn. If porn hosting still cost $0.16/GB, it would be dead by now.

Re:$0.16/GB is a pretty good price (1)

karim113 (1505917) | more than 5 years ago | (#27278663)

Are we sure it's $0.16/GB and not 0.16c/GB? After all, Sony and Verizon do a lot of business together.

Re:$0.16/GB is a pretty good price (1)

tzhuge (1031302) | more than 5 years ago | (#27279549)

I would agree that the amount is small enough that it doesn't really matter at the end of the day. It does complicate the business case for demos and free content though, but I don't think it's enough of a cost to tip decisions one way or the other.

The bigger problem is the PR. This is one more move that re-enforces the impression that Sony has shifted to mitigating their losses for this console generation. Dropping BC (seemingly less value in newer SKUs), being slow to cut the price, and now this. Each move by itself doesn't matter much, but the cumulative effect has significantly soured the prospect of buying a PS3 for many people (whether justified or not is a bit of a moot point). Personally, were it not for the fact that the MGS4 80 gig was so limited, I would have a PS3 by now.

Re:$0.16/GB is a pretty good price (1)

TrancePhreak (576593) | more than 5 years ago | (#27280507)

A 1GB demo downloaded 1 million times costs $160K. That is big money in the game industry. There are over 20 million PS3's out there. If they all decided to download a demo, it could bankrupt the majority of the companies out there.

I support this (4, Interesting)

electrosoccertux (874415) | more than 5 years ago | (#27277261)

Hopefully this will keep publishers from shipping broken/empty games with plans of patching them up later (*cough* UT3 *cough*); and we could go back to actually getting a working game on the disk, not a game in need of a patch and more content.

Re:I support this (5, Insightful)

Dutch Gun (899105) | more than 5 years ago | (#27277385)

Hopefully this will keep publishers from shipping broken/empty games with plans of patching them up later (*cough* UT3 *cough*); and we could go back to actually getting a working game on the disk, not a game in need of a patch and more content.

Think about the math a bit. It's not exactly a deal-breaker to patch a game at $.16 per GB. That's only 16 cents out of their bottom line per game if they had to send a massive 1GB patch down to each user. Still, it's hard to say if this means we'll be less likely to see large, free demos to download on the PS3 in the future. It's probably more likely that publishers will still do this, but just factor this cost into their advertising budgets.

Still, it just doesn't strike me as the wisest of decisions to alienate publishers when your console isn't exactly leading the pack. Publishers might be just slightly less inclined to publish on their platform in the first place, and Sony can't really afford to lose too much ground at the moment.

Re:I support this (5, Insightful)

c1t1z3nk41n3 (1112059) | more than 5 years ago | (#27277395)

Maybe I'm too cynical but I find it more likely at this point that they'll just take the money and run. They already have your money after all, why pay for patches?

Re:I support this (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27277585)

Multiplayer games. Without extended support from a ocmmunity via word of mouth, games with heavy MP (Halo 3, Call of Duty 4, etc.) won't continue to sell.

Re:I support this (2, Insightful)

KDR_11k (778916) | more than 5 years ago | (#27277707)

Most companies make more than one game and usually these games are aimed at the same userbase. Of course a shovelware publisher would probably hope you'd just forget his name so the next time you come across one of his games you won't put it back the moment you see the name but most of the big name publishers and developers have reputations that directly affect their sales. Get a reputation for broken and unpatched games and you'll sell less of them (EA had to downsize over massive losses so don't point at them claiming "it works for them"), get a reputation for polished games and good patching and you get more sales (see Blizzard and Valve).

Re:I support this (1)

jombeewoof (1107009) | more than 5 years ago | (#27278329)

...get a reputation for polished games and good patching and you get more sales (see Blizzard and Valve).

I think of Bethesda when I see this post. Great games, diversity of gameplay and almost limitless freedom.... if you wait till the third major patch.

I'll still buy it the first week, but I know it will be broken for 6 months.

