[ Shihiko° × Game。]

About Games. by Shihiko°

May 27th, 2011

Tomorrow the PlayStation Network in Japan is restored and so will most of Asia’s PlayStation Network services… Despite Sony taking longer to bring back the PlayStation Network for Asia, it seems like Japan also gets the short end of the stick for the Welcome Back Package.

I still standby that Sony should have given everyone store credit and decide on what the customers want. Core PlayStation users will already have most of the things they are offering… I can’t believe the おいでよLocoRoco!! BuuBuu Cocoreccho! screensaver game is being offered as a free title. Imagine you had all the games that were being offered? The titles on offer for the Japanese PlayStation Network users are as follows:

PlayStation 3:

  • The Last Guy
  • おいでよLocoRoco!! BuuBuu Cocoreccho!
  • Echochrome
  • WipeOut HD
  • Hustle Kings

PlayStation Portable:

  • 勇者のくせになまいきだor2 PSP the Best [What Did I Do To Deserve This, My Lord? 2]
  • みんなのスッキリ [Minna no Sukkiri]
  • パタポン 2 ドンチャカ♪ PSP the Best [Patapon 2]
  • Little Big Planet Portable
  • LocoRoco -Midnight Carnival-

There is of course also the free 30 day period of PlayStation Plus. From the outside it doesn’t look like there is much difference between the packages offered for the Welcome Back Packages offered by the different regions. However the Asian network was down longer and when they return they are offered equal or less? Seems a little unfair… Let’s see where it isn’t so great.

About all the games offered for the PlayStation 3 are non-disc based games. This means they are games that are already distributed digitally… The only games that are probably worth picking up based on their replay value is WipeOut HD and Hustle Kings as they have Online mode. LocoRoco on PS3 actually isn’t a game either, I remember when I first got it I read it was supposedly a screen saver… The reality is it is a screen saver. Takes forever to beat the game and there is no saving your progress for next time.

Other regions have on offer mostly disc based games instead of a small handful of downloadable games. Not saying that disc based games are better, but will likely give more content than a downloadable game. Dead Nation, inFAMOUS and LittleBigPlanet are all great disc based games. Even the downloadable games on offer are better… WipeOut HD + Fury and Super Stardust HD. WipeOut HD + Fury? Notice that the Asia pack does not contain + Fury?

The PSP Games on offer however, I would slightly lean towards the Japanese package as Patapon series is a great game and has good replay value. Other than that the PSP packages feels evenly matched with what is on offer for the other regions. So moving along… PlayStation Plus… not good enough.

At the end of the day, does having PlayStation Plus really matter? Logically speaking, those who had PlayStation Plus would have had probably 2 months of service that was unavailable for them to collect their Plus content from. Since each month a Plus subscriber needs to go Online to collect some free content… On top of that, some Plus subscribers who had subscriptions expiring during the down time meant that their content would stop working and they wouldn’t be able to play those games until they are able to renew the subscription.

The free Plus service feels more like a marketing gimmick that makes us think we are gaining, but instead it is a Plus trial for every PlayStation user to let them try out what Plus is all about. This can work both ways for Sony as they may be able to sign up more people on Plus. At the same time if the service doesn’t feel as if the customers are gaining anything they may lose more potential future subscribers than they are expecting to return…

From my previous Plus Experiment and hopes for the service, there doesn’t seem to be anything particularly special about Plus at the moment. All the talk about XMB Cross-Game Voice Chat when Plus was announced, never has come around right? I always expected Plus to be beneficial to customers who were willing to spend more on the PlayStation Store content… Except that every month was always disappointing titles for free and more old games on discount offers.

Personally I reckon the way Sony has done this has been very poor. It started out poorly handled, then went well when they started announcing the issue which I was willing to let that slide if they were willing to make up for it… Which is great of course that they are trying… Then I find out all the good games they offer are practically games that I already own, so it really doesn’t do the job of making up for others who maybe in the same boat as me. I still stand that they could have gotten away with less by offering us a an small amount of PSN credit in our accounts.

