A reader is disappointed by the launch of the PS Plus revamp in Asia and worries that Sony is being complacent about the threat from Xbox.
So, we’ve all been reading about the launch of the new PS Plus in Asia this week and I don’t think many will have been surprised that it turned out to be a bit of a disaster. Very few games (the vast majority of which were PlayStation 4 titles) and reports of crashes, problems upgrading accounts, bad emulation, and the general sense that it’s been very rushed, for no obvious reason.
I say it’s not a surprise not because there was any particular rumour that said it would go badly, but because Sony’s weird lack of promotion suggested it was not being treated seriously by them. That doesn’t make sense on any level, as far as I’m concerned. This was meant to be the PlayStation version of Game Pass and one of the best reasons to buy a PlayStation console. Now it’s just a stick for Xbox fans to beat Sony with, as ‘proof’ that Microsoft is better.
Why Sony didn’t see any of this coming I don’t know, because it was obvious to everyone else that something was up as soon as they started being weird about the marketing. The service launches in a couple of weeks here and we still don’t know what games we’re getting. Why aren’t they telling us? Don’t they know? Don’t they think we want to know? Or… don’t they care?
Sony arrogance is one of those things that has become a cliche, a lazy criticism used by detractors without having to think up any kind of proper argument. The reason it exists though is because there’s an element of truth to it. Sony do often come across as arrogant, not just in terms of what they say and do but in their attitude towards themselves and their place in the games industry.
I always remember that time that then PlayStation boss Kaz Hirai claimed that Sony was the ‘official’ leader of the games industry, despite the fact that at the time the Xbox 360 was trouncing the PlayStation 3 in terms of sales. For him it didn’t seem to matter what the outside facts were, Sony were number one whatever they or anyone else did.
Kaz has gone now but I very much get the feeling that that attitude prevails and, in fact, may be getting worse under new boss Jim Ryan. Many have complained about the lack of communication from Sony this generation, as they make themselves feel increasingly distant from their customers – aloof and unapproachable when, really, they should be trying their very best to keep everyone onside.
PS Plus Premium is the most extreme example in a while but it fits the overall pattern. They can turn things around of course, all they need to do is start adding more games. I don’t think they’ll learn their lesson though.
Xbox is doing well at the moment in part because it’s bending over backwards to please people. So much so that they come across as oily car salesmen at times, but that’s still a lot better than Sony who seem to resent ever having to address its fans directly.
Sony has talked a lot this week about their plans for live service games and mobile games and basically exactly the opposite of what most hardcore gamers want them to do. I get that that’s where the money is now but, again, they must realise that that’s not going to go down well with most fans. The real question is do they care?
They must also realise that once Microsoft’s new developers start to get into gear Sony is going to have some real competition in terms of both the quantity and quality of their exclusives. They need something to counter this and PS Plus Premium could’ve been it. Good will and confidence from fans would’ve made a big difference too, but I just don’t know how much of that there is nowadays.
Sony is heading for the most difficult few years it’s ever faced in the games industry and I honestly don’t know if they understand this or if they’ve already convinced themselves that they’re untouchable and that the ‘official’ leadership role is theirs for life.
By reader Ratched
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