Sony may not have been famous at all for its pro-consumer policy, but it’s worth noting that in recent months it’s been hard not to notice even a single piece of news about the unclean performance of a popular product. Unfortunately, the PS Plus subscription model revolution hasn’t ended as gamers would like, and what’s worse, Sony’s performance meter is moving more and more over time. So the question is, how long will this infamous streak last?
Author: Piotr Piwowarczyk
I must admit that the idea of this column came to my mind a few weeks ago, but it just so happened that I haven’t lost anything by postponing it until today. Not only that, I in the meantime managed to gain more arguments. It just so happened that just a few days ago the media again wrote about Sony’s next “show”. And not just what. Gamers in Germany and Austria have already received a notification that from August 31 this year, Studio Canal movies purchased on the PlayStation platform will not be playable and will simply be removed from libraries. The reason, of course, is licensing considerations, but what is most interesting is that Sony has already ensured that it will not prevent users from accessing what has already been paid for. And these affirmations seem not worth much today…
As you can see, all Sony accidents are actually due to two factors: a strong need to make money and poor communication with gamers.
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It is true that this topic can go unnoticed, because – let’s agree – PlayStation is for games and the list of players who rely on Studio Canal movie shows is probably small, but it must be admitted that it stirs a lot of emotions. First, the thing that has already been pushed will be permanently deleted. Second, Sony didn’t deliver on its promise and seemed to have no idea of a solution. Imagine a situation where a game purchased on Steam or PS Store is suddenly removed from your library. While I don’t remember this ever happening, in the face of this action by Sony, it’s hard to stay calm about secure access to digitally acquired titles.
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It’s worth noting here that licensing issues that are usually problematic do not mean that users will lose access to the content yet. For example, we recently saw the end of the Bethesda.net platform, but perhaps many players were happy to finally transfer their purchased games to Steam. When it comes to Sony’s biggest competitor, Microsoft, we’re probably used to the fact that several years after the premiere, the next releases of Forza Motorsport and Forza Horizon disappear from stores. Another thing is that on such “occasions” there is also a sale of toys.
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The situation described above applies only to a select number of users, but it is impossible to forget about Sony’s actions regarding the transition to the new PlayStation Plus subscription format. Unfortunately, the list of manufacturer’s sins here is long and it’s surprising that you’ve made so many mistakes when changing the service formula. But the most interesting thing is that all accidents actually come from two factors: a strong need to make money and poor communication with players. I understand Sony doesn’t have resources like Microsoft, but do you want to instantly show it at every step?
In general, it is difficult to consider the new PS Plus an expensive service. Yes, PLN 480 per year for the most expensive package might not make a good impression, but there is a lot of content in this alternative and people with a lot of gaming backlogs will definitely appreciate this offer. The thing is that Sony has done almost everything so that no one finally pays even less zlotys for a subscription, and at the same time makes life difficult for ordinary gamers and creates unnecessary confusion.
Even before the launch of the new form of service, the manufacturer discontinued the option to extend the subscription via prepaid cards, so many people simply stayed with their potty (at least until the launch of the new PS Plus). Everything would have gone painless if Sonny had only warned of her intentions. Unfortunately, the surprising information about the subscription extension ban initially had an unofficial dimension, and the FAQ section on the PlayStation website didn’t appear until some time later. The trial period for PS Plus took place in a similar atmosphere. Despite the fact that the official website reported for a very long time about the possibility of using a trial version of 14 days, the functionality magically disappeared a few weeks before the launch of the new form of the service.
Players from Asia, who bought the “old” PS Plus when upgrading, were in a worse situation, and after the debut of new packages, as if they had to pay extra to make up for the price difference. Fortunately, Sony quickly withdrew from this idea and returned the money to the victims, but this does not change the fact that such situations should not happen. Bad taste remains, and people can be remembered … Another example of fighting cunning is the withdrawal of physical gift cards on PS Plus, which means that players will have fewer opportunities to purchase a subscription at a slightly lower price. Fortunately, the usual PS Store refills have also been saved. By the way, I should also mention those who have already purchased a PS Plus subscription for several years to come. As we know, after entering the additional packages, Sony offered an additional payment for the Extra and Premium packages, but without the option to shorten the subscription so that it is free. This means that those who wanted to enjoy years of peace of mind with playing today will have to pay hundreds or even thousands of zlotys to try the more expensive alternative.
As long as the quality of PlayStation-exclusive games and public display remains at a high level, this approach can be accepted as an exception. However, problems will start when something goes wrong. Sony is playing a very risky role and subsequent bugs may turn out to be a direct path to failure in this generation of consoles, especially as the competition is awake.
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What Sony looks like, everyone can see – the company explicitly seeks to maximize profits at the expense of the mood of players and openly says that quality pays off. So there’s no point in counting on premieres of the latest PS Plus hits. My opinion is that as long as the quality of PlayStation-exclusive games and public display remains at a high level, this approach can be accepted as an exception. However, problems will start when something goes wrong. While I don’t think the upcoming God of War Ragnarok can disappoint the crowd of fans of the previous installment of God of War, there’s no doubt Sony is playing a very risky role. Unsuccessful releases in the future may undermine the actual capabilities of the manufacturer, and then the manufacturer will remain on the market without meaningful arguments. And that’s a simple path to failure in this generation of consoles, especially as the competition is waking up. Although Microsoft doesn’t have many visits on offer, it does make it clear to players that it will welcome them with open arms if necessary. Getting into the Xbox ecosystem ensures the ability to play old games without having to pay for re-controllers, free updates, a cheap and open Game Pass, plus a sense of certainty that nothing bad will be quietly done behind players’ backs…
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