Sony has just launched its PlayStation Stars service in Japan, and it will be expanding outward in a few more weeks. It’s a loyalty program that sure seems like it may have once been an NFT thing, offering “digital collectibles” you can earn and acquire, but Sony swears that the blockchain has nothing to do with this.
But, that has now led into a new controversy, one that Japanese PlayStation Stars members have noted. The issue is that one of the tiers, first reported by VGC, appears to give members access to better customer service through Sony.
“When contacting PlayStation Customer Support, you will be given priority in the chat order,” says a description for a level 4 tier perk, which requires you to buy four full price games from the PlayStation store and earn 128 rare trophies. Tier 4 appears to be the highest level of tier in the loyalty program, given that the official Stars site says there are only four total.
This priority customer service concept is not listed on the English site for PlayStation Stars, which talks only about Loyalty Points, which can be redeemed for PSN wallet funs and other products, and digital collectibles, the non-NFT virtual figurines you will display in a display case in your profile.
The problem, of course, is that most people don’t agree with the concept that people who spend more money in the story should be given higher priority in the queue for customer support, an already notorious hard thing to navigate for most video game brands. It does feel weird this would be included in the tier rewards of this supposedly “just for fun!” new program.
We are waiting to hear a statement from Sony on the issue, and we do not know if the Japanese perk would necessarily translate into other regions’ version of PlayStation Stars, though there’s no reason to think it wouldn’t. One suggestion I’ve heard is that loyal PS Stars folks should be able to have priority for new hardware purchases like PS5, or someday, PS6, though I imagine that would be its own level of controversial.
PlayStation Stars mostly struck me as weird because of the whole digital collectible thing that felt like an aborted web3 play, but this new issue is more tangible. Other than that, earning PSN Wallet Funds just for owning and playing games does sound pretty good, so I feel like the program is a net positive overall, this recent dust-up aside.
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Pick up my sci-fi novels the Herokiller series and The Earthborn Trilogy.