ron, Jun-30-2007

The Barren Plains of PSN

We all know that the PS3 launched late in Europe. We'd argue that the Japanese and US-American launches were pulled off far too early anyway, looking at the software side of things. Resistance: Fall Of Man is excellent beyond words, but it had to carry the torch alone for far too long.
Of course it's ceasing to be like that, with some interesting titles coming out soonish. Just hit the PSN Store and check out all the … uh oh.

Just nine demos

This, folks, is the full list of game demos currently available to German residents who chose not to lie about their personal data when signing up with the Playstation Network.

Let's just list the obvious things that are missing:

  1. Resistance: Fall Of Man
    The best game on the system. A majority of PS3 owners get this as their first game, and rightly so, but you'd think a demo or two could convince some of the doubters as well.
    And do take note that advertising and selling this game comercially is no trouble at all even in the most restrictive crevices of Europe.
  2. Ninja Gaiden Sigma
    After almost eight months this elaborate meat-slicing simulation is the first serious competition for best-on-the-system that Resistance has ever seen and the demo has been out for over a month now. But not for us, dear audience, not for us. Even though … you know.
  3. Armored Core
    A fast-paced giant-robot third-person-shooter with simplistic graphics. Only Americans may import Japanese style though, apparently.
  4. Full Auto 2: Launch Title
  5. That one horrible baseball game
  6. The One We Forgot (we always do)

Meanwhile we're supposed to sit here and play the Virtua Tennis 3 demo, which is awful on way too many levels for the five minutes it lasts.

Bickering about the exact selection any further seems to be a waste of breath. We're at a complete loss why this regional segregation is necessary at all. The PS3 is the modern bastion of parental control, with a per-user violence allowance that can only be configured from the password-protected master account, so if there is any concern about content being inappropriate for specific ages … oh wait, no, that doesn't explain anything, because last we heard kids actually do exist even in the USA. So screw that.

Oi it might be that the demos would have to be adapted for that pesky "PAL" thing, right? The PS3 outputs HD signals that are (finally) fully standardized internationally. 720p is 720p everywhere on the planet, yes, even in France, so screw that, too. For owners of coal-powered tell-e-visions Sony opted to bank on a 576p output mode for PAL regions, which is pretty strange (Nintendon't, for one, and there's nothing wrong with that). We'd like to point out that every TV sold in the region in the last twenty years can display PAL60, which is a NTSC-feelalike (480i, 60Hz), and makes these conversions trivial. Certain high-profile games have even been released on the PS2 and the Gamecube that require this support. So it can't be that important to keep an eye out for that fringe minority that couldn't get 480i signals to work now, can it?

Oh and for the record, if you don't understand enough English to be able to play game demos, that's something you should fix asap, but even so, you'd still have the option to not play the demos that the majority of PS3 owners would like to have available.

We think we just about covered all bases now. Dear Sony, release the stuff. Quick. There's no excuse for withholding the goods for so long. We haven't even complained about Gundam Musou, that came out just yesterday on the American PSN, and a small delay is yet understandable. Neither did we mention Folklore, even though we tentatively do want, but we'll allow another couple of weeks for that, too.

But of course there's a workaround for some of our woes. Pretend to live at the address of, say, a cinema in Orlando, Florida, and the European PSN delayathon is all naught. When asked whether or not we are ourselves tricksters of such calibre we'd wink, but let's rather look at the significant statistical evidence that shall prove that pretty much everyone on this soil likes to pose as an American PS3 owner in their spare time:

Free downloads completely dominate US PSN statistics, while German stats show payed downloads

So the US-Americans flock to free downloads, such as demos and trailers, while the Europeans ignore all that and rather let things that actually cost money invade their charts. Nonsense? Oh how so, the picture proves it!

That's not what your statistics look like when a minority chooses to "import" from another place. These are the looks of a mass phenomenon. The majority of PS3 owners here don't seem to even bother with their designated regional PSN Store. It's irrelevant by design. Hence the people get their respective demo and trailer fixes elsewhere, and use the "correct" store only when it comes to purchasing things. Oh and while we're on the "purchasing" topic: release the freaking PSN money cards already. Credit cards are hardly common in Europe. A product only available via credit card is a product that won't sell. Sheesh.

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