Sony’s PlayStation Store has been around since the days of the PS3, providing a digital outlet for PlayStation games and services.
While it’s a solid feature, the PS Store isn’t perfect. Let’s take a look at what Sony’s digital store offers and what it lacks.
What Is the PS Store?
To get everyone up to speed, the PS Store is a digital shop from Sony that lets you purchase a range of digital products and services, such as games, DLCs (downloadable content), themes, demos, and subscriptions.
You can access the PS Store on any console including and after the PS3, on your mobile via the PS App, and on your computer (there’s no dedicated PS App for desktops, sadly).
What We Love About the PS Store
Starting with the pros, here are six reasons that showcase what the PS Store offers and why you should use the PS Store.
1. The PS Store Is a Free Service
First off, the PS Store is a free service that comes with your console. There are no paywalls or recurring subscriptions to use it, and it’s all tied to your PSN account, so you don’t need to make a separate account for it.
It might sound silly, the idea of a digital store costing something. But, not-so-long-ago, online multiplayer on consoles was free, and now you need either PS Plus or Xbox Live Gold to play online multiplayer on your PlayStation or Xbox, respectively.
2. Digital Downloads Are More Convenient Than Physical Purchases
The PS Store is where you purchase PlayStation games digitally, and digital games offer some great benefits over physical games.
Digital games are more convenient than physical games, allowing you to seamlessly switch from game to game, as well as access them on any console by simply logging into your account.
Digital games are also more environmentally friendly (no plastic cases, packaging, emissions from delivery, etc), and you can store your digital games on an external hard drive, making them easy to move compared to discs. Digital games are also unlimited in supply, meaning that you won’t face any stock issues here.
3. The PS Store Has Regular Sales
The PS Store features regular sales, offering discounts on a vast amount of titles. PS Store sales sort of never end, meaning at once one sale ends, another takes its place. More than one type of sale can happen at once; new sales often appear as current sales are still ongoing.
This means that if there’s a game—or DLC—you’ve had your eye on for a while, Sony could feature it in a sale with a healthy discount on its digital price. And, if a game you want isn’t in the current sale, it very well could feature in the next one, so it’s worth waiting.
4. PS Plus Members Can Get Discounts
The PS Store sometimes gives PS Plus Members an additional sale on top of a product’s current sale price. There are also ‘double discounts’ meaning that, if you’re a PS Plus member and a game is 30% off, it’s 60% off for you.
5. You Can Access the PS Store Remotely
Even if you’re not at your console, you can access the PS Store from your mobile or computer. It syncs everything over, so you can still browse and purchase games digitally without having to catch up from your console.
6. Wishlist Your Potential Purchases for Reminders During Sales
You can wishlist items on the PS Store. Combining this with the constant sales that happen, you can be sure to grab a game you’re keen to play at its best digital price. If any games on your wishlist are on sale, you should be able to view the sale price from your wishlist.
Adjusting notifications on the PS App on your phone allows you to get reminders about your wishlist, meaning that you won’t constantly have to check your wishlist to see which games are on sale.
What We Hate About the PS Store
While the PS Store offers some outstanding features, Sony’s digital store also falls short in a few areas. Here are six reasons you shouldn’t use the PS Store.
1. Sharing Digital Games With Friends Is a Pain
Though digital games are great and you can technically share them with friends, the process isn’t as easy as sharing a physical game.
If you want to share your physical game with your friend, you simply give it to them.
If you want to share a digital game with a friend, you must log in to your PSN account on their console or give them your account details to do so.
After that, they can then download any game from your digital library and play it…as long as they have an internet connection (you can only assign one console as your primary console to play digital games offline).
And, as they’re logged into your account, they can’t access their own digital game library, nor can they download your game then log out of your account and still play it.
So, yes, it’s still possible to share digital games with your friends, but it’s a pain. Oh, and you can’t sell digital PlayStation games.
2. Full Price Digital Games Can Be Very Expensive
The PS Store has some sweet deals, you can’t deny that. However, one reason the deals can appear like massive savings, is that the full price of a digital game can be incredibly high, even years after its release.
Physical games usually get cheaper as time goes on. And, while digital games can also lower in price, it’s usually delayed and not as often.
For example, at the time of writing, Mortal Kombat 11 is on sale for $14.99 with its full digital price being $49.99. So, outside a sale, Sony value Mortal Kombat 11 at $49.99.
Whereas, you can pick up a physical version of Mortal Combat on Amazon for around $15-$23 (you can upgrade the PS4 version to the PS5 version for free) and that price will only decrease with time.
3. Sales Can Tempt You to Keep Buying Unnecessary Games
Though this isn’t really a negative of the PS Store—more deals is a good thing, right?—the abundance of discounted games can lead to a slippery slope where you keep buying games “because it’s on sale, how could I not?”.
The enticing nature of the PS Store sales can build up your digital tsundoku, leading to unnecessary purchases justified after the fact and a huge backlog of games you might never get around you playing once the novelty of buying something on sale wears off.
4. There’s No Written Review System for Products
If you’re looking to see what users think of a product on the PS Store, you’ve not got much to go on.
There’s a star system on console versions of the PS Store, but no written reviews or a system giving an overall verdict or any pros and cons of the game according to user reviews.
It’s a simple thing the PS Store is lacking—the ability to see what users think of a product that a store is selling—and somewhat disappointing.
5. The Browser Version of the PS Store Isn’t That Well Integrated
If you access the browser version of the PS Store, you’ll find that, while it’s serviceable, it just doesn’t feel all that fleshed out or integrated into the PS ecosystem.
A dedicated PS App for computers could solve this, something akin to Steam, but the current browser version of the PS Store you have right now feels unoptimized and clunky.
6. You Can’t Buy Digital PS Games Outside the PS Store
Right now, the only place you can buy digital PlayStation games is on the PS Store. Sony’s insistence on having publishers sell the digital version of their PS games exclusively on the PS Store means that the format, pricing, and design of the digital marketing of PS games is all down to Sony.
So you can’t look elsewhere for better deals or digital stores—it’s all on the PS Store, for better or worse.
Could Sony Create a More Holistic Digital Service?
While Sony could improve it, the PS Store has some good things going for it, namely in its regular sales.
That being said, the PS Store is an example of Sony’s current social and digital experience—it’s serviceable and sometimes good, but could be better.
Will Sony improve on the PS Store and its social offerings over the next few years? It’ll be a great time for gamers if it does.
Play has no limits, according to Sony. Unless, that is, you want a social experience with your PlayStation. Then it does.
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