Re:I support this (1)

master811 (874700) | more than 5 years ago | (#27277995)

Patching is still free, this only applies to demos downloaded via the PSN store (which patching isn't, its done in-game.)

Re:I support this (1)

FLEABttn (1466747) | more than 5 years ago | (#27277411)

Given the complexity of games today, it would likely mean the same game being shipped, sans patches that fix bugs later on. UT3 isn't some game from 15 years ago; the code base I'm sure is nowhere comparable, so to be quite honest, bug free games these days aren't a realistic expectation.

Re:I support this (1)

dropzonetoe (1167883) | more than 5 years ago | (#27278215)

so to be quite honest, bug free games these days aren't a realistic expectation.

I would have to disagree with that statement. On a PC yes, but on a closed system no. It's not like they have to facter in different hardware set-ups. They know what specs they are programming it for, it should come out at least 99% bug free. 99% as massive playing of any game will find some random bug or another down the line. There is no reason for a console game to be crippled by major flaws from the start.

99% bug-free isn't so hot. (1)

tomhudson (43916) | more than 5 years ago | (#27278611)

it should come out at least 99% bug free

A game (or any significant code) that's 99% bug-free is an absolute disaster, totally unusable. It's not like a spelling or grammar mistake, where the end-user can still figure out what was meant ...

Then there's the whole issue of code that's correct, but still doesn't work the way the end-user expects. While not a software bug, it's certainly not a "feature."

99.99% correct before shipping is more reasonable, and certainly achievable.

Re:I support this (2, Insightful)

Wellington Grey (942717) | more than 5 years ago | (#27277945)

Hopefully this will keep publishers from shipping broken/empty games with plans of patching them up later (*cough* UT3 *cough*); and we could go back to actually getting a working game on the disk, not a game in need of a patch and more content.

Don't worry, they'll just charge you for the patches.

Re:I support this (1)

master811 (874700) | more than 5 years ago | (#27277989)

FYI, patching is NOT done through the PSN store, this ONLY applies to Demos. Patching is done via a separate system and is automatic when you start the game, so this $.16 per GB doesn't apply here.
 
In other words patching is still free.

Re:I support this (1)

RyoShin (610051) | more than 5 years ago | (#27279451)

I'm more worried that it will prop up a trend that already happens: include "extra" content on the game, but don't allow a player to access it until they've paid for the "extra" content.

The download is thus a mere MB, or something likewise intangibly small, so the publisher gets their cake and eats it, too.

So what's wrong with this? (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27277283)

at 16 cents per gigabyte, with most content, paid or otherwise, being a lot less in size than that - I see nothing wrong. If you're giving out a few gigs worth of content, chances are you're doing it for money or you're going to get the money back in some way.

All the free content that was up before is still up now.

Yes I own a PS3. Sometimes I play online a lot, sometimes i dont touch the system for months, sometimes its moderate usage. It's more than paid itself off when compared to a $50 a year live fee.

And yes, I would definitely argue that xbox live subscriber is the same thing...

I mean, how is it not? Very few users are going to download over $50 worth of bandwidth content a year at this measure =\, on any system.

A NOTE:
-this "content" is limited to the store only. Game updates are not done through sony in any way. They are still free. Online gaming on the ps3 has been and still is free of bandwidth charges - due to the fact that usually the games run on publishers' servers, not on sony's.

Re:So what's wrong with this? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27277925)

There's also something they're conveniently missing. How much would it cost them to reach 20 million people with a demo? Motorstorm sold purely from its demo, the game, like #2, was a let down. Haze lost sales because of the demo, but world got around the games was pathetic pretty quick. So we have opposites using the same advertising vector.

Re:So what's wrong with this? (1)

nschubach (922175) | more than 5 years ago | (#27278987)

Motorstorm sold purely from its demo, the game, like #2, was a let down.

Just curious here... what about ANY racing game isn't a let down? There's a certain breed of people that pay for pure racing games. There's also a breed of people that pay for Need for Speed like customizable car racing games. What were you expecting from a pure off road race game?

