Sony is reportedly requiring two-hour game trials as part of PS Plus rebrand

Sony promises that Premium tier subscribers will get time-limited game trials for upcoming games.


The word "time-limited game trials" for the Premium tier of PlayStation Plus sparked a lot of debate all over the internet after Sony confirmed the long-rumored upgrade to the popular subscription service. Much more so when reports came out saying that Sony is making the demos mandatory for all games priced at $34 or higher.

Metal Gear Solid is the best example of a video game demo or trial done right.

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According to Game Developer, Sony is requiring all developers to have trial versions of their games that are at least two hours long. The report states that the pricier games listed on the PlayStation Store have up to three months after launching a game to come out with a timed trial. In addition, Sony made it clear that demos aren't enough - it needs to be a "full" timed trial. Finally, Game Developer's sources claim that the demos and trials requirement is not retroactive and it will also not apply to incoming PlayStation VR titles.

Sony's revamped PlayStation Plus service already drew mixed reactions in its initial announcement. This move won't make the changes appealing to developers and consumers alike.

The original Dead Rising consisted of a demo that let players loose in the game's best level with zero objectives and goals.

Mind you, this isn't a damned if you and damned if you don't situation. We're all aware that Sony had to do something about the widening chasm separating PlayStation Plus from Xbox Game Pass. But, the promise of time-limited trials for Sony's highest-priced PS Plus tier isn't good news for everyone.

The biggest draw of the Premium tier remains Sony's expansive library of older PlayStation games, but the trials and demos will nudge players to shell out more money over the Extra tier. The problem with this notion is that Sony is locking this "pro-consumer" feature behind a premium paywall that's double the price of the Essential tier. Also, we don't think Sony is winning the hearts of developers after effectively forcing this mandate on everyone despite reports that the PlayStation Store team will take care of the trial.

As deep as Sony's pockets are, we doubt that the tech giant has the resources to handle such a big endeavor given how many games within the $34 wholesale price range hit the PlayStation Store regularly.

If it's any consolation, Outriders proved last year that demos work with a three-hour time-limited trial. The only question now is, will we see it having the same effect on other games?

Or, maybe it will pressure developers to create a curated playtest made of the best two-hour bits of their games, luring audiences in with a shiny object only for it to turn out to be a rock?

Cyberpunk 2077 might have comprehensive demo out now, but this is more of a move to save face as many wouldn't have probably bought the game at launch with all the bugs and issues if it had a time-limited trial in late 2020.

We somewhat understand Sony's intention behind making demos and trials a requirement. We're just not gullible enough to think that Sony is doing this for the consumers. If that were the case, Sony would let buyers refund digital purchases if they haven't played a game for more than two hours.

Only time will tell if Sony's latest move will work or not. With the PS Plus update arriving in late May in certain markets, it won't take long before we start hearing rumblings from the developers and studios affected by the change.

On that note, we're still hoping that some of these games get demos ahead of their launch.

Ray Ampoloquio
Ray is a lifelong gamer with a nose for keeping up with the latest news in and out of the gaming industry. When he's not reading, writing, editing, and playing video games, he builds and repairs computers in his spare time. You can find Ray on Twitter.
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