Monday, December 31, 2012

What It's Like To Buy A Game On PlayStation Network

So I bought a Vita two weeks ago and I love the thing to death. I've been having a blast with Rayman Origins, Frobisher Says!, and WipEout 2048 among other games, but really, I bought it for Lumines: Electronic Symphony.

I've been holding off on buying Lumines just in case it goes on sale during Sony's Holiday Essentials sales they've been doing, or if it gets added to the PlayStation Plus Instant Game Collection that already includes big hits like WipEout 2048 and Gravity Rush. I already have so many games to play for my Vita that waiting a few weeks seemed like a relief, honestly.

Well, here we are in the third and final week of Holiday Essentials and Lumines is finally on sale. Maybe. I think. I'm not really sure.

Here's where the confusion comes from:

The first post that announced the sale listed it as part of the last week of the Holiday Essentials promotion, giving it a sale price of $24.99 or $17.49 for Plus members. But that doesn't match up with the Holiday Essentials promotion accurately because Lumines got a price drop to $29.99 a few weeks ago. Since the Holiday sales are supposed to be 30% off normally and 50% for Plus members, the price should be $20.99 for regular members and $14.99 for Plus members, but they were using the old MSRP of $35.99. So already, there's a problem.

Then the second post comes in, this time advertising the PlayStation Plus content for the week, including the Holiday Essentials sales. This one has the same list, sans Lumines. It's just completely missing from the update. So does the sale exist or doesn't it? I asked Morgan Haro, PlayStation's Community Manager, to clear things up. He had three responses. Here's the first:

I believe Lumines may have been a typo and wasn’t part of the sale. I’ll ask that the team remove it from the Holiday Sale post. Apologies for the miscommunication there.

Okay, so that's a bummer. It's just not on sale at all. What a weird, incredibly detailed typo to make. Oh wait, hold on a second. Morgan's second response:

Actualy, [sic] correction: Lumines is sill on sale in the Holiday Sale, there just is not an extra discount for Plus members. So all should be accurate.

Wait, what? It's part of Holiday Essentials, but... not... part of Holiday Essentials? I don't really get it.

EXTRA Correction; it will still be on sale, just not part of the Holiday Sale. You’ll be able to find the discount for it under the “weekly deals’ section of the Store. Sorry, everyone is a bit on new Years [sic] break mode! =)

Okay, there we go. That's better. So it is on sale, but it's not part of Holiday Essentials and therefore, does not have an extra discount for Plus members but will be listed under the Weekly Deals section of the PlayStation Store. All right. Everything's totally clear now, right?

Not quite. Fast-forward to the third post of the day, the one explaining the PlayStation Store update for the week, including price drops, sales, special promotion, PlayStation Plus updates, everything. Ultimately, this is the post that matters. And this post doesn't mention Lumines at all. What is going on?

I logged into the PlayStation Store and checked out the Weekly Deals section and Lumines: Electronic Symphony is nowhere to be found, but Lumines Supernova is apparently on sale for $9.99. Was that the typo? Did they just totally misread which game they were putting on sale? So I looked up Electronic Symphony directly.

It's listed as $20.99, a $9 sale. That's pretty good. Given Sony's track record today, that might not be the final sale price, but I went ahead and bought it anyway. Meanwhile, there are still people in the comments of the PlayStation Store update post who are still understandably confused about whether Electronic Symphony is on sale or not.

There also appears to be some confusion over the price of Touch My Katamari and Skullgirls, but I just got out of a price discrepancy issue and don't feel like wading directly into another one, so that's somebody else's battle.

Figuring out how much Lumines: Electronic Symphony would be on sale for today (if at all) was a five-hour journey. Why was it that complicated? My best guess is to look at the authors of each post.

  1. Pierre Gravereau, Sony's Senior Manager of Digital Distribution, wrote the initial post about the Holiday Essentials sale.
  2. Morgan Haro, Community Manager of PlayStation Digital Platforms, wrote the next post, which outlined the PlayStation Plus update.
  3. Grace Chen, Director of the PlayStation Store, wrote the final post, which went over the PlayStation Store update for the week.

I'll take a wild guess and say that these three probably don't proofread each other's posts.

But they should. Straight up, this shouldn't happen. I get that it's the holidays, but it's happened before. There needs to be real coordination between the different branches of the PlayStation Network. There's no reason that three different people working at the same company should have three different answers for "is Lumines on sale?"

Regardless, I own Lumines: Electronic Symphony now and I'm pretty stoked about that, even if it did take me five hours to figure out how much it would cost.


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