Policy Shift: Sony Now Charging Publishers Bandwidth Fee

feesPublishing sources have informed MTV Blog about Sony’s previously un-reported “PlayStation Network Bandwidth Fee,” which is forcing them to reconsider the release of free content on PSN.

Prior to October 1, 2008, videogame publishers who wanted to offer free downloadable content, such as demos, on the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 didn’t have to worry about receiving a bill from Sony or Microsoft. While the millions of downloads a popular demo or free add-on content can make gamers happy, they also rack up some heavy bandwidth costs. Rather than asking gamers to foot the bill, they’ve asked publishers to compensate them for these costs instead.

The problem, however, is that publishers already pay a licensing fee to get their games onto PSN and Xbox Live, and this simply taxes them in an unexpected way. This most likely hasn’t happened on Xbox Live due to the $50 annual fee that Gold Members pay for the service. PSN lacks any sort of user fee, thus the bandwidth fees become noticeable on Sony’s end. The official charge is 16 cents per Gigabyte for all content posted on PSN for the first 60 days. Afterwards, the bandwidth fee is dropped.