Last Week In PlayStation #13 | Ghost Of Tsushima Sells 9.73 Million Copies, PlayStation Stars Loyalty Program, And PS5 Remake The Last Of Us Part I Goes Gold

Hello and welcome to the thirteenth edition of Last Week In PlayStation, the weekly PlayStation newsletter here on platyview.com. 

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 11th of July '2022 to the 17h of July '2022.

I am writing this intro after I have finished writing the rest of the article. I didn't know what to start with this week, and frankly, I still don't. But I am happy with how the rest of the article turned out, so goodbye intro, hello publish button,

here is what went down in the world of PlayStation last week.

Ghost Of Tsushima Passes 9.73 Million Copies Sold 

Source: PlayStation

Sucker Punch Productions' Ghost of Tsushima was released on 17th July 2020, and last weekend celebrated its 2nd anniversary. As of 3rd July 2022, the game has sold 9.73 million copies across its Standard and Director's Cut versions on PS4 and PS5.

Back in 2020, the game sold 2.4 million copies within 3-days of its launch. This made it the fastest selling new first-party IP on PS4, beating out previous holder Horizon Zero Dawn. Since then, sales figures have put the game at 5 million copies sold by November 2020, 6.5 million copies sold by March 2021, and 8 million copies sold by January 2022. 

The Last of Us Part II, which was released in June 2020, hit the 10 million copies sold milestone in 'spring' of this year. This means that Ghost of Tsushima, a brand new IP, has managed to keep just about par - in terms of commercial success - with NaughtyDog's more critically acclaimed sequel to one of the biggest games of the last generation.

Ghost of Tsushima's sales were no doubt aided by the release of its Director's Cut version on PS5 last year, along with the much acclaimed Iki Island DLC. With a PC version surely coming at some point in the future - hinted at by the removal of the "only on PlayStation" label on the game's physical box art, and its inclusion in last year's infamous Nvidia GeForce leak - Jin Sakai's new franchise has a bright future ahead, both for the debut game and its inevitable sequel.

In the tweet announcing this sales milestone, Sucker Punch also highlighted some other cool stats about the game since launch: 

  • 78 million photos have been taken in-game.
  • Foxes have been pet 75.18 million times in-game.
  • 91.4 million Legends mode missions have been played.
  • 998.5 and 540.8 million standoffs and duels have been had in-game respectively
  • Players have visited 94.76 million hot springs in-game.
  • Players have spent 6437.4 years on horseback in-game.

Ghost of Tsushima is a game beloved by the community, and excitement for a sequel is palpable even without any official confirmation of its existence. When Ghost of Tsushima 2 comes out, it is gonna be huge.

PlayStation Stars Is A Loyalty Program With Points And 'Digital Collectibles', Launches Later This Year

Source: PlayStation Blog

Buckle up hardcore PlayStation fans, here is something to pique your interest. Last week, Sony announced an all-new loyalty program called PlayStation Stars. It aims to 'celebrate you, the player, for being on this ever-growing gaming journey with' the brand.

The PlayStation Stars loyalty program will be free to join. Members will be able to 'earn rewards by completing a variety of campaigns and activities'. The "Monthly Check-In" campaign needs you to play one game a month to earn a reward. Other campaigns range from 'winning tournaments' to 'earning specific trophies' to 'being the first player to platinum a blockbuster title in your local time zone'.

We don't know what exactly these rewards are, but one possible answer is loyalty points. In the blog post announcing the program, it is stated that all members 'will have opportunites' to earn these points. These points can be redeemed for 'PSN wallet funds and select PS Store products'. For PS Plus members, there is an extra yet minor perk: they will 'automatically earn points for purchases on the PS Store'.

Another type of reward is something Sony is calling 'digital collectibles'. Here is what they have to say about them:

"Collectibles are as diverse as our portfolio of products and franchises. They are digital representations of things that PlayStation fans enjoy, including figurines of beloved and iconic characters from games and other forms of entertainment, as well as cherished devices that tap into Sony’s history of innovation. There will always be a new collectible to earn, an ultra rare collectible to strive for, or something surprising to collect just for fun."

In the past, PlayStation has handed out PSN avatars and special PS4 themes as rewards for various events. This 'digital collectible' sounds like Sony building on this idea, by having players create their own digital collections of PlayStation iconography and history. Many were quick to speculate that these were NFTs, and rightly so. Many companies have dived into the space and been discreet about it to avoid backlash from customers. 

In an interview with The Washington Post, Grace Chen - Vice President of Network Advertising, Licensed Merchandise and Loyalty at SIE - has come out and said:

"It’s definitely not NFTs. Definitely not. You can’t trade them or sell them. It is not leveraging any blockchain technologies and definitely not NFTs."

PlayStation Stars is set to launch 'later this year'. Which regions it rolls out in to start off is still unknown, but major markets like the US, UK, and Japan are likely to be there on day 1. For fans in other markets, including here in India, there is still uncertainty about ever getting this scheme. 

