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PSN to Offer Retail Games Cheaper on Day One

Sony and several publishers heading into uncharted territory with digital sales.

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When a game is published at retail, there’s manufacturing and distribution costs that have resulted in the now-standard $59.99 price point. How come we’re still paying full price for those games in digital forms, then? The biggest reason is that nobody wants to cross retail partners, who are still important to the industry ecosystem.

Don't want to pay full price for Dishonored? Sony's got an offer you might want to consider.
Don't want to pay full price for Dishonored? Sony's got an offer you might want to consider.

Sony, alongside several major third-party publishers, are about to cross that line with the new “PSN Day 1 Digital” program. The new service will offer games like NBA 2K13 and Dishonored, alongside several others, for $53.99 on the same day they’re available at retail shops like Best Buy and GameStop for $59.99.

There are some catches, though.

One, you have to be a PlayStation Plus subscriber ($50 per year), and you have to pre-order the game. Within those two caveats, however, those games and more will be available cheaper via PSN.

The full list, as announced by Sony today, is below, including details on games that aren’t cheaper:

  • Resident Evil 6 (Available for download on October 2 - $59.99)
  • NBA 2K13 (Available for download on October 2 - $59.99/$53.99 for PLUS members, with pre-order)*
  • Dishonored (Available for download on October 9 - $59.99/$53.99 for PLUS members, with pre-order)*
  • DOOM 3: BFG Edition (Available for download on October 16 - $39.99/$35.99 for PLUS members, with pre-order)*
  • 007: Legends (Available for download on October 16 - $59.99)+
  • Medal Of Honor: Warfighter (Available for download on October 23 - $59.99)
  • Need For Speed: Most Wanted (Available for download on October 30 - $59.99/$53.99 for PLUS members, with pre-order)*
  • Assassin’s Creed III (Available for download on October 30 - $59.99)*

The asterisk means those games are available for pre-order. Resident Evil 6, for example, is not. The + means the 10% discount (in this case, 007: Legends for PS Plus members) is available for a week after launch.

Basically, there are a bunch of options for publishers who want to opt-in to this program.

This is a big moment for the relationship between platform holders, publishers, and retail. I’m curious to see how (if) retail responds. And it’s one more reason Sony’s making Xbox Live seem like a joke.

Patrick Klepek on Google+