Earlier this year, Sony announced PlayStation Plus Premium, a new subscription model for its paid online service. This revamped service offers three tiers of subscription, with its most expensive option granting players the opportunity to play classic games across Playstation’s back catalog. However, with today’s launch of PlayStation Plus Premium in Asia, fans have noticed that many of its PS1 games are, in fact, the PAL ports of classic titles instead of the original NTSC versions.
While mostly abandoned in the modern era of gaming, the European 50 Hz refresh rate PAL standard is often considered inferior to the 60 Hz NTSC standard in the United States and Japan. Game developers throughout the PS1 era mainly optimized their games for NTSC regions and later created what some fans consider inferior PAL ports due to graphical problems and game speed issues. Today’s gamers frequently ignore Europen PAL versions of classic games due to frame rate inconsistencies and noticeable screen-tearing on modern 60 Hz screens.
On May 24, Sony’s PlayStation Plus Premium service launched in Asian markets, where players quickly noticed the service’s utilization of PAL ports. Taking note of the PAL-based PS1 games, YouTuber Andshrew uploaded gameplay footage of their PS5 running Ape Escape through the new PS1 emulator. Players can observe the game running at 25 fps and producing multiple instances of screen tearing due to the framerate not syncing with the PS5’s 60 Hz output. VGC reports that all current first-party games featured in PlayStation Plus Premium’s “Classics” catalog are the European PAL versions. Currently, the only NTSC games are third-party titles like Toy Story 2 and Oddworld: Abe’s Oddysee.
PlayStation 1 titles currently listed as PAL versions include Everybody’s Golf, Wild Arms, Jumping Flash, Kurushi, Worms World Party, Worms Armageddon, and Ape Escape. Sony has not released any details regarding its decision to use PAL region ports instead of NTSC originals at the time of this writing. Still, it isn’t the first time the company has found itself using PAL ports, to the disappointment of many fans.
In 2018 Sony released the PlayStation Classic to negative fan reception. Players noticed that the PlayStation Classic elected to use European PAL ROMs, much like today’s PS1 emulator discovery, and found the visual inconsistencies difficult to manage. Sony has never addressed fan criticisms regarding its use of PAL region ports, leaving it up to fan speculation as to why the company continues to use what some consider the inferior of the two standards. As PlayStation Plus Premium rolls out throughout the rest of the world, fans can only hope that Sony adds an option to toggle between PAL and NTSC regions the same way Nintendo does with its classic games.
PlayStation Plus Premium launches June 13 in North America.