On paper, PlayStation Stars sound like a fun scheme to reward longtime and committed players. Loyalty points, something Xbox already does, is the most enticing addition. But whether the rest of these rewards will be worth the time and effort is something PlayStation will have to work hard to achieve.

PS5 Remake The Last Of Us Part I Goes Gold

Source: PlayStation

The Last of Us Part I - a complete remake of the 2013 original - was announced at the Summer Games Fest in June, and is scheduled to release on the 2nd of September this year. Now, nearly 2 months before launch, the game has gone gold. 

When a game goes gold, it means it is ready to start being printed on disc. Development on the game still continues of course and makes its way into the playable product as a Day 1 patch. Going gold on July 12th for a 2nd September launch seems like NaughtyDog playing it safe, but it might just be them knowing the game is under control and wanting to let the printing and shipping process play out smoothly to ensure maximum stock at launch.

In a tweet separate to the one announcing the game's going gold, NaughtyDog say they are 'looking forward to showing you more of the amazing visuals, tech, and gameplay the team has worked on in the next couple of months up to launch' and remind fans to 'stay tuned!' 

This means that we are likely to see a deep dive of some sort into this remake sometime between now and release day. We have seen plenty of visual upgrades already, so it's time to show the gameplay improvements in order to sell people on the game and its $70 price tag. 

This can come in the form of an extended gameplay trailer simply being uploaded to the PlayStation YouTube channel, or a dedicated State of Play taking place. I would like to see a State of Play due to the buzz and excitement it brings.

Deals To Buy Haven Studios And Bungie Close

Source: PlayStation

Earlier this year, Sony Interactive Entertainment entered agreements to purchase Haven Studios and Bungie. Now, both deals have officially closed, meaning the two entities are now Sony-owned. 

A tweet from PlayStation confirms that 'the agreement to acquire Haven has closed' and welcomes the Montreal-based team to the 'PlayStation Studios family'. Speaking with GamesIndustry.biz, studio head Jade Raymond sheds further insight into Haven's ongoing project.

Haven Studios is now 106 developers strong, a rise of almost 50 since March of this year. Raymond mentions that the studio was built with the 'cloud' in mind, and she believes that cloud technology is 'going to be a game changer in terms of how games are made'. 

Raymond also notes that the studio is 'making an exclusive for PS5', which confirms next-gen exclusivity and the fact that the game may not be launching on PC day and date, something which was an open possibility for a live service game of this sort. And, reportedly, the studio's 'R&D work has also caught the attention of Mark Cerny'. Cerny, the mastermind behind the PS4 and PS5 hardware, is somewhat of a PlayStation legend. 

Here is what Raymond has to say about him:

"So [Mark Cerny] is one of the main reasons we're investing so much in R&D, and in this very senior engineering team. It's not just tied to cloud but also some more forward-thinking R&D. I'm not able to say too much now, but that's obviously one of the other things that's been a big attractor and is exciting to our team with PlayStation. Of course Mark Cerny is kind of like a rockstar, too, so being able to collaborate with him is really exciting."

Apart from the fact that Bungie is now under the SIE umbrella, there are not any other new details from that half of these two deals. Both studios are now part of PlayStation - one under the PlayStation Studios brand (Haven) and the other sitting alongside it (Bungie). 

Other Bits And Pieces:

Source: PlayStation Blog

  • Last week, I relayed word about July's PS Plus Extra and Premium games being leaked. We now have official word about this month's games, and, well, the leak was correct. Stray, Marvel's Avengers, and Final Fantasy VII Remake + Intergrade are this month's big hitters. Two Saints Row games are available as well, alongside five Assassin's Creed titles - with more confirmed to be added throughout the year. The list is padded out with five other random games. Premium subscribers get two weak classic games: No Heroes Allowed! and LocoRoco Midnight Carnival. The full list can be read through here.

  • The PS5 finally has its first licensed SSD. Western Digital has partnered with Sony to bring the SN850 NVMe SSD to gamers' hands, allowing fans to finally expand the PS5's storage with a suitably powerful component. Its 1 TB storage capacity makes the PS5 instantly double its total available space, meaning you can install more games than ever before.

  • God of War Ragnarok pre-orders went live last week, and while ample stock of the standard editions of the game in retail stores around the world means it isn't a complete shit show, the Collector's and Jotnar editions have still managed to sell out instantly almost everywhere. Demand is crazy high for Santa Monica's follow-up to the 2018 darling, and scalpers have begun selling the game across the internet for exorbitant prices. Sony may have gotten the pre-orders going live part correct this time, but they still need to solve their major stock problems when it comes to these premium editions, and even their consoles too. 

And that is all for this week's edition of Last Week In PlayStation. I have a special article scheduled for mid-week, one that I have been sitting on for some time now. No, it's not The Last of Us review. I'm still trying to break my writing bloc with that one. I hope to make some progress this week with a slightly different format. Let's see how it goes. Anyways, thanks for reading, and I'll see you soon!

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