PlayStation has had a relatively quiet April, all thing's considered. With no big game releases and no studio acquisitions, some of its most notable news this month came when it invested more in Epic Games and the metaverse. Rumors also point towards PlayStation testing the possibility of selling advertisements in games, and most people met that news with as much enthusiasm as you'd expect.
PlayStation invests big money in Epic Games and the metaverse
I'm tired of hearing about the metaverse. You're probably tired of hearing about the metaverse. The world is tired of hearing about the metaverse. But unfortunately, the metaverse is here to stay. That means we get to see video game companies spend even more money investing in it, like PlayStation just did with Epic Games.
With this third round of investments, PlayStation just banked $1 billion on the metaverse and "the development of new digital fan experiences." Please try to contain your excitement. But really, though, it does make sense with PlayStation's acquisition of Bungie and its increasing efforts in the live-service vector. Plus, Epic's huge hit Fortnite is the closest gaming has right now to an actual metaverse.
This news came just days after Epic Games showcased Unreal Engine 5, nearly two years since its initial announcement in 2020. Going forward, more developers plan on using Unreal Engine 5 over their own proprietary tech, like CD Projekt RED, which just announced that the next Witcher game would be built on Unreal Engine. Crystal Dynamics also announced that the next Tomb Raider game is in the works on Unreal Engine 5 as well.
Is PlayStation about to start selling ads in games?
Because the future is terrible, PlayStation may soon start selling advertisements in games, a move that could mimic a feature reportedly in the works at Microsoft for Xbox. The new report, coming from Business Insider, references three people familiar with the plans who've stated that Sony has already begun testing with adtech partners. This will supposedly help pave the way for free-to-play developers to monetize their games more effectively, and is expected to launch sometime by the end of the year.
Personally? I hate it. No thanks. Go away. I don't need any more ads in my life. Games are already upwards of $70 and a new console is at least $400. No. That being said, we'll have to see how it all shakes out, or if it'll become something to worry about to begin with.
PlayStation Studios wins six BAFTA Awards
The 18th BAFTA Games awards saw PlayStation Studios take home six titles for its work on Returnal and Ratchet and Clank: Rift Apart. Returnal took home the awards for Best Game, Audio Achievement, Music, and Performer in a Leading Role with Jane Perry's performance as Selene. Ratchet and Clank: Rift Apart also managed to grab awards for Animation and Technical Achievement. All in all, it was a pretty good night for PlayStation games.
While there are plenty of awards ceremonies throughout the year and PlayStation will no doubt win more, the BAFTAs have a level of prestige that some others do not. It's great to see PlayStation Studios get recognized for its work once again.
PlayStation Plus overhaul set for June
PlayStation revealed its plans to overhaul PlayStation Plus last month with a tentative summer 2022 timeline. The company has now given target dates for when players can expect the revamp to take effect. Per Sony:
- Asia markets (excluding Japan) – targeting May 23, 2022
- Japan – targeting June 1, 2022
- Americas – targeting June 13, 2022
- Europe – targeting June 22, 2022
PlayStation also announced that its expanding its cloud streaming access to include Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Greece, Hungary, Malta, Poland, Republic of Cyprus, Romania, Slovakia, and Slovenia. As streaming becomes increasingly important, I'm glad to see Sony expanding its efforts to make it more accessible.
According to a report from Game Developer, PlayStation will also allegedly require some developers to offer a 2-hour limited trial of their games for PlayStation Plus Premium members. Sony will reportedly handle creating the timed trials for developers, and it only applies to developers whose games cost more than $34 wholesale.
And if you happened to stack up on memberships ahead of the June overhaul in the hopes of saving money, you're out of luck. Sony quietly disabled membership stacking temporarily ahead of the revamp. It's understandable that Sony wouldn't want people stacking 10 years' worth of memberships at a time, but it's odd that the company didn't make the announcement publicly. Instead, it quietly updated PlayStation Plus' FAQ.
The rest of the year will be... interesting
Though E3 has been canceled, we're gearing up for E3 season. The summer is sure to be full of major game announcements and showcases thanks to Summer Games Fest and separate publisher showcases. With God of War Ragnarok seemingly still releasing this year, we could be seeing it in action sooner rather than later. I'm hoping for some surprises in the coming months, and considering that the rest of PlayStation's slate this year is rather barren, I'm excited to see what's next.
– Jennifer Locke
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