September 26, 2019 | 10:44
Sony's PlayStation division has announced it's getting into the physical retail industry, extending its previously electronic-exclusive PlayStation Store to offer consoles, controllers, and physical games - starting as an exclusive for the US.
The PlayStation Store has been around for nearly as long as Sony's eponymous console family has come with the ability to connect to the internet. Previously, it had concentrated solely on digital distribution of ephemeral electronic goods: Games, videos, subscription services and the like.
This week, though, Sony Interactive Entertainment's Stephen Turvey made a surprise announcement: 'Today we’re launching our own online store to offer PS4 consoles, accessories, games, and more directly from PlayStation for fans and gift-givers in the US, who can visit a single destination.'
Built into the existing PlayStation Store infrastructure, the newly expanded service allows for a range of Sony-produced or -published physical goods to be purchased for delivery to a real-world address: PlayStation 4 consoles in standard and Pro forms, PlayStation VR headsets and bundles, gaming headsets, controllers, accessories, physical games, and even physical vouchers for PlayStation Plus subscriptions - the latter seeming to make more sense as a gift than as a direct purchase for one's own use, given that you can just purchase a PlayStation Plus subscription directly on the same site.
The selection of games, however, is somewhat limited at launch: Sony has confirmed that only a handful of physical games are available, 'with plans to expand down the line.' Turvey has also highlighted slight discounts on two console bundles - a PlayStation 4 with 12-month subscription to PS Plus for $339.99, down from $359.98, and a PlayStation 4 Pro plus 12-month subscription to PS Plus for $429.99, down from $459.98 - running through to the end of October. 'PlayStation Plus members who are signed in,' Turvey adds, 'are also eligible for Free 1-Day Express Shipping.'
The move puts Sony in direct competition with high-street and online retailers, but it's not the first to attempt such a move and claw back some of the revenue currently lost from wholesale shipments: Google's Play Store has long offered the ability to purchase smartphones, tablets, and more recently smart home devices, while Microsoft's Xbox Store offers a range of console bundles as well as accessories for purchase and delivery.
The expanded PlayStation Store is live now for US customers at direct.playstation.com.
October 15 2020 | 14:00