Sony will prohibit retailers from selling global digital retail keys for PlayStation 4 games starting April 1st, 2019. According to Animated Times, a Sony spokesperson issued a statement about cutting off retailer access to global digital retail codes for PS4 games.
The spokesperson stated…
“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.”
So just to reiterate: You will still be able to purchase DLC, add-on microtransactions, expansion packs, virtual currency packs, and season passes from retailers like GameStop or Amazon, but you will not be able to purchase digital game codes directly from GameStop.
Animated Times notes that since you can still purchase virtual currency from retailers, you could technically purchase a PSN currency card from GameStop and then use the currency to purchase the game from the PlayStation Store.
This was actually first announced via a tweet from Wario64 on March 22nd, 2019 who managed to get his hands on an internal memo that was being sent out to the GameStop brick and mortar retailers nationwide.
Here is the full text outlining these changes (Sony full game digital codes at retail) pic.twitter.com/wY39bWyhaj
— Wario64 (@Wario64) March 22, 2019
As explained in the memo, it notes that after April 1st, 2019 that retailers worldwide will no longer be able to offer full game download codes that can be redeemed on the PlayStation Store. They note that it will affect all retailers, not just GameStop. This means Amazon, used game e-tailers, eBay, Target, or any other retailer that may have offered digital download codes for PS4 games.
The memo from GameStop encourages employees to encourage customers to attempt to get customers to pre-order upcoming games via the physical renditions instead of the digital copies, since pre-ordering digitally will no longer be available from GameStop and they won’t make a dime off digital sales anymore after April 1st.
Now the good part is that you’ll still be able to purchase regional PSN vouchers from places like Play-Asia.com. What you won’t be able to do is purchase direct regional codes from online retailers for PS4 games. Most fans hope that in absence of this option, Sony at least adds the ability to gift PSN games to other users. However, Sony has made no announcements about any kind of digital gifting.
(Thanks for the news tip Voice of Fanservice)