Sony has announced PlayStation Stars, a new PlayStation loyalty program launching later this year. It'll give you the chance to earn reward points for completing certain activities, and you can then redeem those points for rewards like wallet funds or PlayStation Store stuff.
What is PlayStation Stars all about?
This news comes via an official announcement on the PlayStation blog. According to Sony, if you sign up to PlayStation Stars, you'll be given the opportunity to earn loyalty points through completing a variety of different activities. You may, for example, be able to earn points through simply playing a PlayStation game, or you might earn points for winning gaming tournaments or earning specific trophies. If you're a PlayStation Plus member and you're enrolled in PlayStation Stars, you'll also earn points automatically for PlayStation Store purchases.
You'll be able to redeem the points you earn via PlayStation Stars for rewards in a catalog that, according to Sony, "may include PSN wallet funds and selected PlayStation Store products". In addition, Sony is introducing a new "digital collectible" reward that you can earn through PlayStation Stars. It sounds a little like the rewards Sony said you'd be able to earn through certain PS5 trophies back in 2020; these collectibles will include digital figurines, "cherished devices" from Sony's history, and various other things. We're not sure exactly how you'll be able to unlock those things yet, but PlayStation Stars launches later this year with a phased regional rollout program, so we'll likely find out more closer to the time.
Are these "digital collectibles" PlayStation NFTs?
Don't worry: the new digital collectibles you can unlock via PlayStation Stars are not PlayStation NFTs. Sony has confirmed that the rewards won't be anything to do with Web3 or the blockchain; marketing VP Grace Chen, speaking to the Washington Post, categorically denied that the new system would be anything to do with NFTs. She said the rewards are "definitely not" NFTs, that you "can't trade them or sell them", and that they won't "[leverage] any blockchain technologies".
If Chen sounds particularly eager to disavow any kind of relationship between PlayStation and NFTs, it's probably because of the growing negative reaction towards Web3 and the blockchain in gaming. Developers like Mark Venturelli and digital platforms like Itch.io have spoken out against NFTs in no uncertain terms. However, that hasn't stopped industry luminaries such as Dead or Alive producer Tomonobu Itagaki or Mega Man's Keiji Inafune from incorporating NFTs into their work. Evidently, Sony wants to make it clear that it's not in on the NFT racket so as not to alienate an audience that's increasingly hostile to technology for which it sees no tangible benefit in the world of gaming.
Sony is gradually working on the PlayStation ecosystem
The announcement of PlayStation Stars comes shortly after Sony announced the revamped PlayStation Plus, a reworked version of the subscription system that introduces extra tiers with more content in them. The Extra tier adds a catalog of PS4 and PS5 games (which is continually being updated), while the Premium tier introduces streaming for certain PlayStation Classics titles as well as game trials. It's all part of what looks like a move to work on the PlayStation ecosystem and perhaps attempt to bring its features up to parity with those offered by Xbox, which is making waves with its Game Pass service (as well as Microsoft Rewards, which PlayStation Stars resembles).
We'll have to wait and see what Sony has in store for the PlayStation Stars program when it launches later this year. The company is currently undertaking internal tests for the system, and we don't have a release date for it yet, so it could be a little while until we learn more about it. Sony simply says it will issue more updates about PlayStation Stars "in the future", so stay tuned to TechRaptor for more on this.