Re:So what's wrong with this? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27278711)

Game updates and online gaming aren't free of bandwidth charges, it's just that the charges are paid to an ISP instead of to Sony.

Utter non-story.

Re:So what's wrong with this? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27279679)

A NOTE:
-this "content" is limited to the store only. Game updates are not done through sony in any way. They are still free. Online gaming on the ps3 has been and still is free of bandwidth charges - due to the fact that usually the games run on publishers' servers, not on sony's.

Uhhhh what? The game updates go through Sony. There was a brief period at the beginning where publishers had to handle patching themselves, but it's all Sony now.

Re:So what's wrong with this? (1)

steeviant (677315) | more than 5 years ago | (#27280073)

well done Anonymous Coward you hit the nail on the head.
I own both a PS3 and an Xbox360 (lucky me). I do not live in the USA and US$50 is a lot of my local money just for online content. So I have never paid for Live Gold membership - bad luck for any developers marketing there wares for Xbox360. As for Sony charging the game developers for marketing - better them than the poor end user.

Finally - I have owned a PC for many years and I have never had to pay any internet subscription charges just to play games online - ever heard of Diablo2? (and no I have never played MMORPG like Warcraft 3 as I believe that paying for a game and then having to pay even more just to play it is obscene - no doubt you Americans think it is OK for companies to gouge their customers for as much money as possible). I have also downloaded many demos for the PC - never had to pay a subscription for it. I bet the game developers who market PC games on the net have to pay for download/storage and it hasn't bothered them for years. I already have to pay my local ISP to connect and download from the internet, why should I pay Microsoft just to use play games over the net on my Xbox360?

Start=Pause, DLC $5.99=Unpause. (2, Insightful)

Jackie_Chan_Fan (730745) | more than 5 years ago | (#27277345)

DLC and micro transactions are quickly becoming anoying. Now developers are beginning to simply give you less for more, and charge you later for the things they left out.

The worst is when the content is actually on the actual game disc, but it needs to be unlocked via online purchase.

Its only going to get worse.

Re:Start=Pause, DLC $5.99=Unpause. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27277379)

they're not exactly "micro" either with what they are charging. 15-40 cents for a virtual object, people will probably buy without hesistation (assuming there is a decent system to handle these small purchases), start charging more then the price of a song for something you probably don't care too much about and watch purchases drop dramatically.

but yeah, online purchases should only be used for extra content that DOESN'T affect gameplay (astmosphere counts) yet it seems like some developers want to screw themselves over.

Re:Start=Pause, DLC $5.99=Unpause. (1)

KDR_11k (778916) | more than 5 years ago | (#27277711)

but yeah, online purchases should only be used for extra content that DOESN'T affect gameplay (astmosphere counts) yet it seems like some developers want to screw themselves over.

Dunno, I think selling additional levels (well, and any other main content) for a game does make sense but only if those levels weren't a part of the game originally and just removed so you'd have to pay money for them.

Re:Start=Pause, DLC $5.99=Unpause. (1)

brendank310 (915634) | more than 5 years ago | (#27279253)

Last night I purchased the new Call of Duty map pack, practically solely for the new zombie level. At $8, it was pretty pricey, but I know we'll play it enough to justify it. But you can't just get $8 worth of Microsoft points, you have to get $12.50. Bullshit.

Untenable (3, Informative)

Anenome (1250374) | more than 5 years ago | (#27277363)

Developers do not appreciate this at all. Live is more successful, both from a consumer and developer point of view. Not all consumers want to play online at all, so they don't need to pay for it. And shifting the burden to developers, to put them in a position where the more popular their game is the more money it costs them is not a good position at all.

How is that "Untenable" (2, Insightful)

SuperKendall (25149) | more than 5 years ago | (#27277377)

And shifting the burden to developers, to put them in a position where the more popular their game is the more money it costs them is not a good position at all.

But the more popular it is, the more copies they will sell as well. Where did that fit into your equation?

