“We really feel like this is the best time to start this type of program, as we have the healthiest player base, obviously the PlayStation 5 is a huge success and we really wanted to do something that can honor and who Celebrating PlayStation’s history, and now is the best time to do so,” said Grace Chen, vice president of network advertising, loyalty and licensed merchandising, in an interview with The Washington Post. “We wanted to create a program that honors this journey and the role PlayStation may have played in someone’s life. We wanted to do that in a way only PlayStation can.”
The program is named after stars because Sony liked their connotation of freedom and boundlessness, which aligns with PlayStation’s slogan that “gaming has no boundaries.” Later this year, it will roll out to regions worldwide including Asia, Americas, Europe and more.
Chen said that PlayStation Stars will not be a competitor to Xbox Game Pass, Microsoft’s video game subscription service, and that the program is designed to appeal to both new and experienced gamers.
“It’s beneficial for all players. Of course we want players who have been with PlayStation for a long time and have been with us on this gaming journey to be able to recognize and reward them in different ways, but there will be many aspects of this program that are new so customers will enjoy it as well.” said Chen.
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All players will receive loyalty points that can be redeemed for PlayStation Network wallet funds (and thus exchanged for real-world value items). Players who are also subscribed to Sony’s PlayStation Plus online service will receive additional points to spend in the PlayStation Store, a benefit non-subscribers will miss out on.
Players can redeem points for standalone games, add-on content, and specially themed collectibles in the rewards catalogue. Sony plans to add new rewards, campaigns, and collectibles over time.
While Sony was vague on details about the program, it said there would be a monthly check-in campaign that rewards users for playing at least one game, as well as other campaigns for winning tournaments and earning certain trophies. Other campaigns may ask players to play a specific game online.
PlayStation’s announcement reflects a larger shift in entertainment towards subscription models and more consumer-centric initiatives.
“As a wide range of entertainment services move to subscriptions, loyalty becomes a critical metric,” said Joost van Dreunen, associate professor in the business of games at New York University’s Stern School of Business. “By incentivizing players to check in regularly and making their membership more visible, Sony is likely to improve customer retention and brand loyalty. This will prove crucial at a time when inflation and an economic crisis will weigh on consumer spending on games.”
As part of PlayStation Stars, the first player to reach platinum in a blockbuster title in a local time zone – completing all of the in-game achievements – will also receive a reward, disqualifying others from winning. Chen said the company will work to minimize fraudulent activity in case people cheat or buy and sell accounts with certain rewards.
Another type of reward Sony offers is digital collectibles, which are 3D rendered representations of things like video game character figurines and previous Sony devices. Some will be extremely rare and hard to come by. They are not non-fungible tokens, although they are also digital and collectible.
“They are definitely not NFTs. Definitely not. You cannot trade or sell them. It doesn’t use blockchain technologies and definitely doesn’t use NFTs,” Chen said.
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