According to MTV Multiplayer, the PlayStation Network Bandwidth Fee Sony charges for content downloads could have publishers thinking twice about what downloadable content they offer on the PlayStation 3.
The PlayStation Network Bandwidth Fee, instituted on October 1st of last year, charges game publishers 16 cents per gigabyte of free and paid content download via the PlayStation Network, which presumably helps Sony cover the cost of the bandwidth. The fee only covers the first 60 days of downloads for free content, while paid content accrues fees until the content is removed from the service.
While 16 cents may not sound like much, as MTV Multiplayer points out, a one gigabyte demo downloaded one million times equals an additional $160,000 a publisher has to pay Sony, on top of licensing fees to get their games on the PlayStation 3 in the first place. Needless to say, publishers aren't too happy about the fee.
"It definitely makes us think about how we view the distribution of content related to our games when it is free for us to do it on the web, on Xbox Live, or any other way - including broadcast - than on Sony's platform," one publishing source said. "It's a new thing we have to budget. It's not cool. It sucks."
The whole story has been uncovered by the folks over at MTV Multiplayer, whose request for comment from Sony on the policy were declined, garnering only an assurance from Sony Computer Entertainment America spokesman Patrick Seybold that the quality of content on the PlayStation Network wouldn't be affected.
"Of course we work closely with (publishers) to bring their amazing content to our growing audience, and we are focused on ensuring we, and our publishing partners, have a viable platform for digital distribution. We foresee no change in the high quality or quantity of demos and games available on PSN."
So is this the cost of the PlayStation 3 maintaining free online as opposed to the Xbox 360's subscription fees, or a result of Sony's overall financial problems? As of right now there's no way to tell. All we can do, as MTV Multiplayer suggests, is keep an eye on what DLC shows up on the PlayStation Network, and hope publishers don't start holding things back in response to the unpopular new policy.