Video game demos have always been a good way to not only get a taste of what a game plays like, but they’re also essential for disabled players to get an idea if they can even play the game. When I was writing at DualShockers, I detailed why video game demos need to come back for accessibility purposes, and since then Sony has recently released Game Trials as spotted by Eurogamer earlier this month.
Game Trials is a new feature on PS5 consoles that has started rolling out and allows players to download a game and give it a try, just like a demo. This trial only lasts for a certain period of time, which is expected, it’s in the name. But there’s an awful catch right now that hopefully, Sony will look into rectifying. And that is that the timed trial begins the moment you press the download button.
What that means is that your free trial of the game will start counting down. Once that countdown has ended the trial is over and you’ll be unable to try the game again unless you buy it. While the idea behind the PS5 Game Trials is a very lovely one to see, this catch is something that is causing problems for many players.
But let’s focus on the positive to start. Game Trials is available for PS5 users to download a number of games with this feature applied and try them out before committing to purchasing the full title. Death Stranding, as noted by Eurogamer, has 6-hours of playtime allowed, and Sackboy: A Big Adventure has 5-hours, so it looks like different games will offer varying playtimes, which is fine, we all know Death Stranding is a cutscene-athon so that extra hour would help.
For disabled players, using this feature will help them know if they’re able to play a highly-acclaimed title, which is essential to making a purchase — especially when games are coming in at $60 for standard editions these days which adds to the disability tax. This feature can allow players to not only have a nose at the options menus and see what is on offer for elements such as remapping, subtitle customization, HUD customization but also actually experience how these features come into play.
You see, you can present a flashy plethora of options to a player, but more often than not, those features haven’t been implemented well. This is where playing the game will allow players to see whether they can read the UI, whether the controls give them fatigue, or whether the game has a huge cognitive load that’s hard to comprehend. And then, there’s even the opportunity for players to experience accessibility that has been a part of the design process that may not be highlighted in menus.
So, having the chance to jump into Game Trials on a PS5 is a massive win for disabled players. It’s just a shame that the feature doesn’t carry backward onto the PS4 consoles. But really, the main issue is the one highlighted earlier — the fact that the timer starts ticking as soon as that wonderful “Download” button is pressed.
Not everyone has fantastic internet, be that because they cannot afford the higher packages, or maybe their area doesn’t support high speeds. So, take that into account, as well as the fact that the player has to download a game that is probably over 30GB, or in Death Stranding’s case, over 50GB. On a slow internet, that’ll take a while to download, believe me, I have slow internet and often leave downloads running overnight. This means after my wonderful, rejuvenating 5-hour sleep, my trial would be essentially over.
Now, this could just be some teething errors on Sony’s part as the feature is still fresh out of the oven, and really I’d hope that the company wouldn’t be one to make assumptions that everyone is capable of downloading games at 2GB a second. So hopefully as the feature becomes utilized by more games as time goes on, the timer is adjusted so that it only starts on a game’s first boot.
Because really, this has massive benefits for disabled players, especially if some come here to read Can I Play That?’s thoughts on a game then decide to test it out themselves. And it’d be amazing to see more games added to the list of supported games, especially if those games are also part of the new accessibility collection on the PlayStation Store. Either way, it’s good to see more handy features becoming available on video game consoles.