Last Week In PlayStation #3 | Sony Disables Subscription Stacking, Game Trials On PS Plus Premium To Be Made Internally, And Classic Games Begin To Leak
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Publishing every Monday evening India time (early evening Central European time and late morning Pacific time), the series will round up all of last week's PlayStation news and other happenings into one single article.
This edition will cover all PlayStation news from the 25th of April '2022 to the 1st of May 2022.
Even though E3 is not happening this year, the month leading up to the convention is usually ripe with news. Maybe we get leaks about upcoming games, and hopefully Sony decide to finally reveal the games included in the new PS catalogue. How about announcing a big summer showcase? The last one is unlikely, but hey, we can hope.
Regardless of what news we may receive in the following weeks, this newsletter is about the past, so it's time to stop rambling and tell you what went down in the world of PlayStation last week.
Sony Disables The Ability To Stack PS Plus And Now Subscriptions
Sony earlier said that PS Now memberships would be upgraded to PS Premium memberships free of cost. People were taking advantage of this by stacking up years of PS Now vouchers to save money on a PS Plus Premium subscription. And rightly so. If a loophole is left open, everyone is going to take advantage of it.
But last week, Sony updated the FAQ on its PlayStation Plus webpage to notify customers that subscription stacking was being disabled.
"As we prepare to launch the new PlayStation Plus membership service, we are doing some work behind the scenes to make the transition as smooth as possible for all of our existing members. As part of this work, we’ve temporarily disabled stacking memberships for existing customers until after the launch. Rest assured that your voucher code is still valid, and you will be able to redeem your code either when your existing membership expires and deactivates, or after the new PlayStation Plus service launches in your area, whichever happens first."
What is happening is that Sony is preventing users from redeeming their PS Plus or Now vouchers until the service launches. This essentially closes the loophole people were previously using. I think that this is fine, but what is not is Sony's lack of communication. They first completely ignored the loophole and now shut it down without any prior warning.
Anyways, people with pre-paid vouchers will be able to redeem their codes once the new PS Plus service launches. But there is now a weird and confusing conversion chart to go through that is based on the monetary value of the voucher you are redeeming.
The conversion chart on the PlayStation website isn't loading, so I am using these handy tables created by PushSquare:
PS Plus memberships converting to the same amount of months (or days) of PS Plus Essential makes sense. And to be fair so does the conversion of PS Plus to PS Plus Extra and Premium, which gives you less number of months/days as the Essential conversion.
What doesn't make any sense is the PS Now conversions. Why don't 'x' number of PS Now months convert to the same number of PS Plus Premium months as previously promised? It makes no sense and is a blatant move by Sony to give consumers less than what they thought they were paying for. If Sony hadn't previously said that PS Now subscriptions would directly convert to PS Plus Premium, none of this would have been a problem. Except maybe still the confusing conversions but at least people wouldn't be straight up ripped-off.
Sony's lack of clear communication with its PlayStation audience has created this giant mess. Where have we seen this before?
PlayStation To Reportedly Handle The Creation Of PS Plus Premium Game Trials Internally
|Source: The Verge|
Now, website GameDeveloper reports that 'developers working on games that have a wholesale cost of $34 or higher' will be 'required to create time-limited game trials of their games'. The report notes that 'many developers were informed about the new policy via an update to Sony's developer portal' and that there was no prior communication from Sony.
Developers reportedly have 'up until three months after their games launch on the PlayStation Store to release their timed trial' and these trials are 'only required to be available to PlayStation Plus Premium users for at least 12 months'.
This was immediately concerning as it requires substantial resources and time to create game demos, something that not all studios have access to given tight deadlines and budgetary constraints.
But Kotaku's Ethan Gach has come out and said his source tells him PlayStation will create the game trials for the developers. He notes this means 'it shouldn't be extra work' for developers but he has heard 'concerns about Sony monetizing a perk and not sharing that revenue with studios'.
Without official confirmation from Sony, we may never know the true nature of PS Plus Premium game trials. But it seems both possible routes have negative outcomes for game developers- with either extra work or no sharing of revenue. Regardless of whether these game trials are being worked on internally at PlayStation or being handed to the respective developer, let's hope that developers, especially smaller teams, benefit from these trials through boosted sales and exposure.
