While it's the cost to consumers that often drags downloadable content into the internet's argumentative din, the cost to publishers and developers is generally an infrequent point of discussion. Consider that issue brought into the limelight now, with MTV Multiplayer
reporting on some brewing dissatisfaction amongst certain publishers offering content on the PlayStation Network
According to comments made by several unnamed publishing sources, Sony's "PlayStation Network Bandwidth Fee," implemented in October of last year, asks publishers to pay 16 cents for every gigabyte of bandwidth distributed through the PlayStation Store. The charge, which applies to everything from demos to game add-ons, is one difference between Sony's network and Microsoft's Xbox Live Marketplace that's giving publishers pause. "It definitely makes us think about how we view the distribution of content related to our games when it is free for us to do it on the web, on Xbox Live, or any other way - including broadcast - than on Sony's platform," explained one source. "It's a new thing we have to budget. It's not cool. It sucks."
Developers that choose to provide content exclusively to the PlayStation Network may be exempt from sticker shock. A publisher of popular PSN-exclusive titles told Joystiq, the fees "are so small [they do] not affect our business or attitude towards releasing games for PSN. The fees are extremely low for PSN-exclusive titles, and only slightly higher for non exclusives."
We've reached out to Sony, other PSN developers and content providers to ascertain just how not cool or possibly sucky they find the reported bandwidth fee. The real concern, of course, is whether this dissatisfaction will manifest as fewer pieces of PSN content. Now that would be decidedly not cool