Sony announced a new player initiative today, the PlayStation Player Celebration. The idea is that the community as a whole works towards a set of rewards, either by playing certain games for a set amount of time or getting a certain number of trophies. It’s a nice idea and I appreciate the effort, but the cynic in me sees it differently and can’t help but compare it to other rewards programs.
The rewards are a little, well, boring? Static themes, dynamic themes and avatars are in the prize pot for everybody who partakes. The big prize is a real-life Platinum trophy with your name emblazoned across the front of it. I’ll admit, that would be a nifty trinket to have, but the rest of the prizes are uninspired compared to what I can earn elsewhere.
As you’ll probably know by now if you’re a long-time reader, I’m not always on my PS4. My gaming time is split seven ways, and one of those ways is with the Xbox One X. It’s a beasty console and I get a lot of fun out of it, just as I do with the PS4. But, and here’s where Sony is failing me, Microsoft’s rewards program on Xbox is brilliant. The goals are similar to the PlayStation Player Celebration, but instead of having to rely on others, it’s all on me. I collect points for playing certain games available on GamePass, and I get points for earning achievements in games, too. Once I’ve got enough points, I can swap those points for gift cards, either to spend on the Microsoft Store on movies or games, or for real-life actual gift cards that I can take to a shop, or gift to someone else if I’m feeling lazy. I’ve had two employee birthdays this year so far – all paid for by GamePass and Microsoft Rewards.
Why am I bringing this up? Because it’s the direction Sony should go, damn it! What’s the best way to get anybody to do anything, without sexual favours? Money. Cold, hard, cash money. Microsoft is willing to put money in my lap in return for me spending my spare time on their console. Sony is offering me, and you and everybody else, pictures and pictures that move. No thanks.
To me, this seems like a marketing exercise rather than a real initiative to keep players playing. I know, Sony is already “winning”, whatever that means, and doesn’t need to entice its players with cash money rewards. But neither does Microsoft. If I already own the console, surely I’m going to play it without the need to be bribed. It may be a case of Microsoft trying to earn goodwill ahead of the next-gen launch, which could see the tides change as players decide on their new console of choice, but I don’t really mind. It can be Big Bill’s way of throwing away his kids’ inheritance, I couldn’t give a toot. All I know is that if I turn on my Xbox tonight and play some games, I’ll get points towards cash gift cards. If I turn on my PS4, I’ll be working towards… pictures. Pictures. Just how long does Sony think we spend staring at our dashboard screens?
Is a decent rewards program too much to ask? I get a free coffee every two weeks from my local, how about a little love from PlayStation?