The Challenges of Launching Games with Online Features in Restricted Countries

The Challenges of Launching Games with Online Features in Restricted Countries

Launching a game with online features in multiple countries can lead to technical challenges and restrictions that developers may not have initially considered. This is the case with the upcoming PC launch of Ghost Of Tsushima Director’s Cut, which will not be available on Steam in nearly 180 countries due to the requirement of players signing into a PSN account. The lack of PSN accounts in these countries has resulted in some players having their pre-orders auto-refunded by Steam, showcasing the limitations that online features can introduce when launching a game globally.

The addition of ‘purchase restricted countries’ to Ghost Of Tsushima highlights the impact of technical issues on the player experience. While the game is primarily a singleplayer experience, the requirement of a PSN account for the Legends online multiplayer mode and PlayStation overlay has raised concerns among players. This echoes the issues faced by Helldivers 2 players earlier this year, where the initial lack of mandatory account linking led to a flood of negative Steam reviews and ultimately a reversal of the requirement by Sony.

The response from developers Sucker Punch and Sony to the challenges faced by Ghost Of Tsushima and Helldivers 2 players has been mixed. While Sucker Punch confirmed that a PSN account is not required to play the singleplayer game, Sony’s decision to initially enforce the requirement for online features led to backlash from players in restricted countries. The subsequent drop of the requirement by Sony demonstrates the importance of player feedback in shaping decisions around online features and account restrictions.

Looking Ahead

As Ghost Of Tsushima prepares for its PC launch on Steam, the communication of account requirements and restrictions to players will be crucial in managing expectations and avoiding a repeat of the issues faced by Helldivers 2. While Sony may be less inclined to backtrack on account requirements this time, the potential impact on Steam reviews remains to be seen. The evolving landscape of game launches with online features in restricted countries underscores the need for developers and publishers to consider the global reach of their games and the implications of account restrictions on player accessibility and experience.


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