Ben’s PSN New Year’s Resolutions
Before I get on with this list, I want to make sure people understand the point of this list. It isn’t to get up on my soapbox and scream about how PSN is terrible and needs to change, because PSN has had a damn good year. It launched its first ever set of promotions with PSN Play and Only On PSN, and those seemed to encounter moderate success, with Infamous: Festival Of Blood becoming the fastest selling PSN games of all time. However, I can’t sit here and say that it’s all roses and butterflies. So, without further ado, here’s my list of “New Years Resolutions” that PSN needs to adopt to bring it up to the standards set by XBLA in delivering digital content.
1: Mandatory Demos
This goes without saying really. If you launch on a console digital service without a trial and unlock key, then you don’t deserve to complain that people didn’t try your game. Sony, you have the infrastructure in place via PS+ to deliver timed demos, and yet you’re only reserving that privilege for subscribers to that service and further splitting that service towards only retail titles. Give that functionality to independent developers, and let them set a time limit that gamers can play their game for, until they’re prompted to buy the title and unlock any trophies they may have accrued in their play session. It’ll solve the problem of not all PSN titles offering demos, and it’ll be relatively simple to implement. Also, if I buy a game that doesn’t have a demo and I see a trial and unlock on the download screen after I’ve bought it, then you are automatically going to hell. No questions asked.
2: Worldwide release dates.
Ok, this one might be a little more soapboxy, but it’s one close to my heart. Or at least to my location. I am quite frankly sick and tired of games coming out in SCEA regions and being delayed by SCEE, until goodness knows when. This applies the other way too, I don’t want to see games delayed by SCEA while they come out in SCEE regions, for whatever region. If the PlayStation is a truly global console, then I want a truly global store. I want to be able to ask somebody in asia “Hey, did you try that new PSN game” and not have the answer be “it hasn’t come out over here yet, sorry.” Admittedly, you can make another PSN account and access another store that way, but what happens when the Vita comes out, and is locked to one account save for formatting the entire device to change region. To put this into perspective, Auditorium HD still hasn’t come out on PSN in SCEE regions, which is nothing short of astonishing. Standardise your approval processes between regions Sony, and maybe we can avoid people saying “it isn’t out where I am, so I’ll just buy it on XBLA. Maybe I’ll just never buy it at all.” Thanks.
3: Stop pricing retail games at prices only crazy people will pay.
I understand publishers have retail partners to please and pre-orders to sell, but please stop putting your games up on PSN with prices that border on “throw the person responsible into a padded call and lock away the key.” Want to sell your game digitally, and give people a reasonable alternative to retail outlets? Price them at the price the retailers are going to sell them at. When Rayman Origins came out on PSN, it dinged up a tidy £47.99. Retailers were selling it at first for £32, a staggering difference of over £15. Just because you can charge your RRP on PSN, it doesn’t mean you should, publishers.
So, there you have it. Who knows, maybe some of these changes will be brought into the fold in 2012, but I’m not counting on it. Honorable mentions go to “implement a gifting system” and “don’t get hacked again”.
[Image via Calvin and Hobbes]