PS4

Sony Gets Compensation From Developers/Publishers if Player Base and Revenue Drop Too Low in Comparison to Other Platforms

The start of the Epic Games and Apple court battle has seen the leak of a number of documents that relate not just to those two companies but to many others as well. The latest document to leak is one from Sony Interactive Entertainment, explaining the PlayStation cross-platform revenue share policy. If a game’s PS4 player base drops too low in proportion to the revenue it generates in a month, Sony is entitled to compensation from the develop/publisher who signed the agreement.

Every month, developers are required to provide information so they comply with the Data Requirements set by Sony. This information includes the total revenue a game makes per month and the amount they make on PlayStation Network. This is then used to calculate the percentage of revenue they make via PSN, known as PSN Revenue Share. They also provide the percentage of the game’s players that play the game on PS4, called the PS4 Gameplay Share. If dividing the PSN Revenue Share by the PS4 Gameplay Share results in a figure lower than 0.85, the partner will “pay SIE a royalty to offset the reduction in revenue” for that month.

Each Sony territory – America, Europe, Japan, and Asia – all get their own monthly reports from the developer/publisher. If a royalty payment needs to be made, it has to be paid within 30 days. The good news is that payments only begin if the game makes more than $500,000 on PlayStation Network in a 12 month period. The bad news is that some of the bigger developers and publishers will likely cross this threshold within weeks of a game’s release.

The policy was drawn up before cross-play existed and was aimed to discourage developers from implementing cross-play. The unwritten argument behind the policy is that if a player spent their money on microtransactions on another console but then spent the majority of their time on PlayStation, Sony would lose out on that revenue. Of course, cross-play is now common practice and developers feel it is worth the cost to have a stronger player base. It’s also unknown whether any other platform holders have similar policies.

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