Well, sort of. Speaking on the European PlayStation Blog, SCEE’s PlayStation Store Team member Ross McGrath talked about a couple reason why a game may or may not be published on the PlayStation Network. Many fans wonder why Europe gets a game, but the U.S. doesn’t, or why a game is released in Japan and the U.S., but Europe gets the bum end of the stuck. Well, he hit on these things, and more. Let’s take a look at some comments he made.
First off, one of the big reasons – and this is an ongoing process for Sony – is that they need to get legal clearance to publish the game in a respective territory. McGrath mentioned that they still have some games in the wings that they’ve been seeking legal rights to publish from as far back as 2007. He also mentioned Wild Arms (yes, the original!) as one of the titles that will be coming our way soon, as they’ve just recently gained the publishing rights to it. Never played Wild Arms? Shame on you!
Another reason – and one gamers typically don’t think about – is that all these games are run on an emulator on your PS3 or PSP. That emulator is not perfect and isn’t an original PlayStation. Bugs can crop up – lots of bugs.
“When I say bugs, I mean giant cockroach sized uber-bugs. I have seen a lot of PSone QA reports with some weird and wonderful errors – menu screens with upside down text, explosions that kill your character at random after watching a cut scene, games that continue to slow down the longer you play them, or music that sounds like it’s coming from the bottom of a well… the list goes on.
If a bug makes the game completely unplayable or otherwise ruins your experience then that’s a fail and the game cannot be published.”
It’s interesting to note that, when we think of bugs today we think of patches that can squash said bugs. This can’t be done with PS1 classics, some of which are nearing 15 years old. The bugs may be because of the software or hardware emulator that runs on your system, which is updated with new firmware updates as time goes by, so they will go back and look at previously buggy titles to see if they run better on a newer version of the emulator. If so, they may just get published.
I think there is a lot more that goes on behind the scenes than most gamers realize with the legal and QA processes. So, we should most definitely be thankful when a classic finally makes its way to the PSN that we’ve been looking forward to, because a lot of hard work goes in to making that possible.