Sony shuts out game stores – PS4 download codes are PSN-only from April

Sony is commandeering digital game sales for the PS4 console. The company has confirmed third-party retailers will no longer be allowed to sell download codes for individual titles.

From April 1, the only place to buy digital PS4 full games will be from the PlayStation Network. The news comes following a leaked memo sent to GameStop stores in the United States outlining that full game codes would no longer be sent to retailers.

While gamers can still purchase codes or add-ons or gift cards for the PSN, the decision is unlikely to please gamers who still like to buy their digital games in-store, or are members of third-party retailers’ loyalty programs.

Although the issue came to light via a US retailer, a statement from a Sony spokesperson suggests the policy will be implemented worldwide.

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In a statement to The Verge following the leak, Sony said: “We can confirm that as of April 1, 2019, Sony Interactive Entertainment will no longer offer full games through SIE’s Global Digital at Retail program.

“This decision was made in order to continue to align key businesses globally. To support full games and premium editions, SIE will introduce increased denominations at select retailers. DLC, add-ons, virtual currency, and season passes will still be available.”

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The original leak came via Twitter user @Wario64, who many of you might know from his helpful Black Friday deal tweets. The memo sent to GameStop advises retailers to push gamers to pre-order physical versions of the games, and switch existing pre-orders to the physical copy too.

Why Sony has decided to shut off one means of purchasing games remains to be seen. On the surface, it appears the company is attempting to shut out retailers and bring all sales in house.

It’s also possible there are logistical pains in the butt when it comes to creating and shipping the cards to retailers that has proved more hassle than it’s worth. Regardless, it isn’t great news for gamers and retailers – who’ve already seen so much of their business cannibalised by the digital realm.

What do you make of Sony’s decision to further marginalise the game stores that have been so vital to its gaming success down the years? Let us know @TrustedReviews on Twitter.