When Assassin’s Creed III hits the PlayStation 3 on October 30, prospective virtual murderers will be able to download the game directly through the PlayStation Network Store. That’s nothing terribly new — digital releases of big-name titles are becoming increasingly common — but thanks to a new plan from Sony you’ll actually be able to save money by not driving to your nearest Gamestop.
Dubbed “PSN Day 1 Digital,” the scheme is designed to offer players an incentive for downloading their games directly from Sony. However, there is one big caveat that users should be aware of: To be eligible for the program’s 10% game discount (which, it should be said, is only available on select AAA games for the first week after their release), you must be a PlayStation Plus subscriber.
Assuming you meet that criteria though, the eight titles Sony is using to promote its nascent program throughout the month of October are quite tempting. Have a look, courtesy the official PlayStation.blog:
Resident Evil 6
(Available for download on October 2nd – $59.99)
(Available for download on October 2nd – $59.99/$53.99 for PS Plus members, with pre-order)*
(Available for download on October 9th – $59.99/$53.99 for PS Plus members, with pre-order)*
DOOM 3: BFG Edition
(Available for download on October 16th – $39.99/$35.99 for PS Plus members, with pre-order)*
(Available for download on October 16th – $59.99)+
Medal Of Honor: Warfighter
(Available for download on October 23rd – $59.99)
Need For Speed: Most Wanted
(Available for download on October 30th – $59.99/$53.99 for PS Plus members, with pre-order)*
Assassin’s Creed III
(Available for download on October 30th – $59.99)*
Though the announcement ends without detailing the company’s future plans, it seems quite likely that Sony will opt to shift more and more games toward the PSN Day 1 Digital program as time goes on. The PlayStation.blog claims the motivation for this new purchasing scheme is as simple as keeping misanthropic gamers from having to brave the horrors of the outside world, but it seems to us that Sony may have ulterior motives here.
Say you purchase a physical copy of a game. Your $60 goes toward the game’s publisher, Sony, the store you bought it from and a number of other entities who aren’t really crucial to this argument. Point being: The people responsible for your entertainment are getting your money. However, if you purchase a physical copy of a game, get bored of it and trade it in to Gamestop, when someone else eventually purchases that used title (at a depressingly meager $5-$10 discount), all of the money from that resale goes directly to Gamestop’s corporate coffers. Publishers and developers have long railed against this practice, and while they can’t outlaw the sale of used games in this fashion, they can make it much more difficult for Gamestop to keep their used game shelves stocked. Purchase Assassin’s Creed III from the PSN Day 1 Digital program and Gamestop instantly loses its key source of revenue. Normally we hate taking sides in corporate conflicts like this, but in this instance it seems that Sony has realized the only way to pre-emptively cut Gamestop off at the knees is to offer consumers a tangible, monetary incentive for staying away from the gaming mega-retailer, and who are we to argue with cheaper games?
Will this put Gamestop out of business? Probably not, but it does herald a rather grim future for the store, particularly if Sony’s program is a success and other companies adopt similar discount buying schemes.