Opinion: SCEE Need to Fix Their PSN Updates

Sony have a problem, or at least Sony Computer Entertainment Europe does. It’s a problem they’ve had for a long while, and one that constantly manages to erase any good will they manage to build up via things like PlayStation Plus.

I am, of course, talking about SCEE’s PSN updates, an issue that seems to have hounded them since the launch of SCEE’s chunk of PSN.

The problem, as I’m sure many of you know, is that games which arrive on the PSN in other regions can be missing from the European version for weeks or even months. English speakers seem the most annoyed by the whole situation, with games popping up on the US store seeming so close to accessible, although I can’t imagine anyone else is particularly pleased by the delays.

[drop2]It seems that almost every time the store update is posted on the PSN blog it’s instantly hit by complaints of missing content.

They aren’t the type of sporadic complaints that crop up on just about everything that gets posted to the internet either, it’s always a fairly persistent level of dissent from a pretty significant chunk of the blog’s comments.

It really can’t be a fun job for those running the blog, especially given the amount of straight up abuse they get (something that would have had me resigning within weeks).

The latest complaints come about Counter-Strike: Global Offensive and the Walking Dead Episode 3, two games that have both appeared on the US PSN store but seem to have little information about when they’ll really make the leap over the Atlantic.

That is, in a nutshell, the problem: the lack of communication.

I’m not saying that if those running the EU PSN blog put out estimations and reasons behind the delays that there’d be wide spread love and adoration for delays, but it would be better than being left completely in the dark about when a game might arrive. Of course, the latest blog post did feature the following paragraph:

I know a lot of you were hoping for news on Counter Strike: Global Offensive but I’m afraid I’ve no new information to share today. Rest assured we’ll update you as soon as possible.

However, that’s almost worse than having no information about the delay at all. An acknowledgement that CS:GO isn’t there is something, but it’s still not like they’re really providing much information or insight into the problem.

That problem, or at least the typically suspected one, is localising it for the pretty huge number of countries and languages that SCEE covers. I can’t deny that it seems to be a big issue, and without an inside track I can’t tell you what they’re doing that Microsoft aren’t, or what Microsoft are doing to make everything, seemingly, run much smoother. However, at a glance at least, it does seem that they’re managing to put stuff out in a way that Sony simply aren’t.

Whilst in some ways it may seem like a minor problem for Sony, it really is going to start costing them as we move toward the release of a new generation of consoles. As a comment this week’s update rather simply puts it:

THIS IS A JOKE! My next console will be an XBOX! I prefer to pay to get online BUT HAVING ACCESS TO GAMES ON RELEASE, not even weeks after the rest!

This is something that our very own Peter pointed out when I was talking to him about this issue as well; if Sony don’t sort things out it really could drag down their sales in Europe.

How much could it damage their sales? I don’t know, but if SCEE fix their delays then brand loyalty might not be enough to keep selling as many consoles in Europe.

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36 Comments

  1. I’ll always have a Playstation, I only got an Xbox because I got it very cheap and a lot of my friends have one. This EU issue doesn’t change that for me. Whilst I am pretty annoyed with SCEE and there is absolutely NO reason why they shouldn’t be keeping up with Microsoft, I’m not going to switch my console alignment because of this one, relatively small, problem. Even so, it doesn’t mean I won’t change my mind if this gets any worse.

  2. The QA that SCEA does before a game is released and the QA that SCEE does (at least on the English version) – is that not just the same work being done twice?

    I can’t think of any other company who would be happy to do such inefficient things…

    CS: Europe Offensive oops Global Offensive.

  3. I’d be surprised if even one in ten were that concerned by or knowledgeable enough about this issue. The people it hurts the most, though, are the developers and publishers who have to work within this system. They’re building PR campaigns around a certain launch date and then so regularly are hit by this spanner in the works that sets their EU launch on one platform out of sync by weeks if not months.

    That’s the kind of thing that will absolutely obliterate sales, and if it continues, it could see publishers starting to threaten shunning Sony’s platforms.

    • Yup, a delayed release this side of the atlantic usually bombs in comparison to how well it seems to do in the US, leaving the 360 /PC versions to hoover up the hyped launch sales

    • Not such a problem when you’ve conned customers into paying upfront for a subscription!

      • it’s a problem if you hope to sell more games in future though.

  4. I didn’t get a PS1 as I was always a SEGA fan boy, loved my PS2, had some good times on my PS3 but am indifferent to it as there’s a lot that annoys me too. SCEE’s actions over the life of the console are small part of that.

    So I don’t have any loyalty to PlayStation, my custom is up for grabs next-gen, it’s largely the output from Sony’s studios Vs all the effort MS put in to wanting you as a customer, it’s quite an onslaught that can be compelling from a desire to always be the price leader to securing bags of exclusive content, not just on disc but mainly digitally and I like the sound of MS’ second screen approach where I can use any smartphone and not have to fork out for a Sony handheld I don’t want.

