Kaser Focus: I’m SpartaPlus

GamesBeat Summit 2022 returns with its largest event for leaders in gaming on April 26-28th. Reserve your spot here!


Happy April Fool’s Day, everyone! Is it me, or has this whole week felt kind of like an extended April 1 prank? We’ve heard lots of rumors and phantom stories about stuff that’s going to happen. And the biggest stories sound like things that would have been jokes only a few years ago. Oh well, here’s some good news: The GamesBeat Summit has a great line-up of speakers!

E3 is canceled this year. I am not upset about it, because I think it’s happening for the right reason. I can speculate about the relevance of E3 to the modern games industry until my fingers detach and clatter onto my keyboard, but a big in-person celebration is still just not a good idea right now.

Will E3 return? Should E3 return? No clue! But we’re probably going to enjoy more Nintendo Directs, States of Play, and Geoff Keighley’s reminders to us that he knows Hideo Kojima. You know, how we would have been spending our summer anyway!

Of course, we also got the official reveal of the new PlayStation Plus update, previously codenamed “Spartacus.” There’s a joke there about Sony referencing a story best known for the scene of a group pretending to be someone they’re not in order to bamboozle others. I’m not sharp enough on a Friday to make it.

Everyone and their dog (and me) has compared the new PS Plus to Xbox Game Pass, and that’s understandable. Whether they mean to or not, Sony is practically inviting the comparison. But remove Xbox Game Pass from the equation, and what does SpartaPlus look like? Sony revealed that it’s finally bringing back older games to new PlayStation consoles — but only if you pay for it’s most expensive tier. This will give you access to not only PS3 games, but select games from the PS1, PS2, and PSP eras.

I wonder if it’s wise to lock backwards compatibility behind such a high paywall, given it’s a feature Sony has never before showed interest in supporting. It almost feels like Sony realized that playing older games is something users wanted and is including it as a carrot to get people to buy the higher tiers, not because it’s something they believe gamers should have.

Other than that, it’s been a fun week: I’ve just been playing Kirby and the Forgotten Land and Tiny Tina’s Wonderlands while waiting for some big non-SpartaPlus Sony news to drop. At the time of this writing, it hasn’t happened. There’s always next week.

Also, I just want to add: RIP Lovestruck. If you know, you know.

What to play this week

What’s new:

  • Crusader Kings III for next-gen
  • Weird West
  • Death Stranding Director’s Cut for PC
  • Moss: Book II
  • Ikai

New on subscription services:

  • Weird West (Xbox Game Pass)
  • Another Sight (Xbox Gold)
  • Outpost Kaloki X (Xbox Gold)
  • Deliver Us the Moon (Stadia Pro)
  • City Legends: The Curse of the Crimson Shadow Collector’s Edition (Stadia Pro)
  • Ys IX: Monstrum Nox (Stadia Pro)
  • Chicken Police – Paint it RED! (Stadia Pro)
  • Earthworm Jim 2 (Nintendo Switch Online)
  • Mappy-Land (Nintendo Switch Online)
  • Dig Dug II (Nintendo Switch Online)
  • The Elder Scrolls 4: Oblivion (Prime Gaming)
  • Plants vs. Zombies: Battle for Neighborville (Prime Gaming)
  • Monkey Island 2 Special Edition: LeChuck’s Revenge (Prime Gaming)
  • Nanotale – Typing Chronicles (Prime Gaming)
  • Guild of Ascension (Prime Gaming)
  • Turnip Boy Commits Tax Evasion (Prime Gaming)
  • Galaxy of Pen and Paper (Prime Gaming)
  • House of 1000 Doors: Family Secrets (Prime Gaming)

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