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Opinion: PlayStation Stars sucks ass

PlayStation Stars

I say this with all sincerity, I’m a noted Sony fanboy. I’m deeply entrenched in the PlayStation eco-system, and still carry a PS Vita everywhere I go.

I’ve spent thousands of dollars on Sony hardware and digital goods, and I have to say that PlayStation Stars, in its newly launched state, is the most disappointing rewards program I’ve ever seen.

Players who sign up for PlayStation Stars are able to enroll in campaigns which reward you with digital goodies to put in your PlayStation Stars trophy case which is visible on your profile.

What is PlayStation Stars exactly?

While originally thought to be some sort of NFT bullshit, PlayStation Stars is actually more like Steam badges as you can show off the things you collect on a digital bookshelf in your profile.

At this point in time on day one, there are currently four active challenges on PlayStation Stars:

The October Check-in, which simply requires that you play a game on PS4/PS5. This will reward you with a small digital Tyrannosaurus Rex statue depicting the T.Rex from this infamous PS1 tech demo.

PlayStation Stars

The World Warrior’s Challenge, which requires you to play one of four fighting games in order to Honor 30 years of Hadoukens. Playing Street Fighter V, Ultimate Marvel vs Capcom 3, Mortal Kombat 11, or Tekken 7 will grant you a small digital trophy of the Sony Entertainment of Japan’s mascot cat, Toro Inoue.

The final digital reward granting campaign is called Hit Play/1994 and it features a challenge to play a game based on popular song titles from (around) the year 1994. This campaign requires you launch all six of these games for completion, rather it be locally or via PS+ streaming. The games are as follows:

  • Lisa Loeb’s – Stay x Elton John’s – Circle of Life which is eludes to Returnal.
  • Big Mountain’s reggae cover of Peter Frampton’s – Baby I Love Your Way x Pet Shop Boys cover of the Village People’s – Go West which eludes to Death Stranding.
  • Counting Crows – Mr. Jones x Warren G’s – Regulate which eludes to Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End.
  • White Zombie’s – More Human than Human which eludes to Detroit: Become Human.
  • John Mellencamp’s cover of Van Morrison’s – Wild Night which eludes to Until Dawn.
  • and finally Bruce Springsteen’s – Streets of Philadelphia which eludes to Heavy Rain.

The campaign PlayStation Store Picks is the only one of the current challenges which offers you some actual PlayStation Stars points (how are these called points and not, ya know, stars?).

Rewards on PlayStation Stars

You accumulate these to purchase rewards within the PlayStation App, and this challenge rewards you with 50 points for purchasing one of the following titles:

  • NBA 2K23 ($69.99)
  • Saints Row ($69.99)
  • TMNT: The Cowabunga Collection ($39.99)
  • The Last of Us Part 1 ($69.99)
  • Inscryption ($19.99)
  • Madden NFL 23 ($69.99)

So, obviously, to get the full reward for the least money, you’re gonna wanna buy Inscryption or TMNT: The Cowabunga Collection. Here’s where you’ll find out just how bad this program blows, because buying any of these titles will give you 50 points, but as of the time this writing, a $5 digital PSN gift card costs 1,250 points.

Assuming PlayStation Stars continues giving 50 points for titles similarly priced in this range with these options, you’d need to spend $19.99 25 times to accumulate 1,250 points.

This means you’d need to spend $499.75 in order to get $5 in PSN credit. This is just a smidge less than a 1% return on money spent, and it also would require that whatever you buy is on their list of choices in the campaign.

What rewards can you actually get?

If you’re looking to buy a game, such as indie darlings Hades or Cult of the Lamb, these are the cheapest titles available right now at a whopping 6,250 points each. You’d basically need to spend over $6000 in order to pick up a game for “free” on PlayStation Stars that’s currently available for purchase for $24.99. This is insulting and frankly embarrassing.

What if you already own games that show up in these campaigns? Tough shit, it doesn’t count so there’s no retroactive credit here. PlayStation says that players will be rewarded with Stars from earning trophies, but all this will do is encourage people to cheat the system.

Furthermore, if you make it retroactive, people like Hakoom will already have more stars than they know what to do with based on game ownership and trophy status alone, which makes retroactive unlocking almost impossible.

I have no idea how PlayStation should implement a better reward system, but so far, this ain’t it, chief. The digital trophy novelty will likely wear off before it ever even gets started, and knowing how PlayStation likes to support their gimmick ideas, I’m guessing these campaigns are only going to refresh once a month at most with four campaigns maximum going at the same time.

This is an editorial piece. The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views and opinions of, and should not be attributed to, Niche Gamer as an organization.

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