According to Game developerSony recently reached out to PlayStation game developers about a new program that will give PlayStation Plus Premium subscribers limited game trials when it launches in most locations in June. In the notice, Sony laid out a plan that details how game trials will work for upcoming releases.
Any game with a wholesale (non-retail) price of $34 will support this feature, and subscribers will need to be allowed to play for at least two hours before making a purchase decision. Games with a wholesale brand below $34 are not required to support this feature, and the mandate is not retroactive for games already on the PlayStation Store and does not apply to PlayStation VR games.
The wholesale price of $34 would mean that trials would be applicable to games that would sell slightly above that, meaning it would mostly apply to software at full retail price of $59.99 or $69.99 or just under. . For example, Sifu wouldn’t need a demo as it sells for $39.99 but Dying Light 2title for $59.99.
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Sony has stated in its documentation that it is open to user demos and not full game trials, although it will have to approve such releases on a case-by-case basis. Publishers and developers can also set up other trial periods, such as free weekends, to promote their releases to everyone on the platform. There is also some leeway with trials, as developers will have three months after launch to prepare them. Trials must also be active for at least 12 months. However, there are still some concerns about smaller teams that don’t have the size or budget to work on this additional feature.
The news comes as part of the rollout of the expanded PlayStation Plus program, a subscription service designed to compete directly with Microsoft’s extensive Game Pass offerings. A wide range of temporary trial games is one way Sony hopes to stand out from the Xbox offering, which is more focused on providing unlimited access to a subset of the storefront. Electronic Arts offers similar trials with its Access service, a consumer-friendly move that is nonetheless a hurdle for games that don’t leave a good first impression.
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Game demos have almost completely disappeared for most of the previous generation games. They have been given new life on PC in recent years thanks to numerous «festivals» on Steam and free parts of games listed as «prologues» on the marketplace. As more and more game developers try to reach out to players directly in any way they can, more demos in this style seem inevitable across all platforms.