Sony Saddles Publishers With PS3 Distribution Fees, Shoots Self In Foot

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Maybe, just maybe, if Sony (SNE) had done what mega-publishers like Activision (ATVI) and EA (ERTS) have been begging it to do — cut retail prices on the PS3 — it would be easier to sell those publishers on new fees.

But no. MTV is reporting Sony is now instituting a 16 cent-per-GB charge on downloads on its Playstation Network. So a company like EA, which is debuting a 1.3 GB demo of its new game Red Alert 3 today, will get billed $208,000 if its demo gets downloaded a million times.

Microsoft (MSFT) doesn’t charge publishers a fee to distribute games on its Xbox Live service.

Hard to see the wisdom of this move — we already see hit games like Fallout 3 and Grand Theft Auto 4 delivering Xbox-only add-ons. With publishers already questioning whether it’s worth it to build games and add-ons for the PS3’s much smaller audience, the extra costs Sony is now charging will hardly help convince them.

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