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Sony's Pub Fund has fixed budget cap, approval process

Sony will match indie development funds for exclusivity, though there are limitations

GamesIndustry.biz has received further information on Sony’s Pub Fund program for indie game developers, including confirmation of a budget cap and a clarification on its approval process.

During March’s Game Developers Conference, Sony development relations manager Chris Eden announced the Pub Fund, a program that sees Sony matching the development budget and guaranteeing royalties for a self-published games in exchange for PlayStation Network exclusivity.

"It's all very well for us as platform holders to say 'put all your money into PlayStation Network, it's a fantastic idea', but are we prepared to put or money where our mouth is? The answer is yes," Eden said at the time.

"We're looking for a number of great games, and in return for exclusivity we'll match your development budget with guaranteed royalties."

"The purpose of the Pub Fund is to fund publishing rather than development," clarified Rob Dyer, senior VP of publisher relations for Sony, speaking exclusively to GamesIndustry.biz. "Its purpose is to stimulate self-publishing among those who can’t or don’t have access to disc-based publishing, which enables them to be more successful."

Though he would not disclose an exact figure, Dyer confirmed that the Pub Fund does have a fixed budget cap, as well as an approval process. Additionally, Dyer revealed that games may be approved for the Pub Fund at the initial proposal and idea stage, without the developer necessarily having to submit playable code.

"The developer will need to submit a request form that details their idea for the game, which is then vetted and reviewed by an internal SCEA board," explained Dyer. "If the SCEA board decides to move forward with a developer request, they then contact the developer to discuss in more detail and identify next steps."

Last year, Sony's David Reeves said that publisher exclusivity was "a thing of the past," and that working directly with developers was a more effective way of obtaining exclusive third-party titles.

When asked if the Pub Fund was an extension of this rationale, and a way to bypass third-party exclusivity, Dyer said only that "SCEA has solid relationships with the publisher community and recognises that publishers are vital to the viability of the PS3 platform. While exclusive titles aren’t as prevalent today as in previous generations, exclusive content is still important and relevant for consumers."

While Burn Zombie Burn is the only announced title taking advantage of the Pub Fund, Dyer confirmed that other Pub Fund titles are currently in development.

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