    Would a massively improved approach from SCEE that doesn’t see stuff like GoW Collection come out 6 months later than the US or digital titles like Castlevania SotN not appear ever, make any difference?
    I’m not so sure, I’m really into PC stuff at the minute from the 1000’s of free/cheap indie titles to the superior quality of the blockbuster releases, console gaming itself will probably lose me next-gen.

    • The gap in retail releases are very rare, yes GOW collection was out several months earlier in the US but Europe has had the Ratchet HD collection month earlier too.

      Sony games they can sort out but I don’t see how Castlevania SotN not getting release in a region is down to Sony. Surely there are only 3 reason this can happen.

      1. a fundamental game breaking bug
      2. developer/publisher hasn’t submitted for the region
      3. licensing issues legally prevent them

      Delays I understand can because of different QA but never being released?

      What they really need to it split up the SCEE region into a few smaller ones. so games can be localised for a smaller number of countries at a time. The SCEE is massively compared to Xbox Europe

  5. Whilst I can see the problem & understand the somewhat misplaced anger by some on the blog, they fail to see the bigger picture. SCEE covers a huge variety of countries & their various laws, unlike the USA & Japanese stores. Unfortunately it’s doubtful that us in the UK will ever get a sole store, regardless of how much profit it makes.

    • The more countries they cover, the more revenue streams they have to get the sort of thing wrapped up with no impact

    • You say that but MS manage to get releases out in Europe on time as stated in the article. So how can they use this as the reason for the delays.

    • but scee have shown they have no problem releasing content in just a few, or even one, country.

  6. People seem to forget that SCEE have nailed retail releases of late, and MOST digital stuff is on time, and potentially Plus supported.

    Whilst the lack of info from SCEE mouthpieces is frustrating, it’s really not that back anymore. Not really.

    • i’d bet they have a whole different department handling that side.

      and they haven’t been so hot on occasions.

      i remember a month long delay for warhawk on disc, and for that wait they just took off the making of video.

  7. I’m glad you brought this up. I’m one of the unlucky one’s who wants CS:GO (one of the few fps that is compatible with Move) and been waiting almost 2 weeks on any bit of info about when its getting a release date. You would think SCEE would have informed us of the delay a week or so before launch or at the very least given us a date by now. (HOW [email protected](KING HARD IS THAT SCEE!) Instead they keep us in the dark just like they did when they got hacked. Their apologies mean nothing to me any more. If I still had my 360 I would have jumped ship by now, Move or not.

    Good article Kris.

  8. I ditched the 360 in 2008. After the hacking incident when most of my mates switched consoles and a slew of SCEE cockups I went back to 360 and while I dont agree with somethings at least the games come out ehen promised and as far as retail is concerned usually work game killing bug free.

    You hit the nail on the head though, i can deal with a game not coming out as long as you tell me when i can expect to see it. The hacking incident is the best example, nearly two weeks to tell us our private details have been stolen lol.

    Released movd and then did no follow though. I even fell for the old buy a vita spiel, cheap games on the store and regular updates to follow. Sold it 2 months later as Sony forgot all about.

    I imagine SCEE is treated like the sick child kept in the cupboad fed on scraps. Sony need to wake up and realise 2 things saved the PS3…the EU and Naughty Dog!

    • WELL SAID.

    • it was not 2 weeks in the real world telling people things without checking the severs to no what has happened is even more stupid. the 360 gets hacked daily to this day.

      there was no Vita spiel that is your own fault for thinking you would like one it had a great launch line up. games take a long time to make if you want them to be good, the Vita has a huge catalogue now this no games crap confuses me.

      • I couldn’t have said it any better skib… :)

      • Woah, someones confused critisim and comment with me saying the Playstation is shit lol

        There is simply no excusing SCEE for not telling us the status of something like Counter Strike when all platforms and all formats got it BUT SCEE.

        How do they not know until the day? Why havent they learned about communication?

        It seriouslt is a company that doesnt want to make money. All they get from me is cash for their excellent exclusives.

    • I couldn’t have said it any better Blastiel… :)

  9. What I don’t understand is when stuff goes up on the store that you have no idea what it actually is! Last week there was something called European Assault Pack (or something like that) and the thumbnail was of a plane. No more information whatsoever. How are people gonna buy your dlc (assuming it is dlc), if it doesn’t even state what game it’s for! How does that even pass the QA before uploading?

    Also, when you search for something, it comes up with tons of results, but with no information as to whether it’s the trial, or dlc, or a video, or anything! Not even the price to make an educated guess. So you have to click on each one, only to find out it’s not what you are looking for, then when you go back to the search results, the price suddenly appears! The whole thing is just so backwards and antiquated. Needs a total revamp.

    • Yeah it’s weird they don’t have the icons which say say “demo” or “add-on” like they do on the US store & the descriptions for the more obscure stuff that you really need the descriptions for is frequently rubbish

    • is it any wonder?
      when they seem incapable of even getting the size of the files they’re putting up.
      on the US store many of the titles have the download size in the description.

      seriously, if even a simple thing like that is beyond their ability or will, then is it really any surprise they screw up so often?

  10. What can I say…. I am aware, but not concerned… if it became more widespread then I would probably become more concerned and see it as the final push towards buying that XBox I talking myself out of.

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