PlayStation 4 owners eager to purchase downloadable game codes directly from brick-and-mortar stores will soon be out of luck. Sony has confirmed to The Verge that it will stop selling such downloadable codes through brick-and-mortar retailers from April 1.
The report confirms a Wario64 tweet from last weekciting a GameStop memo stating, “Sony full digital game downloads are only available for purchase through the PlayStation marketplace” after April 1. Days gone by and Mortal Kombat 11 will be the only exceptions to this policy, according to the memo, although DLC and Season Passes will still be available for direct purchase. It is currently unclear whether internet-based retailers such as Amazon will be affected by the decision.
The availability of digital game codes at retail was especially helpful for players who didn’t use or could not use a credit card in the PlayStation Network storefront. Purchasing digital codes through a retailer also allows customers to redeem trade-in credits from used physical games and take advantage of other retail promotions without having to purchase a physical disc.
While individual game codes are no longer available, brick-and-mortar customers can still purchase prepaid PSN currency cards in a newly expanded range of denominations: $10, $20, $50, $75, and $100. That seems a bit sterile to customers who want to buy a downloadable PSN game as a gift, but it will serve the same purpose for most other users.
A PlayStation spokesperson told The Verge that the decision was “made to align key companies worldwide,” whatever that means. Nintendo, Microsoft and many PC game makers continue to sell digital game codes for specific games directly at retail.
Sony’s move comes in difficult times for game retailers. Physical sales and profits have plummeted in the brick-and-mortar market, and Gamestop inventory shrunk 27 percent in January after the company failed to find a buyer for its thousands of global storefronts. And Toys R Us, one of the largest brick-and-mortar game retailers in the country, shut down after filing for bankruptcy last year.