How to buy a digital copy of a PS4 or PS5 game for your friend

by Joseph K. Clark

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 to give your friend a digital game.

How to buy a digital copy of a PS4 or PS5 game for your friend

Unfortunately, you can’t technically gift a digital copy of a game on PS4 or PS5 anymore. 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’d like to send them a PlayStation Store gift card so they can buy it 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. While inconvenient, a physical copy will be your only option if you genuinely want to buy a game for someone without them.

Fortunately, suppose this is indeed the way you want to do it. In that case, Sony continues to produce physical copies of all its first-party games from Sony Worldwide Studios and major third-party titles from other companies. All the best PS5 games will be available physically and digitally for the foreseeable future.

Why can’t we gift digital games anymore?

Effective April 1, 2019, Sony disallowed retailers to sell total 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 to continue to align key businesses globally. SIE will introduce increased denominations at select retailers to support full games and premium editions. DLC, add-ons, virtual currency, and season passes will still be available.”


Previously, people could buy digital game codes through stores like Amazon, Best Buy, and GameStop. Now, however, that’s no longer an option. Unfortunately, there aren’t many other options for those looking for different paths to gifting games to their friends, especially if you want to pick up a digital copy.

What about game subscriptions?

While not directly gifting a game, you can also buy your friend a subscription service like PlayStation Plus. Anyone subscribed to PlayStation Plus gets free monthly games they can keep forever, with premium titles often offered, so PS5 owners have access to plenty of fun. In addition, 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.

Our pick

PlayStation Store Gift Card

Workaround Sony’s antiquated policy

It’s not ideal, but if you’re wondering how to gift PS4 digital games to your friends, you’ll need to buy them a gift card. Luckily, you have several denominations to choose from, and it does give your friend a choice in what they pick out.

Another option

PlayStation Plus

Stay subscribed for new games. While you won’t be directly buying your friend a game, they’re still sure to appreciate a PlayStation Plus membership, which grants several free games monthly. We may earn a commission for purchases using our links. Learn more.<img src=”” alt=”These are the best cases for travel with your PS4″ srcset=” 300w,&#10; 200w,&#10; 100w” data-size=”4x3small” sizes=”150px” loading=”lazy”/>

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