PlayStation is cracking down on shovelware

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PlayStation is finally making moves to clean up the huge amount of shovelware in its store. The company sent a letter out to developers letting them know that shovelware, trophy farming games, reskinned games and not-actually-a-game games are going to be delisted and removed. Developers putting this stuff up for sale might also be prevented from releasing new products in the future.

An anonymous source sent DexDotExe a copy of the letter, which runs down all the possible breaches of the new rules. It also explains how Sony will be reviewing and enforcing the new status quo.

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A screenshot of the letter sent to DexDotExe.

If developers break the new rules and try to sell what Sony considers ‘spam’ or ‘repetitive’ content, Sony reserves the right to remove it or even end the developer’s PlayStation Partners account.

Shovelware isn’t just a PlayStation Problem

It’s nice to see Sony taking steps to get a handle on this kind of content, even if it isn’t exactly a new problem. Valve, for example, still struggles with it. Barely a handful of years ago the fervor around asset flips on Steam reached a fever pitch. You couldn’t browse through YouTube without seeing a commentator or journalist talking about the absolute deluge of games on the Steam Store.

In one or two cases those videos led to lawsuits.

I’m not against the idea, honestly. If some indie developer wants to slap a game together using Unity assets and sell it for a buck? Well, more power to them. I’m sure some of them are learning how to build a game as they go. If they want to make some money at the same time? I’m all about that.

Where I think it becomes a problem is when hundreds, or thousands, of those are clogging up storefronts. It’s a little hard to navigate a store page at the best of times. 2021 saw over 10,000 games released on Steam.

There are over 3,000 on the PlayStation Store.

If Sony’s new policies cut the shovelware down, and what’s left is all excellent games? I’m pretty okay with that, too.

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