Case to point. Hopes for a great come back from Sony has been shattered… Guess it’s time to face the facts that Sony really does hurt themselves by holding back their own potential. :P

Source: 日本のお客様向け「感謝とおわびのパッケージ」詳細

May 17th, 2011

Anyone else think the packages aren’t so great? I mean sure, if you’re not a regular PlayStation customer these packages maybe good enough to win you back. However for those who already own some of these games being offered in the package the only real thing that is of value is the free Plus subscription.

I think if you already have Plus you probably have the best value in the deal which is great. Though I some how feel that if Sony had just given everyone some credit in their wallet this would just smooth over. Again I guess this goes back to the thing I was talking about back when I was doing the Plus experiment… If they had just given you more options to select for the package then everyone would feel a little more satisfied. According to articles on other sites, the price Sony thinks you’re worth as a customer is somewhere around a hundred dollars. Oddly enough I reckon 50 dollars in PSN credit would have probably done the job for most people.

Letting the customers buy what they feel would satisfy them is better than saying what customers are allowed. Example would be that not everyone wants the Plus service, which essentially is worth around 5 dollars for the 30 days and 10 dollars for the 60 days of pre-existing Plus users. Then the price of 2 PSN games being around 20 dollars each seems to add up to around 50 dollars right? So really if we were to choose what we wanted, instead of 2 PSN games we could have bought some add-ons for games that we already own. Example Little Big Planet is already a game I own, I could use that money and buy more costumes right? I already have WipeOut HD so if I had the money I could use it to buy the Fury add-on if I wanted to right?

It would have been a lot cheaper for Sony and probably more satisfying for customers if they were to do it this way. At the same time they wouldn’t need to also offer a package to PSP owners as the credit would be shared on the PS Store. Then again the way this offer is set up, I think we are lead to believe it is worth up to 100 dollars but really the base value is around 50 dollars as Sony is the publisher for the games on offer… Well either way the offer is nice, but could have been better for less is all I’m saying… Seems to be the case with most of Sony’s attempts at these things.

Also the whole deal with Japanese Government not letting Sony restore the service for Asia is quite interesting. Hopefully Asia will receive a more interesting welcome back package for us…

May 15th, 2011

So with the PlayStation Network coming back, it’s interesting to see what will happen from now. Personally I didn’t have any Credit Card details in my accounts and I was on holiday so mainly not too affected by this whole incident. I do wonder what happens to people who have extra accounts or multiple accounts created for the purpose of having another alias… There will be a Welcome Back Package given to all PSN users, does this mean even dummy accounts will receive free PS+ Service and free games? Will this mean out of the few games you are able to choose for free you get to collect them all if you had multiple accounts?

I bought a new PS3 for a friend during the time the hacking and downtime happened. Do they receive any of the services if we create a new account for them? It would be interesting if that is the case, but from a business point of view if you didn’t have an account before the hacking then you probably shouldn’t be eligible for the Welcome Back Package. Since you aren’t a returning customer…

One last thing I do think maybe an issue is the Secret Question and Answer. Though we maybe prompted to update our passwords and some details, the original PSN didn’t let you change your Secret Question and Answer… So if they don’t allow us to update this, then wouldn’t hackers or people who buy the information of customers from the hackers have the answer to the question and still be able to access your account? Also I forgot the answer to one of the accounts I made since I gave it a really stupid question… it would be nice to have that one changed haha… Well here is to a good PSN rebirth and Sony to have everything working right for their customers as soon as possible. :)

I watched this video earlier… felt different seeing Kazuo Hirai do this well rehearsed speech from a office desk… though yeah I guess better than seeing a Kevin Butler spin off. :P

August 20th, 2010

So today’s about a month since my PlayStation Plus Experiment… How’s it going so far? Well I have received three months worth of premium avatars and a few games which I already have or aren’t that fun. Quite dissappointed with the service so far, still no news about cross-game voice chat and no premium dynamic themes to keep.

Continuing on however… According to next month’s schedule they don’t look all that great at all. For the Japanese PSN The next free title will be Warhawk… A game that is over two years old. Also there is no premium dynamic theme or avatar lined up to collect so I maybe skipping next month’s subscription.

Now what have I learned about this so far? First off the experiment works of course… I have received three months worth of avatars and games for only one month’s payment but none of the games were that interesting or worth my time or I already have it.

