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I wanted to buy Gran Turismo 5 for my PS3, and I realized it is not available on the Playstation Store. Games can be as cheap as half the price of those in regular retailers, and that's why downloading them is an attractive option. Also, saving all the shipping + plastic and paper is ideal, environmentally speaking.

Why aren't all games available on the PS Store, then?

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Currently, all of the answers are amounting to "I think". I want to remind people that come across this that we're a Q&A site, not a discussion forum. So please make sure that when you're responding, that you're trying to provide a good answer rather than just conjecture about what might be the cause. –  Grace Note Feb 16 '11 at 14:45
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3 Answers

up vote 5 down vote accepted

IMO The main reasons are

  • High profile AAA titles (like GT5) are very large and even with fast internet speeds would take a long time to download and put huge strain on the PSN infrastructure, as potentially millions of people would want to download it at once. Smaller indie and older titles are not so big and dont have the same huge release day pressure on the network.

  • Sony controls the PSN Store, has various rules in place and take a cut, publishers want to control their own releases and already have contracts in place with game stores to sell the physical media.

  • It is surprising how few people are tech savvy enough to use something like PSN properly as opposed to picking up a game from the shops, especially if it is a present or the purchaser is under legal age to perform online transactions. So there is still a higher demand for physical media (with the exception of small titles where the price and quantities doesnt justify this).

It is possible (and probable in the coming years) for them to go more the steam route (with pre downloads etc) but the console market is not structured around that sort of thing at present.

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Your first point (large size) may not be a factor. Currently "Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception™ Single Player" is in the Instant Game Collection (so millions will potentially download it for "free"), and it's 38.5 gigabytes (AU version). –  Hugh Allen Aug 20 '13 at 7:41
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I would imagine they do it to make more money on new games. Most games in the online store I've seen are priced around $20 to $25. Most physical games cost $50 to $60 when they are first released, which probably includes several dollars in per-unit cost for manufacturing and materials. Despite the manufacturing cost, I think selling a game on the store would reduce per-unit revenue by about 50% (assuming a lower price point).

Once a game has been out for a few years, it will sometimes find its way to the Playstation Store. When it does, I've noticed it has about the same price as a new copy of the physical game.

This is similar to the book market. When a book is first published, demand is high, so the publishers make it available only in high-cost hardback format. Once demand is lower, they'll release the book as a cheaper paperback.

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What about Mass Effect 2 though? It was on day one at $60. –  Corv1nus Feb 15 '11 at 21:16
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I think it's up to the publishers to put them on the Playstation Store. When they don't want to sell it via download, you can't buy it this way.

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