PS3 theme sales won't cover development costs – Q Games

Q Games president Dylan Cuthbert has said that the studio will be "lucky" to sell enough Dynamic Themes on the PlayStation Store to cover development costs.

Introduced with the new 3.0 firmware, Dynamic Themes are interactive backgrounds for the PlayStation 3. The developer has just released a theme to promote PixelJunk Monsters, priced USD 2.99.

"Remember that we'll be lucky to sell even a few thousand themes and so the cost of developing the theme (3-4 weeks of coder/artist time, checking, testing etc) will still far exceed any money we make from it," said Cuthbert, writing on the PS3 blog.

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Fishy Fingers3795d ago

I guess it all boils down to how many you sell, same as pretty much everything.

Which offers up a question. Do you think you'd sell much more at a lower price than you would sell at a higher price? Or simply put, would you get over 3 times the sales with a £/$1 theme than you would a £/$3.

6wl3795d ago

Price elasticity of demand - they should at least give it a go, see if they sell more than twice as much by having half the price. Know at about £1 I might consider it, 3 quid, not a chance in hell.

Proxy3795d ago

They could double the cost and see if they sell over half what they would for 3$.

Just fallowing where the logic takes me.

DanSolo3795d ago

You are exactly right mate, I wouldn't pay £3 for a theme. But at £1 if I saw something I liked I'd buy it.

I imagine alot of people think along similar lines so there would probably be a lot better chance at them making money on the themes if people considered it to be a cheap price.

lordgodalming3795d ago

Their comments also don't take into account the publicity and advertising advantages of getting out one of the first animated themes. Several friends have already asked about the Afrika game since they've seen my FREE theme from the Japanese PSN.

Bottom line: Publishers need to quit complaining about this ASAP. If they really thought a 3D theme would be a financial disadvantage, they wouldn't have done it.

Milky Joe3795d ago

It really never occurred to me that these things cost money to make. I'd have thought it's just be one guy slapping a bunch of pre-made assets together, but apparently not.

antt33795d ago

"We’re proud to say that this is a system we were involved in developing. Sony Computer Entertainment wanted to spice up the background a bit and static pictures just didn’t cut the mustard.

"So we collaborated with them to make a system where developers can display what they want and animate and move them around. This definitely adds a little life to the PS3’s background," he wrote.

***So, in other words, they were almost definitely paid by Sony to help in the creation process anyway. Which would explain why they didn't mind making something they knew wouldn't pay out in the end.

MazzingerZ3795d ago

In their case it rather works as a sorts of ad, since it's one of the first dynamic themes to come out "Q games" is all over the internet.

I think dynamic themes for well established franchises like MGS, GOW3, GT, R&C, FF etc will of course sell well.

FamilyGuy3795d ago

This is digital content, there is no recurring cost from things like manufacturing and shipping so these guys are idiots since they COULD sell these things for 50 cents and make a profit. Even the cost devs pay to have their content on sony severs is only 16 cents per gigabyte downloaded by customers making 50 cents still a huge profit as the theme are no where near a gigabyte is size.
At 50 cents they might sell a million over time so they're idiots to claim that these things aren't profitable when that in itself is their own fault.

It might be sonys fault as well since sony has priced regular themes at about $1.50 and they wouldn't want developers to undercut them by selling their dynamic ones for less than or equal to that price.

Dynamic themes at $3 is probably sonys fault so maybe all themes should see a price cut for the same reasons I mentioned above.

2Negative3795d ago

My recommendation is to get a free theme from the game when you buy the game.

Theme I want. Kratos running around my TV killing random enemies.

andron3795d ago

I appreciate that they take time and effort to make. But I won't pay for themes ever, so a price drop won't affect me. Some might buy it then, so Sony should definitely give it a go and check it out.

Maybe the cost of making these dynamic themes will drop after a time, so the price can be lowered. And I agree they should have given away at least one free theme so people could check it out...

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tripewire3795d ago


They look pretty simple. Must be using real time graphics rendering. Otherwise wouldnt you just be looking at the time taken to drag a looped animation onto a template, design your icons and convert it to the correct format? I reckon I could do that in about 30 minutes.

randomwiz3795d ago (Edited 3795d ago )

"So we collaborated with them to make a system where developers can display what they want and animate and move them around."

im confused... he makes it sound like its easy, but he also says:

"3-4 weeks of coder/artist time, checking, testing etc"

callahan093795d ago

What they did was design a system for the XMB that allows developers to animate themes. It doesn't make it simple at all. It just makes it possible. Dynamic themes are not just video clips running in the background, there's much more going on than that. There's actual rendering going on. The dynamic themes are theoretically interactive. I mean, you could create a dynamic theme that reacts based on which tab of the XMB you're on. Or that does something specific every time you push the thumbstick in a specific direction. Or shake the sixaxis. Stuff like that. It allows for more creative and interactive things to go on with the themes than just a video looping in the background. But it's evidently not easy to design these dynamic themes. I think that some day in the future though we'll start to see some REALLY interesting dynamic themes. And I'd pay for them, if they're creative enough.

Christopher3795d ago

Definitely a lot more than just simple looping methodologies here if you put the effort into it. I mean, sure, you could do a simple loop element, but then it's pretty cheap and cheesy, IMHO. Most tend to want to do something a bit more relative to the dynamic elements present in their game(s).

As an example, look at the Africa Theme. You can have up to a certain number of animals on screen that:

- Act on their own in a dynamic manner, including head movement, eye movement, tail movement, general body movement, eating, etc.

- Can move around in the environment in a 3d manner at any depth in a dynamic manner

- Can enter or leave the environment from any side, including from behind the camera view

- With all elements dynamic, things must be done so as to prevent collision between animals and other elements, which means at least some capability to forward plan all movements based on the dynamic choices of each animal. Example, if Zebra A is going to move west towards Zebra B, then either Zebra B has to be told to move out of its way or Zebra A must recognize he can't continue moving and must either adjust his action and flow into another process or must change directions so as to go around Zebra B while maintaining fluidity of movement.

And this doesn't take into account behavior AI, weather AI, time of day measuring and calculations, movement physics, and more elements that have to be programmed into the dynamic system.

percephone3795d ago

Seem to me that they wrote the whole framework to make dynamic themes for Sony. Other studios will probably reuse Q games work and make their own which would make it less expensive.

tripewire3795d ago


See I thought the afrika theme was just baked footage on a loop. The animals are all on a loop, and just keep doing the same thing. I haven't got the LBP theme, because I think that 4 bucks is ridiculous, but I am yet to see any interactivity.

+ Show (3) more repliesLast reply 3795d ago
Socomer 19793795d ago

I think the price is right and I support sony for finally bringing out the slim and a price cut so i have no problems paying 3 dollars for animated works of art. hey, i even bought a animated t-shirt in home because its cool and i like it.

felonycarclub3795d ago


Sangria3795d ago

So that means animated themes are renders-only so gamers can't create their animated themes themselves?
Pretty sad, i at least hope we can have a preview of the theme, unlike Xbox 360, to see what we buy first (there is no animated theme in Europe so i can't tell).

v1c1ous3795d ago

can be viewed in the top right corner when you hover over them :/

percephone3795d ago

From what i gathered, you need the development kit to make dynamic themes.

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