Classic Games Destined For PS Plus Premium Have Begun To Appear On PSN Backend
I promise this is the last news story related to the new PS Plus. You know the last week has been dull when the biggest news stories are about a subscription service and not actual video games.
A post from Reddit user 'the_andshrew' on the r/GamingLeaksAndRumours subreddit points out that classic PlayStation titles have begun to appear on the PSN backend. According to this post, the games that have appeared so far are:
- Tekken 2
- Ridge Racers 2
- Mr Driller
- Worms World Party
- Worms Armageddon
It looks like these games are part of the 'catalogue of beloved classic games' that Sony has promised for PS Plus' new Premium tier.
PushSquare notes that 'only PS1 and PSP games are represented right now', but expect to see more classic titles from these consoles, as well as the PS2 and PS3, appear on the PSN backend between now and the service's initial launch on May 23rd.
PlayStation Sets Up Brand New Game Preservation Team
In the past, Garret Fredley has worked as a permanent part-time Software Engineer at EA, 'solely leading the preservation efforts of the FIFA franchise, resulting in the complete archival of multiple titles'.
This tweet quickly stirred up hope that PlayStation's backward compatibility efforts were in full swing. But a follow-up tweet from Fredley puts much of the speculation to bed.
PushSquare notes that Fredley 'and the other preservation staff will be working to archive Sony's back catalogue, but not necessarily for redistribution'. From the surface, it seems that the game preservation team was created to archive classic PlayStation titles and ensure they are maintained properly for future use if need be.
Still, with PlayStation making moves into backwards compatibility - first with PS4 games running on PS5, and more recently with PS1, PS2, and PSP games being available to download with the upcoming PS Plus Premium service - one can't rule out the possibility of this team reviving retro titles and possibly solving the issue of PS3 game emulation.
Gran Turismo 7 Breaks Series Sales Records
VGC reports that Polyphony Digital's Gran Turismo 7 'had the franchise’s biggest ever launch month in the US'. This is according to data from market research company NPD Group, who revealed that the game 'brought in more dollars during its launch month than any other entry in the franchise'.
Gran Turismo 7 is also the 4th best selling game of the year so far, behind Elden Ring, Pokemon Legends Arceus, and Horizon Forbidden West.
GT7 received stellar reviews at launch, but since then, the game has been plagued by post-launch controversy including egregious microtransactions, a patch that reduced payments from races, and a period of 24 hours in which the game went completely offline, thus rendering most of the game unplayable due to its 'always online' requirement.
VGC also notes that following this criticism from fans - which included the game's Metacritic player score falling to 2/10 -, Polyphony released a patch which rebalanced the game's economy.
Gran Turismo 7 is doing incredibly well commercially, so it's now up to the developers to bring back player trust with content updates and patches.
Other Bits And Pieces:
- The PlayStation Plus games for May have been revealed. The line-up includes football sim FIFA 22 on PS4/5, survival action RPG Tribes of Midgard also on PS4/5, and top-down roguelike Curse of the Dead Gods on PS4. The games will the available to claim starting May 3rd.
- Over on the PlayStation Blog, Sony announced that Variable Refresh Rate (VRR) has begun rolling out on PS5. On compatible TVs and monitors, 'VRR dynamically syncs the refresh rate of the display to the PS5 console’s graphical output'. This enhances visual performance, makes games feel smoother, and reduces input lag. A full list of VRR supported games and instructions on how to enable the feature can be found on the PlayStation Blog. However, PushSquare notes that VRR on PS5 doesn't work with backwards compatible PS4 games.
- Website Automaton Media reports that the Tsushima Local Promotion Association will begin selling official Ghost of Tsushima merchandise 'inside the souvenir shop of Fureaidokoro Tsushima, a building on Tsushima Island that acts as a tourism information center'. 'Available items include Ghost of Tsushima-themed T-shirts, work shirts, hoodies, bandanas, scarves, socks, mugs, stickers, PS4 skins, and DUALSHOCK 4 skins'. This is cool to see and is another example of interaction between the game and the real island where it is based.