If you’re not using PlayStation Stars, you’re missing out

Three phone screens with the PlayStation Stars app.

I wouldn’t blame you if you forgot PlayStation Stars existed. In fact, I would guess the majority of people out there have no idea what that even is, but PlayStation’s reward program deserves more attention than it’s getting.

Launched in the summer of 2022, PlayStation Stars is a program meant to reward players for engaging with the PlayStation ecosystem. You can take on challenges to earn digital collectibles and, more importantly, coins that can be redeemed for games, store credit, and some premium in-game currencies.

It’s fairly standard as a rewards system. Yet two years after its launch, Stars still feels like an afterthought that’s yet to be fully integrated into the PlayStation ecosystem. If you’re a regular PlayStation player and aren’t in the Stars program, you could be missing out on a ton of free goodies. That’s not entirely your fault, though, and the program is long overdue for some changes.

Shine bright

The major thorn in PlayStation Stars’ side is access. The only way to take advantage of any of the program’s functions is through the PlayStation app. Two years ago, this seemed like a sort of slow rollout for the program — let people who are dedicated enough to follow PlayStation test it out, then make it more widely available and prominent on consoles. Two years later, nothing has changed.

The process of accumulating any form of reward remains checking the app for a campaign you want to do, accepting it in the app, going over to your console to complete the task, and then returning to the app to see or redeem any rewards. It’s a cumbersome process that goes against the entire point of a rewards program — rewarding players for staying in your ecosystem.

The PlayStation Stars logo in space.

Most of the campaigns that reward players with coins, which can be exchanged for store credit, ask audiences to buy a new release, play a game from the current PlayStation Plus library, or try a new game added to the Extra tier. It’s a small pain to remember to go to the app to start each campaign, which is a shame considering that it’s a useful reward. Individual coin payouts are small, but players can slowly rack up enough for a gift card or free game every year or so with no problem. If nothing else, it is an added incentive to try out at least one new game each month that is already being offered as part of my subscription.

There’s also the curious nature of what purpose Stars’ digital collectibles serve. Some initially predicted they’d have some cosmetic function, letting players show them off to friends on their console. That hasn’t come to fruition yet; they simply sit on a page in the app. The fact that they also come in different rarities makes it even more curious if there wasn’t some bigger plan for them (note that the program did launch during the height of NFT mania).

It’s a minor frustration because I still think the PlayStation Stars program is a hidden gem that more people should take advantage of. Sony itself seems content to not spread the word about it, but that’s to no one’s benefit. We all want to be rewarded for buying and playing games on PlayStation, and PlayStation wants to make it as appealing as possible for us to stay on its platform.

I sincerely hope to see PlayStation expand on the Stars program with direct console integration. Especially now that PlayStation is taking the PC platform more seriously as well with a new overlay, it feels odd for Stars to be relegated to just the app when synergy is the new standard. Until that day, don’t sleep on the Stars program.

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