You seem to think a developer would be going "dammit, my game is too popular, and the demos that cost my $0.20 are hardly offset by the $60.00 sale price that millions are forking over. Pull the plug on my overly successful game!"

Shifting the burden to content providers is exactly where the rest of the world shifts the burden to in other areas of media, so why is this so alien for game developers too?

Re:How is that "Untenable" (1)

Computershack (1143409) | more than 5 years ago | (#27277687)

You seem to think a developer would be going "dammit, my game is too popular, and the demos that cost my $0.20 are hardly offset by the $60.00 sale price that millions are forking over.

There speaks someone with absolutley no frakking clue about the retail chain. The developer sees maybe 25%-30% of that at best. Now factor in the development cost. COD4 cost an estimated $20,000,000 to develop and market. Bearing in mind the developer gets nothing for second hand sales, it needs to shift a million units just to break even on that one game. If you've got several games you've released which have all cost $20m each and some don't sell a million copies, then the more successful ones need to take up the losses of the unsuccessful ones so COD4 could have actually needed to make a couple of million sales for the company to break even as a whole.

Re:How is that "Untenable" (1)

nschubach (922175) | more than 5 years ago | (#27279021)

There speaks someone with absolutley no frakking clue about the retail chain. The developer sees maybe 25%-30% of that at best.

Sounds like you might not be too sure yourself... maybe 25-30%? Was that a guess?

Re:How is that "Untenable" (1)

KDR_11k (778916) | more than 5 years ago | (#27277721)

Depends on how many demo downloads turn into sales and how many of those sales were caused by the demo. I know more demos have pushed me away from a game than pulled towards it and sometimes it's just because I felt insulted by the demo's restrictions (like ending after 20-30 seconds of game time like the arcade remakes on XBLA).

Re:Untenable (1)

wshwe (687657) | more than 5 years ago | (#27277429)

Not all gamers have high speed Internet access, especially in today' economy.

not all that bad (4, Insightful)

timmarhy (659436) | more than 5 years ago | (#27277435)

it doesn't look anymore expensive than paying for hosting else where to serve your files, and it's a damn sight better than expecting us to pay for it. i sense this story is an attempt at the usual /. sony hate nonense

Re:not all that bad (0, Troll)

dougisfunny (1200171) | more than 5 years ago | (#27277523)

I pay $10 a month for 2.5 terabytes of transfer. Thats about .4 cents per gigabyte.

Re:not all that bad (1)

scuba0 (950343) | more than 5 years ago | (#27277589)

And then servers, software and people to monitor and serve it?

Re:not all that bad (0, Troll)

dougisfunny (1200171) | more than 5 years ago | (#27277615)

Thats what I'm paying $10 a month for.

Re:not all that bad (1)

scuba0 (950343) | more than 5 years ago | (#27277669)

So you have a server where you can decide delivery method of the download and limit to only PS3s for $10?

And how about guarantee of uptime, should you use the same servers in US, EU and Asia?

Re:not all that bad (0, Troll)

dougisfunny (1200171) | more than 5 years ago | (#27277719)

Are you intentionally obtuse?

Sony isn't pushing files down onto the PS3s, the PS3s are requesting the files from a server and downloading them. What does the delivery method matter? Do you want UPS overnight or something? Its a file download, at its most complicated a secured session file download.

I'm just pointing out that as a comparison simple web hosting goes for about .4 cents per gigabyte, 40 times less than what Sony is charging.

Re:not all that bad (1)

totally bogus dude (1040246) | more than 5 years ago | (#27277839)

I think Sony are providing a content distribution network as well, which gives far higher availability and performance than just having a server somewhere does. There's also the cost of providing storage for that data (on all the servers in the CDN that end up mirroring the content), as well as a means for securely uploading it to the servers and making it appear in the store or however the PS3 works. I expect a good chunk of the cost is to cover the development and maintenance needs of the portal.

