Best-answer: Sony’s purchase policies don’t allow retailers other than the PlayStation Store to sell digital game downloads. Because of this, you’ll need to buy a gift card if you want to give your friend a digital game.
How to buy a digital copy of a PS4 or PS5 game for your friend
Unfortunately, you technically can’t gift a digital copy of a game anymore, on PS4 or PS5. While this used to be an option, it’s no longer possible. Now, if you want to give a digital game to a friend, you’ll want to just send them a PlayStation Store gift card so they can buy the game themselves. It’s far from ideal but it’s the only real option. You can buy someone a physical game but then you’ll have to ship it to them and they can’t play it if they are using a PS5 Digital Edition.
Why can’t we gift digital games anymore?
Effective as of April 1, 2019, Sony disallowed retailers to sell full digital game download codes.
“We can confirm that as of April 1, 2019, Sony Interactive Entertainment will no longer offer full games through SIE’s Global Digital at Retail program,” a PlayStation spokesperson told The Verge. “This decision was made in order to continue to align key businesses globally. To support full games and premium editions, SIE will introduce increased denominations at select retailers. DLC, add-ons, virtual currency, and season passes will still be available.”
Previously people were able to buy digital game codes through stores like Amazon, Best Buy, and GameStop. Now, however, that’s no longer an option. For those looking for different paths to gifting games to their friends, there aren’t many other options, especially if you’re strictly looking to pick up a digital copy.
What about game subscriptions?
While not directly gifting a game, you do also have the option of buying your friend a subscription service like PlayStation Plus. Anyone subscribed to PlayStation Plus gets free monthly games that they can keep forever, with premium titles often being offered so PS5 owners have access to the best PS5 games available. They’ll also get instant access to the PlayStation Plus Collection, a selection of PS4 games accessible for PS5 users who are subscribed to PlayStation Plus.
PlayStation Store Gift Card
Work around Sony’s antiquated policy
It’s not ideal, but if you want to give a friend a digital PS4 game, you’ll need to buy them a gift card to do so. Luckily, you have several denominations to choose from, and it does give your friend a choice in what they pick out.
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