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Developers Say PSN Outage Affecting Sales, But Remain Hopeful

In the wake of multi-day PlayStation Network issues, PopCap, Creat and Beatshapers tell Gamasutra the network outage has negatively affected sales, but they remain hopeful for a solution soon.
In the wake of ongoing PlayStation Network issues that have lasted several days, game developers tell Gamasutra that the outage has negatively impacted sales, but they remain hopeful for a solution soon. "Well, the outage has certainly affected our sales but we are supportive of Sony and hopeful that this extended maintenance will lead to a more secure network altogether," Creat Studios marketing and PR coordinator Bill Fryer tells Gamasutra. Creat Studios' Test Yourself was on the PlayStation Store's top five list when the outage occurred last week. The game released on March 8 this year. Fryer noted that any banners or ads on PSN are not being seen, "so as a studio, our visibility has gone down," he says, adding that the studio has been in "constant contact" with Sony. Just this afternoon, Sony confirmed that the outage is due to "an unauthorized person" that has obtained sensitive information of users of PSN and Sony's Qriocity streaming service. The company said it expects to have "some services" back up and running "within a week." "From talking to them, I think that Sony knows how hard an outage like this is -- on smaller developers especially -- and will help out in any way that they can," Fryer adds. "That being said, any marketing and banner support from Sony would be much appreciated." Another recent PSN release is StarDrone, released in early April from Kiev, Ukraine-based developer Beatshapers. "Beatshapers surely has been affected by this outage, but not much, as we have six titles released, so we do not rely only on StarDrone," says studio founder and CEO Alexey Menshikov. "But the last week of sales are gone, indeed," he continues. "I doubt this outage [will cause] permanent damage to the studio as we have [games for] other platforms in development." He says the studio will try to compensate for the lost sales somehow, but adds, "still, this is a sad situation." Menshikov doesn't expect Sony to directly compensate developers, but says it's possible Sony may decrease royalties for a short period of time. PopCap, a larger studio whose portfolio is spread across a wide range of platforms, had its strategy game Plants vs. Zombies on the PlayStation Store's top five at the time of the outage. In a statement to Gamasutra, the studio suggests some form of compensation from Sony is in order, at least for gamers. "We're rooting for Sony to resolve the issue as quickly as possible," an official with the company says. "PSN is one of our primary channels for reaching console game fans, and it does feel as though Sony should compensate customers, if not developers, for the outage." Speaking to IGN, one developer revealed that Sony will be helping companies whose game launches were affected by the outage. Paddy Murphy, CEO of Mad Blocker Alpha developer Open Emotion Studios, says Sony will keep the game featured prominently on the PlayStation Store, as the title was just in its first week in the U.S. when the outage occurred. "As long as they can give us some marketing assistance when the PSN is back up, we are sure we will be able to recoup our potential losses," says Murphy.

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