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Why the Loyalty Program Has Angered Fans

PlayStation fans are hugely excited for the end of 2022, in large part because the highly-anticipated God of War: Ragnarök releases next month. However, besides its game library, Sony has announced several other plans, including adding Discord integration to PlayStation 5s, as well as the release of a new DualSense Edge controller and a PlayStation 5 console that has a detachable disc drive. On the flip side, the company has come under fire for increasing the price of its PS5 consoles, and recently it’s received further criticism for its new loyalty program.

The new program, PlayStation Stars, recently launched in Asia. It follows Microsoft and Nintendo’s respective Microsoft Rewards and Switch Online’s Missions and Rewards programs in creating a loyalty system to reward gamers for various activities. Although a nice idea on the surface, one particular, high-level reward has angered fans, who are calling out the loyalty scheme for being unfair.

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How Does the PlayStation Stars Loyalty Program Work?

PlayStation Stars is free to join for any adult with a PlayStation Network account, although PlayStation Plus members will receive added benefits. It will initially be available to access via the PlayStation App and website, with plans for console access already confirmed for the future. Gamers can earn rewards by completing various activities such as buying and playing games, earning specific trophies, or completing “campaigns” along the lines of correctly identifying and launching games from song-based clues. These challenges will be updated regularly to give players more opportunities to earn rewards.

For completing such activities, fans earn loyalty points and digital collectibles, which cannot be traded or sold. The points can be redeemed in a specific catalog for a variety of rewards, including PSN wallet funds, certain PlayStation Store products, and exclusive digital collectibles. The digital collectibles will be representations of PlayStation-related things, such as iconic characters or devices from Sony’s history. Fans will be able to arrange and display them within the PlayStation app, likely in a similar vein to the much-beloved PlayStation Labo from Astro’s Playroom. However, a big issue arises courtesy of the program’s four-tiered system, in which players can work their way up to earn further perks.

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PlayStation Stars Provides Some Players with an Unfair Advantage

Fans are particularly angry that one such perk promises players with a tier 4 PlayStation Stars ranking “priority in the chat order” when contacting PlayStation Customer Support. This top-end perk will be nearly impossible for many players to reach, as it currently requires the purchase of four full-price games from the PlayStation Store, alongside earning 128 rare trophies. Many fans have called this perk unfair as it shows that Sony will not be treating its customers equally. It has also made some fans, who don’t have the finances, time, or desire to achieve the top tier, feel undervalued and ignored by the company. The biggest problem, however, is that such a perk negatively impacts the experience of other gamers by forcing them to wait longer for Customer Support. Worsening the experience for others is certainly unfair, so fans are right to call Sony out on this.

It has not yet been confirmed whether other regions will receive the same rewards as Asia, but fans are hoping that Sony listens to them and makes the necessary amendments to its new program. PlayStation Stars will launch in North and South America on October 5 and in Europe, Australia, and New Zealand on October 13.

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