Subsciptions need to be unsubscribed once you have started it otherwise it will automatically renew and charge your credit card or PSN wallet at the end of the period. The service can to be unsubscribed from the Account Manager menu.

Once it reaches the end of the period you will automatically lose your Plus icon from your online status. Apparently there is a bug that allows free PSone games to continue to work even after the subscription period. However there were no PSone games for free on the Japanese store for me to test this.

As for the service so far, well there really is no benefit for power users so far… It seems you’d probably get or benefit out of this service if you were a casual PlayStation gamer and didn’t own that many games because you’d be getting essentially a new game that you have never played before. Since the service also offers automatic update, it basically allows you to set and forget your system and whenever you boot it up you’ll be ready for and game or any online networking since it would have kept your system up to date for you no matter how much you neglect gaming on it.

Well that’s the report on the experiment so far… More to come as time goes on… Hopefully they will improve the service alot more but I really done see it as a service that makes users feel they are missing out on something special…

August 14th, 2010

Looks like all the predictions and talk in the past is finally coming to fruit. Sony are really going forward with the PlayStation Phone. This can work out really well for Sony if they play it right … Rumour has it that the design is quite impressive and is a sliding touch screen with the PlayStation buttons featured like the PSP Go. Since there isn’t much to go by other than that, let’s see what points could make or break this phone for the hardcore gamer.

Games

No doubt this is the most important part of the phone and it is the selling point that will be pushing this device out to the consumers. It will be important that games created for the device are well supported and fully functional console quality games… No gimmicky games that people release on the other phones just to make a few bucks and bloat the online store or system. Keeping the system catering to more polished games will give it a more exclusive and upper class feel so that games purchased are well worth the money and there won’t be a top ten lists populated with dollar deal games and more quality games.

Hardware

Looking around at what other devices are out there that this would be competing with, this smart phone-portable console hybrid will need to ramp it up a little in order to catch the market that it needs to succeed. Firstly the hardware must support the current collection of PSP/PSone games, this isn’t an option it must be done… However this is not good enough, the device apart from featuring the ability to play PSP/PSone games also needs a refresh or update. The PSP Go failed because of this, people don’t want to pay more for a device that actually does less while despite having a nicer design and some software features. If they say they have learnt their lesson from the PSP Go, then I expect to see a brand new series of hardware that can possibly be a new type of PSP. Clue: Dual Analogue Sticks, L2 + R2 buttons, Camera, Capacitive Touch Screen, Accelerometer, Compass, GPS, Gyroscope, High Resolution Screen… pretty much anything and everything that it needs to stay on par with a high end smart phone. It would also need an awesome battery life… another thing PSP Go failed at despite the new chips and removal of the UMD drive, they decided they will reduce the size of the battery so that you end up with the same battery life as a standard PSP Slim. There is clearly more that can be said about the hardware, but I think if they wish to keep the phone competitive, they will have to have base hardware requirements for the series and refresh and update the hardware over time. However only changing the appearance, design, memory and storage so that games are designed for all systems throughout the system’s life cycle.

Software

Now this is where Sony usually struggles and dies trying. Rumours have it that the phone will be using Android 3.0, most likely skinned and modified to work how Sony wants it… similar to the Xperia X10. I’ve used an Xperia before, and well it ain’t no iPhone, even the new Samsung smart phones are nicer to use with Android 2.0. Sony needs to get the software for this right or it will crash and burn. No one wants to use a device that lags and struggles to respond no matter how beautiful it may look. A new and improved XMB would work, especially with a multi-touch screen should provide a good combination between using the directional pad and selecting icons on screen quickly. A quick example would be using the XMB menu then selecting the Photos menu on the PlayStation 3 then seeing it tile on screen which allows you to scroll with the directional pad or touch each tile for viewing. Being an Android phone, apart from supporting Android games it should also have it’s own propriety format so the games stay exclusive and will only work on the PSPhone. I’m sure this part is already thought of and clearly separates the system’s abilities from a normal Android phone… if not well then this will clearly be another lost cause.

