PS Plus Premium Game Trials Could Be a Game Changer

After months of speculation and fan-theorizing, details on Sony’s plans for Playstation Plus are slowly starting to emerge. In terms of official press releases, the platform holder has announced that the subscription service’s new multi-tiered format will roll out in select Asian markets from May 23. From there, the rest of the world’s PS4 and PS5 owners will gradually get access to the new Essential, Extra, and Premium tiers throughout the month of June.


While a sense of cautious anticipation has started to build thanks to Sony’s official reports, several alleged insider leaks regarding PS Plus’ future have stolen the publisher’s thunder. Hints from a South Korean rating agency that point to Siphon Filter‘s return via the service have especially gotten fans excited. News this week that the rebooted subscription service will seemingly offer select game trials as a bonus perk shouldn’t be ignored, though. If the report turns out to be accurate, the concept could become a key selling point for the new-look PS Plus.

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Game Trials Explained

Considering how there’s been no official confirmation from Sony itself yet, the report that suggests games trials will be a part of PS Plus should be taken with a pinch of salt right now. In recent months, reputable leaks regarding the future of PlayStation trophies have yet to materialize into reality, for example. If the sources at the heart of the leak are eventually proven to be right, and Sony goes ahead with its plan, the addition of game trials to the subscription service could become one of its centerpiece features.

It appears that at some point in the future, Sony will allow subscribers of PlayStation Plus’ Premium tier to access select game trials. These extended trials are said to last for at least 2 hours, which should give players enough time to become acquainted with what each game offers on a fundamental level. What’s more, every studio that creates a title with a wholesale value of over $34 will be mandated by Sony to allow a trial of its game to be available via PS Plus within 3 months of its initial release.

The wholesale part of that stipulation could prove to be significant, as in most cases, that number is far lower than what consumers are eventually charged at retail. In any event, most AAA games should still fall under Sony’s new PS Plus requirements. Crucially, it should be noted that older games and PS VR titles seemingly won’t be forced to comply with the change in policy, though. If a follow-up leak is to be believed, Sony’s PlayStation Store team itself will create the trials, which should take pressure off of the studios involved.

Based on how Sony has handled game trials in the past, it’s easy to believe that the publisher is exploring the idea in the present. In recent times, Sony has experimented with select trials for PS4 and PS5 games after all, with the added caveat that players had to download and play the title in the same countdown timer. By a similar token, game trials were also originally a part of PlayStation Plus when it debuted on the PS3 back in 2010. From a features and scope perspective, it’s clear from the above info that the newly proposed concept is far more expansive than anything else that’s been available on the platform.

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More Vs. Game Pass

Since PlayStation Plus’ early PS3 days, the video game industry has come on leaps and bounds from a digital perspective. Today, Netflix-style services like Xbox Game Pass dominate the conversation among players. Even though it’s unlikely that Sony will ever say so directly, it’s clear that the rebooted PS Plus has been designed to claw back some of the mind-share it’s currently losing to Microsoft. Questions have been asked by fans and investors about how it would compete for years. Merging both of its subscription services is seemingly the answer it’s settled on.

Focusing on retro games and giving players access to an extensive catalog of classics is an undeniably great way for PS Plus to differentiate itself from Microsoft’s Game Pass. PlayStation has a slightly deeper legacy to draw on when compared to Xbox, so it makes sense that Sony has pulled out one of the trump cards it has within its deck. However, there’s a sense that the publisher needs to do more with brand-new releases before it can truly compete with its rival. After all, PlayStation Now has offered similar retro-themed benefits since 2014, and it’s still frequently been forgotten about by most of the gaming industry.

Adding game trials into the mix within PS Plus is a great way to make the service stand-out from the crowd, while adding value to its most expensive tier at the same time. With Sony seemingly being adamant that day-one first party content won’t be a feature of PS Plus’ incoming tiers, allowing players to test out some of the ecosystem’s latest releases is a smart compromise. It’ll take some time for the service to grow to the same level of Game Pass, but changing the game in this manner should allow PS Plus to cater to more players and sensibilities in the long-term.

More’ Expanded Content

Thanks to Sony’s apparent mandate and willingness to create game trials in-house, if the rumors come into effect, then PlayStation Plus’ library of content could be expanded exponentially. While bite-sized trials aren’t the same as being able to play a game in its entirety, there’s obvious appeal to the concept. It’s easy to imagine the ability to test out most games before buying them, through PS Plus, pushing the service to all-new levels. The concept could even make the subscription service’s higher tier as essential to the PlayStation ecosystem as the original service was, when paid multiplayer became a thing at the start of the PS4-era.

With weekly releases having become a standard feature of the gaming industry, it’s worth pointing out that PS Plus could be refreshed with new content almost every week. To some extent, Sony’s apparent vision for the service’s trials are therefore a modern-day equivalent of the demos that have faded from the industry over recent generations. During the 90s in particular, disc-based demos were a key part of the PlayStation ecosystem’s growth, to the point that they were available in everything from magazines to Pizza Hut orders. Adding game trials to PS Plus could be a game changer that taps into that exposure again, but within a modern setting.

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