So, How Long Do Sony And Microsoft's Approvals Processes Take?

Illustration for article titled So, How Long Do Sony And Microsofts Approvals Processes Take?

You'll see it mentioned all the time when talk of game delays or patches comes up. "Oh, we're just waiting on the approvals process", or "we're just waiting for the patch to be certified, then we're good to go". Those kind of excuses/explanations sound great from the developers end, but to us? It's meaningless, because we have no idea how long those processes take. Or, we didn't. We have at least some idea now, thanks to the always-helpful "Ask Capcom" letters section the company runs every week. Capcom fanboy Ryu vs Ken asks "How long does the approval process usually take?". Seeing as he's asking about SSFIIHD, it's probable this explanation covers only downloadable games, but the answer is interesting nonetheless:

Depends on the territory and the time of year/how busy the submissions team is. It also depends on territories. SCEA and MS can turn things around in 5-7 days most times. SCEE is closer to two weeks but they have a system where you can see the progress and bugs as they're testing (which means, you can anticipate your pass or fail and potentially be ready to have a resubmission ready to go when you fail). That said, you generally want to get reports from SCEA and SCEE, fix all issues and resubmit to both at the same time so it's not always such a benefit easy. SCAsia is a bit easier on the submission side as their evaluation focuses mostly on the material submisisons, not on code approval (provided you have code approval from SCEA or SCEE).

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See? Interesting! Now the next time someone says "oh, the game will be available as soon as it's been approved", you've got a rough idea of how long you've got to wait. Ask Capcom Round-Up: Heavy on HD Remix [Capcom]

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DISCUSSION

By the way, the title is slightly incorrect. "Approval" and "certification" are two different things.

Approval (at least at Sony) is a multi-stage process during the development of a game which first-time publishers/developers must undergo. They may request feature changes or even deny your project alltogether during this time. This, by the way, is what was removed now for PS2 titles. Anyway, it only concerned publisher/developer combos that had no platform track record yet - so if the publisher or the developer has never done a PS3 project before, their project requires this multi-stage approval process. On their second process, this isn't necessary anymore.

Certification on the other hand is handled at the end of development, and is handled after the so-called "Master Disc Submission". These checks are of technical nature and after the submission process is handled with an "OK" by the platform holder, the title is ready to ship.