Sony has reportedly banned a ton of PS4 and PS5 games from the PlayStation Store and will clamp down on future releases that fit the parameters set by this new policy. If you've noticed that the PlayStation Store has been overrun with shovelware nonsense games it's because a ton of shovelware nonsense games have flooded PSN. Who buys these games? Not many, but some do, and some do because the games have very easy platinum trophies. And because they are the most bare-bones assets flips a few sales made them profitable. The whole thing is apparently coming to an end though. A new report has relayed word that developers and publishers have been sent a letter by Sony that says it will be cracking down on spam and duplicative content.
"Sony Interactive Entertainment strives to ensure that customers can search and discover the full breadth of experiences on PlayStation, and that partners have a fair means of being discovered. When partners oversaturate or 'spam' PlayStation Store with many variants of the same type of content, it can negatively impact both the customer and partner experience," reads the letter.
So what is changing, well "products whose functionality and/or assets are copied or are not meaningfully different from products already published on PlayStation Store, irrespective of the publisher of record" are deemed "spam" and "repetitive." And if a game is assigned these tags it won't be allowed to release on the PlayStation Store. This also applies to "multiple concepts and product variants, published by individual partners, that have duplicative functionality or experiences, differentiated only by minor variances of functionality or assets."
Sony continues: "Where possible, partners should consider aggregating small, similar content experiences into a single product, using in-game commerce to expand or extend the experience."
The letter concludes noting different trophies is not enough to differentiate a game. And this last point is the clearest, and will put an end to the bulk of shovelware on PSN.
It remains to be seen how any of this will be enforced, but each game will presumably be reviewed by a human with these guidelines in mind. Each game has always been independently reviewed by an actual human -- or at least that's what supposed to happen -- but clearly the guidelines being used were very lax.