A leaked memo yesterday revealed that Sony expects to have its PlayStation store back online on or around May 24 (next Tuesday). The company also revealed its planned release schedule, but some publishing partners are not happy about it at all.
According to an Edge report, the news is getting mixed reactions from partners. The biggest complaint is the doubled up weekly release schedule. Developers feel that their games will be buried under a deluge of new content and quickly forgotten as even more content is piled on top in the weeks to follow.
"As a developer, I feel very sorry for those teams that did try to release their titles during the PSN outage window," said one developer, who wished to remain anonymous. "Beyond that, I feel sorry for those that are attempting to launch games in the days following the outage, as there will likely be such a backlog of traffic that it may be hard to be noticed in the flurry of ‘get everything back up and running’."
"The absence of PSN has slowed the development of online functionality for games that rely on PSN, because you can’t test your PSN-dependent features without it," he adds. "My project was fortunate enough to have robust offline / LAN support that allowed us to test core gameplay features without online access, despite the outage. We’re still on target for our original release date as a result, although we’re very glad our original release date didn’t fall within the PSN outage window!"
Ilari Kuittinen, CEO of Outland and Dead Nation developer Housemarque, is concerned about the damage that has been done to consumer trust and confidence on the platform and what affect free titles (that Sony is giving away as part of its "Welcome Back" program) might have on games that cost money.
"This is basically between Ubisoft and Sony and I haven’t been part of this discussion," Kuittinen tells Edge. "My biggest concern is whether people will come back to use the system and browse the PlayStation Store. On top of that, the second issue is that everyone now gets games for free (including our Dead Nation and Super Stardust HD), so people might just play the free games for a while. By the time they are ready to buy something, Outland is maybe old news."
Seed Studios hopes that the depth of its real time strategy title Under Siege will help it stand out among the myriad of new releases, and highlights Sony’s flexibility during the release period.
"We are all concerned with the overall situation but we think that despite all the delays and the multiple releases Under Siege will still stand out on its own," producer Filipe Pina tells Edge. "This is a game about continuity and building a community; while other games focus on sales for the first weeks we focus on the longer run with support for users with more content and continuous updates.
"We did not build A game to put it on sale and then turn its back on it after release and move on, we want to take care of our game as much as possible. Sony they was very open to discuss with us what we wanted to do with Under Siege and publishing it on the store."
On the bright side, this accelerated release schedule will only last two weeks. Still, after losing thousands of dollars in sales due to network downtime, any more pain is too much to near for many publishing partners.