Paid platinums are playing smart and going hard after PS Store changes

By Lee Brady,

Sony's attempts to hide the PS Store's paid platinum games problem have resulted in new cheap asset flips and 'press X for trophies' titles flooding the service harder, faster, and with a touch more intelligence than ever before.

New paid platinum games like Stroke the Dog, The Tiger T, and The Pig Quiz are finding new ways to achieve the bare minimum and swarm the PS Store, meaning Sony's paid platinum games headache is far from over. With the PS Store already drowning in paid platinum games, Sony changed the Store's default settings to hide paid platinum games from the majority of customers. Yet the damage of these trophy farms can still be felt everywhere on the PlayStation platform, and the next fix is going to take a bit more effort.

paid platinumThe poster frog for paid platinums.

Paid platinum games are only getting dumber and louder

The flood of paid platinum games — games that sell cheaply to help players earn quick and easy platinum trophies, often under $3 — joining the PlayStation Store has not been remotely stemmed after Sony's last intervention. Worse still, it's almost as if Sony's lazy attempt to 'fix' the problem has only drawn more attention to its weakness and invited its biggest pests to get bolder, with a whole host of new paid platinum games hitting the platform faster and louder than ever.

Where before we had 'Jumping [insert banal item]' games — and boy, do we still have those, as anyone who purchased The Jumping Ice Cream TURBO last week will tell you — we now also have somehow louder, dumber titles like Lump Jump. I mean, Qump Jump. Sorry, Nump Jump. The fact they don't have to try and make sense is fairly damning, Sony.

paid platinumBehold, new PlayStation games. Paid platinums have been highlighted.

There are, at time of writing, six Pretty Bird games (bad Flappy Bird clones, each of which has four regional variants containing the likes of Japanese Pretty Bird), four spin-offs of the Oktoberfest Break series of non-games, countless Burger Fun asset swaps, and a Frogo 2. Frogo, ever since you made our Popular PlayStation games chart, I've come to despise you most of all — not for what you are, but what you represent. Alright, and a little for what you are, you poor man's Frogger clone.

The quality of these games hardly matter — sure, you can technically learn something about cows from bashing through The Cow Quiz or about football by reading the titles of The Football A's trophies, and maybe it's possible you might even mistake The Wine Story as a game with actual game mechanics. Enjoyment and memorable experiences are entirely incidental when you're pumping these games out as quickly and with as little effort as possible — qualities that would not be all that threatening either, were it not for the various ways they impact how customers and developers use the PlayStation Store.

paid platinumWhile you finish typing your Sony-approved search term, this is what you'll see.

How paid platinum games ruin the PlayStation platform and the PS Store

It's hard to imagine any small or independent developers calling Sony's tidying away of the paid platinum games a 'fix,' as by making the default view of the PlayStation Store display 'best selling' titles instead of new games, Sony has casually raised yet another barrier between paying customers and the works of less established developers. Not that Sony doesn't offer a solution to this — after all, judging by Kotaku's report from last year, developers need only pay Sony somewhere between $25,000 to $200,000 for that promotion if they feel in any way slighted by the change.

The new games page is already a mess, what with it prioritising pre-orders and announced titles over games actually newly on sale, not to mention it is still being blighted by the perpetual presence of paid trophies. Somehow, however; Sony has allowed paid trophy games to take up slots in the announced section, too. This means that not only might a customer mistakenly choose one of these cash grabs over an actual game on the store, but they might even look forward to doing so without knowing the difference.

paid platinumYou can't preorder paid trophy games but you can see them ahead of release? What is this?

In the far more tangible negatives for customers, the existence of these games seems to have generally broken search results on the PS Store. The sheer scale and variety of these games means that they cover a veritable dictionary of search terms — how would anyone know that Pacmaga 2 isn't an adorable indie 2D platformer from the outset? Yet, if you were to search 2D platformers, you run as high a chance of finding this paid platinum game as you do finding even bigger titles like Cuphead.

Trophy hunters are hardly exempt from the damage either, as titles like Stroke the Cat have been able to get away with having 71 individual trophies. While very few diehards on TrueTrophies will be using that particular metric to count the worth of their trophies (hello, TrueTrophies Score!), many players out there do. With numbers this high for doing nothing, it's about to become as meaningless as most Steam achievements are. Not everyone is informed enough to know that buying a game with a cat on the cover is no longer the mark of an instant ten out of ten as our Stray review proved.

paid platinumOh god it's messing with my image template, it's too powerful!

It seems the entire paid platinum scene has merely been emboldened by Sony's actions, as not only are these games taking up more space and not trying nearly as hard to do so, but they're also using cats and dogs for evil. If that's not a signal to Sony that its digital storefront needs meaningful change, then we're going to need someone to make a Stroke the Ratchet so at least the copyright team gets involved. Let us know in the comments whether you've come across any more paid platinum games on your journey, and if you do happen to purchase one by accident, at least don't let the team down and complete it.
Lee Brady
Written by Lee Brady
Lee is a Staff Writer specialising in all things PlayStation. He loves talking about classic PS1 and PS2 games on PS Plus, picking apart the game design of new PlayStation Studios releases, and trying to explain his love for Sonic, Final Fantasy and Kingdom Hearts. He can also speak Japanese — albiet poorly.