When the PlayStation 5 releases late next year, we'll be taking one step closer to an all-digital future. Sure, the next-generation console will launch with a disc drive and support physical media, but the way the industry has shifted focus to digital downloads across the PlayStation 4's lifespan proves that a lot of users aren't installing their games off a Blu-ray anymore. That way of accessing video games is on its last legs and Sony's next system is only going to accelerate the push towards ditching it entirely. However, if the hardware manufacturer wants to achieve that, it's going to need to sort out the way titles are priced on the PlayStation Store. I'm done paying more than the asking price -- something which needs to be standardised across the globe.
I'm willing to bet that many of you are stout defenders of physical games, and I used to be exactly the same as you up until roughly six months ago when my mindset changed. With the PS5 confirmed to support backwards compatibility, I want to make the console my hub for all things PlayStation -- PS4 games included. I assume that my digital purchases will carry over to the new system, so I've been trying to build up a collection devoid of physical discs. Having hundreds of titles at my fingertips as soon as my PS5 is set up and ready to go sounds like a bit of a pleasure, and working to achieve that across 2019 has been a total breeze.
I adore pre-loading and I love pressing play as soon as the clock strikes midnight so much that all of my purchases are now done digitally. My physical collection is slowly being converted via trade-ins for PSN credit, but there's still one aspect I'm struggling to stomach. I shouldn't be having to pay £59.99 to pre-order Call of Duty: Modern Warfare.
I hate the prices. After going through my teens and rarely paying more than £40 for a game on PlayStation 3, having that cost increase by 50 per cent for a product that cuts out the middleman is wild to me. Activision does seem to be an outlier, it listed Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice at the same price as Infinity Ward's reboot, but the push across the industry to garner more and more money doesn't sit well with me. First-party titles generally hover around the £49.99 mark, which is something I can accept, but what rubs me up the wrong way is the fact that customers overseas have it much better.
Let's use Call of Duty: Modern Warfare once again as an example. Launching on the US PSN Store at $59.99 excluding VAT, that roughly converts into £43 -- meaning I had to pay an extra £17 to gain access to exactly the same product. Why is that? I certainly don't know. Of course, Value Added Tax does bring the two varying prices somewhat closer together, but there is still enough of a discrepancy there to highlight. The higher prices we pay at the start of a generation are understandable to a degree, but six years into one? Come on Activision. Looking to future PS4 titles proves that the situation won't improve in the short term either.
Nioh 2, DOOM Eternal, Cyberpunk 2077, and even The Last of Us: Part II are listed with an asking price of £54.99, while Final Fantasy VII Remake gives Activision a run for its money at £59.99. Meanwhile, every single one of these games are advertised at $59.99 on the US PSN Store. Why am I having to pay so much more just because I reside in the UK? It's absolutely unfair.
Now, I don't want to get into the nitty-gritty of this subject too much because I understand that there is always going to be small discrepancies when multiple parties are involved, but Sony is going to have to do something about this if an all-digital future is to become a reality. We shouldn't be having to pay wildly different prices purely because we don't live in the USA when everyone gains access to exactly the same video game. When Sony decides to pitch PS5 to the world in a couple of months time, one way it could really win over potential buyers in poorer parts of society who prefer digital distribution is with a pledge.
If the Japanese giant wants us to scrap physical discs altogether, promise that there won't be huge variations in regional pricing. Commit to a fairer cost structure where it can across first-party titles so that I'm not paying more for Ghost of Tsushima than someone across the pond. When Sony gets on stage to reveal the numerous quality of life enhancements its new console comes packaged with, I hope to hear something to this effect. I will pay north of £60 for a video game, but I want to do it in the knowledge that I'm not being ripped off because of the storefront I've purchased it from.
Do you hope Sony pledges to sort out the PlayStation Store's pricing structures when it's time to pitch the PlayStation 5 to consumers? Are you frustrated by the varying cost points too? Place your vote in our poll and share your thoughts in the comments below.