So over the last few years, the brick-and-mortar retail market for physical games has been shrinking in favor digital sales and online retailers. And one of the things many game companies started to do as part of this shift was to try and push gamers toward digital distribution where the margins are higher in terms of profit. One of the ways major companies did this was to offer digital redemption cards that gamers could buy and then take home and download their game.
This model offered better margins for publishers and retailers, as there was less overhead in terms of shipping and stocking costs when it came to these tiny cards compared to bulky game boxes. It also allowed gamers more reliable access to games, as it was unlikely that a retailer would run out of digital codes before they ran out of physical copies.
Well, starting later in 2019, that’s all about to change for one major gaming company. The Playstation arm of Japanese mega-corp Sony is axing physical sales of digital codes for all their PS4 games. Sony has released a memo to struggling retailer GameStop detailing the change. Effective on April 1st 2019, customers will no longer be able to purchase digital download codes to redeem on the PS4 at any retailer, online or offline.
This means that gamers will have to either buy physical copies of games or buy digital copies directly through PSN. Sony is not nixing PSN Cash cards though, so gamers will still be able to top-up their PSN accounts in order to buy new games with these changes.
Sony hasn’t really offered an explanation for this change, but the likely candidate from prompting the cutoff is pretty easy to guess. Digital games sales is a big market for Sony, so it makes sense that they would want to maximize profit by restricting customers to platforms they can more easily control the pricing and distribution of.
What’s your take on this? Are you someone who doesn’t like this change? Let us know in the comments.