Shocking news: Sony is just as bad at communicating with business partners as it is consumers. At least, that very much appears to be the case! Earlier this week, an update to the PlayStation developer portal – a kind of official forum for partners – revealed that moving forward it will require all games with a wholesale price of $34 or higher to include a two-hour trial for PS Plus Premium members to play.
This is one of the perks of Sony’s new subscription tier, as announced earlier in the year, although we’re only just beginning to get word of how it all works. There was some confusion around the original reporting, shared by Game Developer, which suggested studios may have to manually create demos. We questioned that when the news first broke, and assumed players would simply download the entire game, and be restricted to two hours of gameplay. That’s how it works with EA Play’s current ten-hour trials, for example, and appears to be the case here.
The demos, according to the reports, will be required to be available within three months of the game’s release date – and must be provided for a year. Again, this is all mandated, with the exclusion of PSVR games. Publishers can also create bespoke demos if they prefer, but this requires additional resources, of course.
The problem, according to additional reporting from Kotaku, is that none of this has been properly communicated yet and developers and publishers are a little peeved they’re seemingly being required to provide two hours of their titles to Sony without any compensation. Here’s the rub: PlayStation can sell its pricey, £99.99/$119.99 subscription tier with this added perk – but publishers, as we understand it, won’t see a cent of that money.
PS Plus Premium, it must be stressed, will launch in around four weeks in parts of Asia, and little more in the United States. How this information is only just being shared with partners confounds us!
Of course, this is all potentially good news for us! As consumers, it sounds great to have the option to try virtually every game with a wholesale price of over $34 for two hours, without restriction or limitation. But seeing as there’s an argument that demos can actually decrease sales, we understand why some publishers and developers wouldn’t be happy about it. Either way, this all sounds like yet another example of Sony’s cumbersome communication.