Re:not all that bad (1)

scuba0 (950343) | more than 5 years ago | (#27277883)

It is not just to put the files on an FTP and expect everything to work. It's ridiculous you'd even think it's that easy.
  • All PS3s needs to find the files.
  • An EU system might not have access to a US file.
  • Distributing using mirrors/different locations.
  • Storage and uptime.
  • The Playstation Store.
  • Not allowing a non PS3 system to download files.
  • Statistics so they can charge the correct amount and keep track of popularity.

I'd like to see how you get that and 2,5 GB transfer per month! On top of all this the most expensive is always personnel, if you do stuff yourself the cost is zero. Corporations however must always pay a salary, regardless if it is Sony or the distributor/producer who does.

Re:not all that bad (3, Informative)

Kalriath (849904) | more than 5 years ago | (#27277793)

Sounds like Dreamhost or some other equally terrifying overseller.

You do realise that your host hasn't actually got capacity to deliver you 2.5 terabytes right? If you actually managed to transfer that, they'd mysteriously find some way to terminate your account, because they count on you buying "2.5 terabytes" and using 250 megabytes. If everyone actually used 2.5 terabytes, the host would be bankrupted by the end of month invoice from their upstream provider.

Re:not all that bad (1)

EvilIdler (21087) | more than 5 years ago | (#27279057)

Yeah, hosting costs.

But is it "the usual Sony hate"? It seems one group of people hate Sony, another Microsoft, a third group hates Apple here on this site. There are also RedHat haters, Debian haters and so on. But they're *not the same people*. Personally, I hate everything and tolerate whatever is most fun :)

Re:not all that bad (1)

Repossessed (1117929) | more than 5 years ago | (#27280003)

I, personally, hate Microsoft *and* Apple thankyou very much (I forgave Sony, since they haven't done anything really horrible outside the music division, an dI also hate Amazon, so I need Son for an ebook reader).

Goodbye PS3, it was nice knowing you. (0, Troll)

Computershack (1143409) | more than 5 years ago | (#27277673)

Assuming this is true, I think it'll be the end for the PS3. The Xbox360 and Wii have far higher market penetration and are far easier to develop for. If you're now going to start charging software companies for DLC, which will included demos, then it's epic fail - it's not as if the PSN was any good to begin with from a user POV.

When times are tight, software developers will look to cut costs. If that means not developing on the one with the lowest market share which also happens to be the most difficult , and soon to be the most expensive content wise, they'll just dump it. If they do continue to release games on it, the PS3 version will always be the "lame duck" one as they'll just not bother releasing any new content for it. The PS3 could quite simply end up being a Japan only market.

Goodbye Hater (1)

SuperKendall (25149) | more than 5 years ago | (#27277699)

Assuming this is true, I think it'll be the end for the PS3.

Without even reading beyond the summary, I see it's been true since October 2008. With nothing gone from the store.

Sony is still here, much as the haters would like them to go.

When times are tight, software developers will look to cut costs.

So will gamers, which is why it's nice to own a PS3 and not pay for any online service for the sporadic multiplayer I engage in.

I have nothing against the 360 mind you (well actually I don't want to pay for Live which I would only use irregularly), but Sony is just taking a different tactic here and I think it's just as good an idea.

Re:Goodbye Hater (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27277819)

Well if you HAD read the article youd know that the COD: World at War demo IS missing from the PSN. Obviously the publisher denied comment, but it makes you wonder if a large demo like that was left off the network due to cost.

Not sure if this is best for the consumer (1)

ddrichardson (869910) | more than 5 years ago | (#27277739)

What I find with PSN is that a lot of games, big titles too (Call of Duty 4 and 5 for example) have some horrendous bugs that ruin online play - such as the (now patched) CoD5 Castle level where you could get under the play area and kill but not be killed.

If Sony pays the bills with content providers and not from its customers subscriptions then there isn't the direct incentive to put pressure on developers to fix games quickly that there would be if the customer base withdrew funding.

They also seem to care less about there customers online experience - PSN really needs the ability to kick some players - I'm all for freedom of speech but I'm sure it doesn't include the right to whistle in your headset or sit right in front of the TV creating the feedback loop from hell. I'd pay for that.

