You may not know it, but this week marks the second week of Sony’s Festive Giveaway promotion for PlayStation Mobile. For five weeks, starting last week, two PS Mobile games are being given away to users for free. These games are playable on both PlayStation Certified Android devices and PS Vitas and are created by a community of hobbyists and indie developers.
What’s that? You’ve never heard of PS Mobile? You are not alone, nor are you a bad person for not even knowing what the program is. Despite the attempt to future-proof the PlayStation brand on cellular devices, Sony has left this small section of its videogames catalog to dry up in the sun, dying slowly and painfully, much like the Minis. However, there are some really great games amongst the mobile titles, and they deserve some much needed love. What can Sony do to make these titles more relevant to gamers?
PS Mobile games have had a better start than some of Sony’s other projects, with placement right on the PS Vita store and advertisements within the Live areas of the device. However, the PS Mobile titles are relegated to their own section of the store, like they have a virus of some sort. Why not place the games with the rest of the updates?
Give some more visibility to these smaller titles. There are plenty of people who pop in to the store just to look at what’s new and leave without ever looking passed the ‘Just Added’ tab. This means that these users don’t even look at the PS Mobile games, much less play them. Adding the games to the typical store update could do wonders for the sales of these games and make them a true part of the PlayStation brand. Plus, this would streamline the store for users who enjoy the mobile games, allowing them to get updates on the PS Mobile releases without having to dig through the store.
Sony has been great with the various special sales it runs on the PS Store. Every year, at least four times a year (including right now!), there are sales for all kinds of games, ranging from the small indie games to full retail titles, except for PS Mobile games. PS Mobile games hardly ever even price drops! I know part of this has to do with the developers themselves, but as far as I know there isn’t even a program in place for developers to work with Sony to be part of any seasonal sales.
So why not add them to sales? The games are already pretty moderately priced, but slightly more expensive than the average mobile game on other platforms. By giving them the opportunity to get involved in the seasonal sales, the PS Mobile games will get more visibility and more purchases simply from people making the impulse purchases off the sale.
Or, better yet….
Include with PS Plus
…Put some of these games on PS Plus. There are a much smaller selection of PS Mobile games, but there are some great games none the less, so why not add this little selection to PS Plus. Sony has made a great push for a unified user experience across all devices, where you have one user ID that stores your saves, your trophies, your friends and your free PS Plus games, so it just makes sense to add these titles.
If two games were put up a month for free and only rotated out once a month, those free games would get played and it would bring more attention to the PS Mobile titles. Plus, PS Plus becomes even more of a bargain and anyone who owns a PlayStation Certified Android device now has access to free games to play every month. This would only raise the praise every user has for PS Plus, and would allow those that don’t have Vitas to be included on the program while gaming on the go.
For the love of God, add some trophy support. Whether you like them or not, trophies are here and are very popular amongst gamers. I personally love trophies, and the fact that I can’t earn any while playing PS Mobile games is the biggest turn off to trying out these smaller, homebrew games. On top of turning people off from playing these games, it sends a message to the consumer that these games are not true PlayStation games, which is totally bogus. If they weren’t PlayStation games, then why should a developer specifically come to PlayStation Mobile instead of Android or iOS?
Limit it if that’s what it takes. I don’t care if the largest trophy on a PS Mobile game is a Silver, but I want to collect trophies. One of my favorite features of the Vita is trophy support for the games I play, and it seems really silly to not have trophy support for games that I can play on my Vita as well as my phone.
The PlayStation program may be Sony’s way of future proofing itself against the cellphone gaming market, but at its current state, the program is weak. There are good games available, but they are lost in the minutia of the PS Store and Sony’s own unwillingness to incorporate the games as true PlayStation titles. Hopefully this is fixed soon because these games and their developers deserve to be incorporated with the rest of the PlayStation armada of games.
As always, leave your comments below. I like to talk with anyone willing to comment on my work.