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PlayStation Plus – Waiting for the Rest of the World

Want to feel nostalgic for the good old days? Be a PlayStation Plus subscriber in Europe and suddenly it’ll feel like the year 2000 all over again.

Message boards are full of excited people analysing the minute details of Sony’s new subscription service. Japanese and American fans are comparing lists, celebrating engorged backlogs, and wondering what fantastic PS1 and PS2 games will be coming next. And us here in Europe are watching from afar, like the DnD King at a football match.

Worldwide release dates are a godsend. It’s not always gotten right all of the time, but gone are the days where Kingdom Hearts is released in March in Japan and November in the UK. Even so, the odd occasion where it happens still hurts.

The rollout will be coming to European PlayStation owners on June 23.

The Wrong Kind of Nostalgia

Kingdom Hearts isn’t alone in its annoying release delays, although it’s a good example. The American version came out in September 2002, six months after the original Japanese release. And then EU countries had to wait another two months on top of that.

Final Fantasy X was released in July 2001, with EU players having to wait until May the following year to get their hands on it. American players got it in December 2001.

It’s not just Square Enix or even Japanese games that had this problem. The original God of War came to PlayStation 2 on March 22 2005 in America, and on July 8 2005 in EU. Grand Theft Auto 3 was a fairly joined up affair on PlayStation 2, coming out just three days apart in America and EU territories in October 2001. Xbox players had longer to wait. It came out in October 2003 for American Xbox owners. PAL players had to wait until January 2004.

I could go on and on.

Rock, Paper, Shotgun launched a petition in 2011 calling for this practice to be changed. It was signed by less than 1,400 people, but it eventually just about sorted itself out. Worldwide release dates are more of a given these days. If it’s a major game, you’ll as often as not be playing it at the same time as everyone else. That means Japanese-speaking trolls can’t spoil the endings to games any longer.

Nonetheless it still sometimes happens. And the EU is still usually the ugly stepsister in that story.

Waiting for PlayStation Plus

It’s obvious why PlayStation Plus’s new subscription tiers are taking their time in coming to us. We’re a big play, Europe. In fact, Europe is a bit of a misnomer. It’s actually Europe, plus Australia and New Zealand. Rolling out a subscription service worldwide is asking for issues. Test it on ever-increasing markets.

Which is fine and sensible. You know, on paper. On an individual level it’s a bit disappointing. I want to get into Assassin’s Creed Valhalla. Returnal is still on my to-do list. Hell, I’ll be honest, I just want to add a bunch of games to my already broken backlog.

Of course, you never remember the wait. Kingdom Hearts isn’t a happy memory for me because I waited six months to play it. It’s a happy memory because it was such a fantastic game.

But still, it’d be nice for Europe to be on the front row for once.


Article By

blank Mat Growcott has been a long-time member of the gaming press. He's written two books and a web series, and doesn't have nearly enough time to play the games he writes about.

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Twitter: @matgrowcott