PlayStation will give you gifts just for playing games – but expect a catch

Sony is rolling out a new gaming loyalty program called PlayStation Stars, which will reward players for spending time on their PlayStation consoles.

Launching for PS4 and PS5 users worldwide later this year, the free program will let you earn a variety of rewards for completing specific rolling 'campaigns', and as outlined by Sony in a blog post, these will vary in scope considerably.

Monthly 'Check-in' campaigns will simply require you to play any game on a PlayStation console, while others will require you to earn specific trophies, or even become the first player in your time zone to platinum a specific game.

Completing those activities will earn you loyalty points that can be redeemed for a variety of goodies. These include PSN wallet funds that you can use to purchase games and select items in the PS Store. PS Plus members will also earn additional loyalty points automatically, encouraging you to subscribe to Sony’s revamped subscription service.

Players will be able to earn 'digital collectibles', too, which Sony describes as “digital representations of things that PlayStation fans enjoy, including figurines of beloved and iconic characters from games and other forms of entertainment, as well as cherished devices that tap into Sony’s history of innovation”.

It adds “There will always be a new collectible to earn, an ultra-rare collectible to strive for, or something surprising to collect just for fun.”

In an interview with the Washington Post, Sony’s vice president of network advertising, loyalty and licensed merchandise, Grace Chen, clarified that the collectibles were not NFTS and didn’t use blockchain technology. 

What’s the catch?

How to change your PSN name

(Image credit: Sony)

Everyone loves freebies, and PlayStation Stars sounds like the perfect kind of loyalty program: one that showers you with goodies without requiring you to do any extra work. But there are still a lot of details for Sony to clarify.

While the prospect of earning PS Store funds by simply playing games sounds enticing, don’t expect Sony to be too generous with its handouts. The number of loyalty points needed to redeem a full game is likely to be exceedingly high, making it largely unfeasible to bag a title for absolutely nothing.

Further, while you’ll be able to directly exchange loyalty points for PSN wallet funds, there may be some restrictions on what games you can go on to purchase. We wouldn’t put it past Sony to lock off the latest PS5 releases from being bought using funds redeemed through loyalty points.

Chen also says that “points can be redeemed in a catalog that may include PSN wallet funds and select PlayStation Store products” (emphasis added). So it sounds to us like the available products will rotate. You may need to wait a while until you find something that takes your fancy, and we suspect the loyalty points have a use-by date, too, prompting you to spend them sooner rather than later.

PlayStation Stars sound strikingly similar to Microsoft Rewards, another loyalty program that lets users earn freebies for using their Xbox Series X|S and Microsoft apps. We expect it’ll serve a similar function: nice to have, but not groundbreaking.

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