PlayStation 4 owners who like buying downloadable game codes directly from brick-and-mortar stores will soon be out of luck. That’s because Sony has confirmed to The Verge that it will stop selling such downloadable codes through physical retailers starting on April 1.
The report confirms a Wario64 tweet from last week, which quoted a GameStop memo saying, “Sony full game digital downloads will only be available for purchase through the PlayStation marketplace” after April 1. Days Gone and Mortal Kombat 11 will be the sole full-game exceptions to this policy, according to the memo, though DLC and season passes will still be available for direct purchase. It’s currently unclear if Web-based retailers like Amazon will be affected by the decision.
Retail availability of digital game codes was especially useful for players who didn’t or couldn’t use a credit card on the PlayStation Network storefront. Buying digital codes through a retailer also let customers make use of trade-in credit from used physical games and take advantage of other retailer promotions without requiring the purchase of a physical disc.
While individual game codes will no longer be available, brick-and-mortar customers will still be able to buy prepaid PSN currency cards in a newly expanded set of denominations: $ 10, $ 20, $ 50, $ 75, and $ 100. That will come off as a little sterile for customers who want to buy someone 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 in order to continue to align key businesses globally,” 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 during challenging times for game retailers. Physical sales and profits are down throughout the brick-and-mortar marketplace, and Gamestop stock cratered 27 percent in January after the company failed to find a buyer for its thousands of worldwide storefronts. And Toys R Us, one of the country’s biggest physical game retailers, shut down after declaring bankruptcy last year.