Here’s something odd: Return of the Obra Dinn developer Lucas Pope has revealed that Sony denied his request to discount the game on the PlayStation Store.
Pope, who is also the mastermind behind Papers, Please, mentioned this in response to a tweet from a fan who inquired about a discount.
Sony denied my request to discount the game on PS4.
— Lucas Pope (@dukope) October 16, 2020
Pope’s tweet got picked up by ResetEra, following which one user Akumatic did some digging and found similar statements from a number of other indie developers, one of whom said that Sony denied his request to offer a launch discount and his game sold very poorly on the PS4 compared to other platforms. That developer is Mike Rose, and the game in question is Nowhere Prophet.
Another tweet dated August 2019 from Ratalaika Games suggested that developers have to be invited to PS Store sales, and they can only discount their games when Sony allows them to. Interestingly, these invitations also vary by region.
Mike Hicks, the developer behind Pillar, wrote way back in 2015 that his game was available for a discounted price in Europe. However, he had to wait for Sony U.S. to invite him to a sale in order to offer the same discount to U.S. players.
“Today another French indie dev who has a game available on PS4 told me he couldn’t reach Sony Europe to get into the Winter sales,” wrote developer Fabrice Breton. “For small indies like us, this is a waste of money because 90 percent of our revenues come from sales.”
The examples are endless.
While it’s not unusual for platform owners to require approval before discounting games, it’s unclear what criteria Sony has in place for approving and denying such requests.