PlayStation 4 trophies: Everything you need to know

Reach the platinum plateau by learning all there is to know about PS4 trophies

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Since video games were in their infancy, players have bragged about their achievements to their friends. Some of these were fabricated, such as unlocking a secret boss after Bowser in Super Mario Bros., but skilled players needed a way to prove their genuine victories. On PlayStation 4, they can do that with “trophies,” virtual items awarded for beating games, finding collectibles, or completing certain tasks. But just how do PS4 trophies work, and how can you earn them? Here is everything you need to know about PS4 trophies.

What are trophies?

PlayStation systems have used trophies to reward players for their gaming accomplishments since 2008. The system was not present at the beginning of the PlayStation 3’s lifespan but was introduced in 2008 in response to the Xbox 360’s “achievements” scoring system.

Players unlock trophies simply by hitting specific milestones set in each individual game and app. As you acquire them, you see a notification window pop up in the corner of your screen, informing you of the trophy you got as well as its type — bronze, silver, gold, and platinum. The majority of the trophies you acquire will fall into the first two categories. The platinum trophy is typically only awarded once you’ve earned all other trophies in a game — we’ll discuss the exceptions later on — and smaller games often don’t have a platinum trophy at all.

Trophies are not separated by PlayStation console, but by the account they were earned on. The trophies you earned on PlayStation 3 and PlayStation Vita will count toward the total number of trophies you have listed on your PlayStation 4, and provided that you’ve synced your trophies by occasionally visiting the trophy app on your console, you won’t lose them if you have to get a new system.

Trophy levels

PlayStation 4 Pro review
Julian Chokkattu/Digital Trends
Julian Chokkattu/Digital Trends

As you earn trophies, you’ll see an increase in your “trophy level.” This is a ranking determined by both the number of trophies you’ve earned as well as the “points” associated with particular types of trophies: You earn 15 points for a bronze trophy, 30 for silver, 90 for gold, and 180 for platinum. This number is just for showing off and is comparable to the total achievement score Xbox players see when they view their profile.

Each level will take more points than the one that came before it. Hitting level 2, for instance, only requires 200 points — easily attainable by completing a single game. Jumping from Level 12 to Level 13, however, will take an additional 8,000 points, which would require 534 bronze trophies to reach.

How to earn trophies

To begin earning trophies in your current PlayStation 4 game, all you need to do is play the game as you normally would. You’ll see trophies eventually pop up in Call of Duty: WWII, for instance, just for completing the campaign mode. In Overwatch, you receive a gold trophy once you have won 100 matches in multiplayer.

These don’t require any sort of research, but in order to really boost your trophy count, you’re going to want to look up games’ trophy lists in advance. From the PlayStation 4’s home screen, scroll through the horizontal menu and you’ll spot the “Trophies” application. Click on this and you’ll find a list of your games, as well as your earned trophies and those you have yet to unlock. This section will also contain information on trophy rarity, so you can see what percentage of players have managed to unlock it and feel superior as a result.

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Select the game you’re currently playing, and you’ll see not just the trophy names, but also the requirements for unlocking these. The majority of these requirements will be written out, but a few will be “hidden” in order to preserve an in-game secret, such as a story spoiler. If you click on the trophy and press “square,” you’ll see these hidden details directly on your console. If you prefer to research in your web browser first, the website PlayStation Trophies has a comprehensive list of trophies for PlayStation 4 games, including hidden trophies.

When you earn any trophy on PlayStation 4, your console will automatically take a screenshot of the moment. Some of these end up showing off your exciting gameplay, but more often than not, the actual frame captured will be on a loading screen or a pause menu — for those truly memorable trophies, we recommend taking a screenshot yourself by holding down the “share” button for a few seconds.

Games trophy percentages and earning platinums

Scroll through your list of PlayStation 4 games in the trophy application, and you will see a percentage listed by each one — this displays how much progress you’ve made toward total completion in a particular game. Once you’ve reached 100 percent, you will have unlocked every trophy in the game and be rewarded with a final platinum trophy.

However, these percentages can be deceiving, depending on when a game was initially released, and whether the meter includes post-launch content released for the game, which you may need to purchase to access. In Overwatch, for instance, the percentage shown on this screen will be for the base game and all additional characters’ trophies. If you click on the game, you’ll see the actual percentage for the base game alone, and this is what you need to complete in order to unlock a platinum trophy. Even if you purchase a game well after its launch and there are several expansions available, you do not have to complete them to unlock the platinum trophy.

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Why should I care about this? Do trophies hold tangible value?

The primary reason you earn trophies in PlayStation games is simply to show off your gaming skills to your friends. However, Sony recently offered “Rewards Passes” through its Sony Rewards program to give players bonuses for their accomplishments. Earning 10 platinum trophies, for instance, earned you enough points to purchase one month of PlayStation Plus — it’s not a lot, but if you saved your trophies, you could not only get to game online for free, but play the latest free PlayStation Plus games before your membership expires. The pass isn’t currently listed on Sony’s website, but it’s possible it will be brought back in the future.

PlayStation username changes may mess with your trophy count

Recently, Sony announced it would finally let gamers change their PlayStation usernames in 2019. While that’s great news for those who have been stuck with a terrible name for a decade or more, beware that name changes could affect your trophy progress. Details aren’t entirely clear yet, but Sony has gotten out ahead of the issue, saying that username changes could lead to some wonky problems.

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