PlayStation Network

Really, who is the market that will be buying this device? PlayStation owners and hardcore gamers. A fully functional and always connected PlayStation Network client on the phone would mean a lot to these people. If Sony wants the device to keep these people gaming, the community must be there and even though mobile devices isn’t the best idea for staying connected as connection dropping is or can be expected, it should not mean this shouldn’t be included. Most people are in the hardcore category with their portable consoles usually spend the majority of their time playing their games at the comfort of their own homes and usually have a stable internet connection there anyway. Just provide a warning that they may lose connection if the player chooses to play their games over the mobile network. The PSP had the PlayStation Network added later in it’s life cycle which meant it was slightly limited, however not being able to communicate with your friend’s list while on the PSP version of the PlayStation Network kind of defeated the purpose of signing in. So a fully functional PSN could turn it into a must have device for the daily PlayStation gamer.

Marketing

Lastly, probably another place where Sony tends to over look or do weirdly is the marketing of their devices. All I can say is, keep it simple and make sure you cover the market targeted and also the related markets such as multimedia audience and the casual gamer smart phone market. Show what it does… I think the recent advertising teams are doing better, but really that’s comparing it to what was already considered bad advertising. They will need to push this one hard if they want it to expand beyond just the gamer that doesn’t like having to carry a phone and their portable console.

Summary

I’m all for this idea, and it seems the general online feedback for it is quite positive as well… the downside is Sony has done this sort of thing in the past and failed to live up to the hype and advertising of some of their products which is why they don’t pick up as well as some of the other products and devices out on the market. Hopefully they will get this right and actually innovate again instead of only improving technology and hoping people will buy it on the specifications alone.

July 20th, 2010

Today is the last day of the first batch of PlayStation Plus content, I’m curious though… See the way the system works is you either pay for 30 days for a small fee or 365 days for about ten times the 30 days fee for the service. The question is, if you were to pay for only 30 days on the last day of the previous month would you then have access to three months worth of the service? [Even though of course, the last month is only for a day or two depending on how the weeks play out.]

PlayStation®plus

The result should be for every three months you pay only the one time 30 day service. Since there is no incentive to keep the service at the moment other than to play the games being offered for free… [This depends on your PlayStation Network region though... as previously mentioned the different regions offer different incentives.] So every three months, you spend the minimum fee, then the next month you wait it out until the new content you don’t have access to is about to expire which should be nearly two months from the end of your previous service period and make the purchase for the next 30 days. This should be around three months since the start of the experiment. If it continues on in a similar fashion, the total for the whole year’s worth of content comes down to about four or five service purchases, which is half of the cost of the 365 day service.

This experiment is so that you can stay up to date with the PlayStation Plus service without missing out on anything at the minimum cost. I think there will be some flaws or holes when some of the dates don’t add up or expire past the 30 day period. This is why it is an experiment and not recommended as a way to use the service… Obviously when you are not subscribed to the service you will not be able to play any of the free games until the next period but you do get the discounts and can keep all the themes and avatars that they offer.

I’ll experiment and we can see how this goes… :)

July 1st, 2010

So PlayStation Plus has been out for a few days… from my list of PSN friends there is only three out of a hundred people who have the service. One from each region offering the service.

Well what does it offer? From the looks of it, the best PlayStation Plus offers at the moment are not from the Japanese PSN… but the other regions. The PAL PS+ has an introductory offer that let’s you keep Little Big Planet if you go through and purchase a full years worth of subscription… this offer basically means you keep the game if you decide to stop subscribing to the Plus service, but you also get the free Plus title of the month along with the other Plus services of that region. Regardless of which game they gave at the introductory offer to entice you into signing up for a year, at least there is incentive from the PAL region to get the service for a year.

We then can have a look at the US PS+… their introductory incentive is that you get three months of extra service if you purchase the year subscription early. Not a bad deal, but it is also interesting to know that they offer the most extra content as part of the Plus service. On top of that they will be getting a Hulu service called Hulu Plus… it is not detailed if this costs extra or not but it is probably a free service. Content and savings wise the US PS+ seems to have the best on offer, unless you don’t already own Little Big Planet then maybe you’d go for the PAL PS+ or… JPN PS+?

Read the rest of this entry »