Re:Not sure if this is best for the consumer (1)

YesIAmAScript (886271) | more than 5 years ago | (#27279731)

As mentioned elsewhere, this fee doesn't apply to patches. And it isn't Sony who put bugs in CoD5, it was Activison/Treyarch. Why do you blame Sony for buggy 3rd party games?

In every online game I've played on PSN and Live you can mute players if they are causing feedback or saying stupid stuff. It's not a function of PSN (or Live), and it's done differently in each game. Kicking players depends on the game, most games won't let you kick people on Live or or PSN.

Re:Not sure if this is best for the consumer (1)

ddrichardson (869910) | more than 5 years ago | (#27280491)

I'm not blaming Sony and I didn't say I was. I said that if PSN was subscriber funded it would encourage Sony to put pressure on developers to fix bugs IF PSN started losing subscribers.

You can only mute in game, not in the waiting areas.

I hate consoles. (-1, Troll)

Tei (520358) | more than 5 years ago | (#27277821)

Another reason to not use consoles. Why would people use a locked down hardware withouth command line, a poor control system (pad) , horrible visualization device (a fucking TV), etc... Theres also the thing the gameplay of console games is like 20 years older than on the PC. These guys are still using Quick Time Events like in dragons lair, man. THESE GUYS ARE STILL USING SAVE POINTS!!!.. man, is gameplay from 1994.

Re:I hate consoles. (1)

Winckle (870180) | more than 5 years ago | (#27278017)

Wisdom.

Because consoles are twice as cheap (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 5 years ago | (#27278077)

Why would people use a locked down hardware withouth command line, a poor control system (pad) , horrible visualization device (a fucking TV), etc

Because they don't want to have to spend $2,400 to set up a four-seat LAN and then buy four copies of each game. A console + HDTV + three spare controllers, by comparison, runs about half that, and one copy of a $60 console game is cheaper than four copies of a $30 PC game.

man, is gameplay from 1994.

Yet PC users go to romnation.net and pirate games from 1988.

Re:Because consoles are twice as cheap (1)

Computershack (1143409) | more than 5 years ago | (#27278511)

I tihnk you'll find Space Invaders is from the 1970's.

ATT charges $503.31648 per GB over mobile (1)

cavehobbit (652751) | more than 5 years ago | (#27277975)

If you did this on one of ATT's data plans, like Blackberry, I-Phone, PDA, etc, it costs $0.00048/KB. Sounds cheap till you multiply it out.

Guess I won't be using Netflicks over it, never mind games.

DLC = "Downloadable Content" (1)

MobyDisk (75490) | more than 5 years ago | (#27278021)

I didn't think that needed an acronym.

Re:DLC = "Downloadable Content" (1)

xplenumx (703804) | more than 5 years ago | (#27278191)

Thank you. When I saw DLC, I kept reading it as "Dynamin Light Chain", which I know is wrong for this site (and makes no sense for Sony). As Google is my friend, I googled DLC and saw "Democratic Leadership Council", "Digital Learning Commons", "Digital Library of the Commons", among others - but no "Downloadable Content". Google "Sony DLC", and you get a bunch of hardware. So I read the article - it took me a few seconds to realize that what DLC meant, as I wasn't thinking to look in the middle of a word for the meaning of "L". I don't mind acronyms in the title, as long as they're spelled out in the summary.

Re:DLC = "Downloadable Content" (1)

Lproven (6030) | more than 5 years ago | (#27278761)

DLC is already a standard IT industry term, and for actual knowledgeable people who know about computing -- as opposed to semi-literate games weenies -- it means Data Link Control [wikipedia.org] , which is a network protocol used by IBM SNA mainframes and peripherals and HP LaserJet printers, JetDirect print servers and other network-attached printers. It is also a layer in the OSI 7-layer network model.

What it doesn't mean is "downloadable content", because "download" is a single word.

So whoever came up with this needs a slap.

