March has been a big month for PlayStation as it gears up for the remainder of the year. Though God of War Ragnarok is still nowhere to be seen, the company has plenty in store for the months to come. A State of Play showcased some upcoming games from several Japanese publishers, quickly overshadowed by a Hogwarts Legacy State of Play just over a week later. And that's not to mention everything else that happened this month.
PlayStation has been busy with acquisitions — buying up Jade Raymond's Haven Studios — and it announced its long-rumored PlayStation Plus revamp set to go live this summer. Between that and much more, here's everything you may have missed in the world of PlayStation for March 2022.
PlayStation Plus gets revamped and no one is happy
Sony announced some big changes to PlayStation Plus. It's being combined with PlayStation Now and will be offered in three separate tiers. This revamp has been a long time coming, and though it's only the beginning of some changes at PlayStation, it still marks a large shift for the publisher.
PlayStation Plus Essential, which is PlayStation Plus in its current form, will be offered for its usual $60 per year or $10 per month. PlayStation Plus Extra is where it gets interesting. PS Plus Extra costs $100 per year (or $15 per month) and comes with the usual PS Plus benefits and a catalog of 400 PS4 and PS5 games. PlayStation Plus Premium will set back subscribers a whopping $120 per year (or $18 per month), and includes everything from the Essential and Extra tiers, along with an additional 340 classic games that can be streamed and limited-time game trials.
Fans have been quick to compare this to Microsoft's Game Pass service, specifically noting how PS Plus will not include first-party day-one releases. This is something PlayStation CEO Jim Ryan says would hurt the quality of its titles, which are known for being some of the best games in the business. This hasn't sat well with those on social media, many pointing towards Game Pass as proof that it can work.
I think it's only a matter of time before Sony follows suit, but it won't be any time soon. Until then, I'll still pick up the Premium option.
Gran Turismo 7 and the PlayStation Network have some trouble
Online functionality hasn't been PlayStation's strong suit this month. First, Gran Turismo 7 experienced some unexcepted maintenance that led to it being unplayable for over 24 hours, and then the PlayStation Network went offline after a PS5 update.
In Gran Turismo 7's case, the downtime was the result of an issue discovered where the game would not start properly following an update. Considering that Gran Turismo 7 can be played entirely solo but still needs an internet connection, it didn't sit well with fans that the game they paid for was unplayable, especially after the community had already aired its frustrations regarding the game's grind.
About a week later, the PS5 received a firmware update. Afterwards, however, players reported they could no longer access their PS Plus subscription or their games. It's unclear what the cause of this issue was, but the massive spike on DownDetector shows that players were not happy.
Speaking of GT7, Sony pulled it from sale in Russia
Shortly after its release on March 3, players began to notice that Gran Turismo 7 wasn't available in Russia, seemingly having been pulled from storefronts in light of the country's invasion of Ukraine. Sony did not comment on it at first, but days later released a statement saying that it had halted all hardware and software shipments to Russia. Additionally, the PlayStation Store is not available in Russia at the moment.
Other companies like Apple, Microsoft, and Nintendo have pulled their products from Russia.
Ghostwire: Tokyo barely makes a splash at launch
Tango Gameworks may have been hoping for Ghostwire: Tokyo to see the same success as The Evil Within franchise, but it appears to have launched to a lukewarm response. Our own review called it a game that "ultimately runs out of ideas," with repetitive combat and awful pacing. It's currently sitting at a 75 on Metacritic based on 105 reviews. Not great, not terrible.
I know I won't be playing it as I was told that there's a boss that takes the form of a disgusting spider. I don't need that in my life.
March State of Play overshadowed by Hogwarts Legacy
Before Hogwarts Legacy had its own State of Play, Sony held another that highlighted games coming from its Japanese publishers. This State of Play revealed titles like Exoprimal and Valkyrie Elysium, along with updates on games like Forspoken and Strangers of Paradise. Despite tempering expectations, PlayStation seemed to disappoint the crowd.
Many on social media called the State of Play underwhelming, and it didn't help that the show began with what many were hoping would be a Dino Crisis reboot (it was Exoprimal). Regardless of what you thought, Sony held a much bigger showcase over a week later that certainly caught everyone's attention.
Hogwarts Legacy still surrounded by controversy
With the prior State of Play in the rearview window, Sony announced a show dedicated entirely to Hogwarts Legacy. It looks to be everything Harry Potter fans have ever dreamed of, with RPG elements that allow you to be a student at Hogwarts, a character creator, and a lot of the settings fans have grown to love. However, J.K. Rowling's association has mired it in controversy.
Rowling, the author of the Harry Potter series, has spent years on social media echoing transphobic rhetoric, undoubtedly harming a community she claims to support. This has caused many to denounce the game and refuse to support it with their money. Though Rowling isn't directly involved in its development, she still created the universe in, which it is based and earns royalties from Harry Potter media, so it's likely she had some input.
If you'd rather donate to a charitable cause that supports the transgender community, you can donate to National Center for Transgender Equality, GLAAD, Mermaids, or the Transgender Legal Defense & Education Fund.
More women add statements in the discrimination lawsuit against PlayStation
Back in November 2021, Axios reported that an ex-PlayStation employee had filed a gender discrimination lawsuit against the company, alleging that Sony "tolerates and cultivates a work environment that discriminates against female employees." Emma Majo, a former IT security analyst at PlayStation, also alleges that she was terminated for speaking out against this discrimination.
Just this month, Axios unveiled a new report that stated eight more women had come forward to add their accounts to the discrimination suit. According to the report, these women described patterns of demeaning comments, unwelcome advances, and a sense that it was harder to be acknowledged and promoted as a woman at PlayStation.
In response to the original report and lawsuit, Sony said it "categorically denies" all allegations.
I expect more allegations to come out throughout the year as the lawsuit picks up steam. During a time in the video games industry where multiple companies have had to deal with similar lawsuits, allegations, and settlements, it'll be harder to sweep under the rug like so many have done in the past.
A long year ahead
Acquisitions will surely pick up as Sony looks to purchase new talent, and players will finally get to see that PlayStation Plus revamp in June, providing just a taste of what's to come. PlayStation still has a big year ahead of it, and as we approach the summer, it'll only get busier.
– Jennifer Locke
Jennifer Locke has been playing video games nearly her entire life. You can find her posting pictures of her dog and obsessing over PlayStation and Xbox, Star Wars, and other geeky things.
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