Re:DLC = "Downloadable Content" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27280005)

You do realize that acronyms usually have 20 different meanings. In IT you would think it means Data Link Control if you are a technician. As a gamer, DLC means something entirely different. Different field, different name. The acronym was created for the gamer market segment, not IT professionals. The shear majority of gamers will not be confused with the meaning of DLC since very few of them have any idea what the Data Link Control service is. If you look here http://www.acronymfinder.com/Information-Technology/DLC.html [acronymfinder.com] you will see there are at least 15 different meanings for the acronym in the IT field alone.

Re:DLC = "Downloadable Content" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27278513)

Console fanboys need an acronym for everything.

Re:DLC = "Downloadable Content" (1)

Rich Klein (699591) | more than 5 years ago | (#27279193)

Thank you for that!

1 GB Demo!? (0)

Midnight Thunder (17205) | more than 5 years ago | (#27278151)

1 GB for a demo is huge. Sure, it probably represents a smaller percentage of the release game than it used to, but still.

$0.16 for 200 000 downloads works out to be $32000, so for a large publisher this is probably just a dip in the ocean when it comes to their marketing budget. For a smaller company the cost might hurt a bit more. Whether this means smaller demos or a change in approach by the publishers it is hard to tell.

Part of the reason Sony is doing this, is probably because this is what they are being charged and they are simply passing the fee on to the publishers.

Re:1 GB Demo!? (1)

Computershack (1143409) | more than 5 years ago | (#27278515)

1 GB for a demo is huge.

Actually it's about the norm. On Killzone 2, it gives you about 5 minutes gameplay.

60 days (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27278177)

(No word on whether free content will mysteriously disappear after 60 days, though.)

I think it's pretty clear that the submitter doesn't have a PS3 (and is likely an xbox fanboy), otherwise he would've known that content stays up after 60 days. Old demos from when the PS3 launched (which was a little more than 60 days ago, IIRC), are still available for download.

It bogles the mind why (1)

TheSimkin (639033) | more than 5 years ago | (#27278723)

It bogles the mind why they don't use torrents. They could even set it up so your ps3 turns on at some time of the night. And downloads the "latest content" over torrents using something like an rss feed. eliminating the need to wait when using the store (for demos). Costs nothing in terms of bandwith. With the number of ps3s sold, and a rather small set of data to distribute (compared to all the data that torrents generate currently), this would be very fast. It just seems like a no brainer.

Re:It bogles the mind why (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27278981)

Hell f*uck no.

Not with AT&T's incredibly low caps on their DSL (20GB-80GB), Comcast's caps (250GB), and Charter's (100GB-250GB)...

Not so free after all? (1)

dr.banes (823348) | more than 5 years ago | (#27279983)

It seems that Sony's service is not so free after all. I mean someone is getting shafted for bandwith fees and in this case it's the publishers. So while we get the demos for free you can bet that it will find a way back to the consumer somehow. Maybe we'll start seeing games for $64.99 to cover the costs of development or they'll just scale back demos and other dlc. At the end of the day nothing is really "free".

Polygons vs MPEG for transmitting movies (2, Funny)

Vegan Pagan (251984) | more than 5 years ago | (#27280057)

This raises a question I've had for a long time: If the consumer has a gaming PC or game console, does it take less bandwidth to send them a CG movie in polygon form or in MPEG/H.264 form? GTA4 on Xbox 360 is an enormous game that fits into 7 GB. If you made a 720P 60FPS H.264 movie of a fairly thorough playthrough of GTA4 including cutscenes, how many GB would that be? If TV/movie studios want to send an entire TV series in HD to customers over the internet, they might save a lot of bandwidth fees if they could send it as polygons instead of MPEG. Of course, the TV series could only be created by artists at computer desks, not by actors on sets, so bandwidth capping would give game companies an advantage over Hollywood on the internet. I doubt even Pixar or Dreamworks would send their movies as game console-ready polygons because they're used to having nearly infinite memory and rendering time.

Ultimately, Hollywood will have to do some major lobbying and investing with the telecoms so that every home can affordably stream real HD video over the internet.

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