As the fourth-generation PlayStation's launch looms, Sony is making sure that its console and portable gamers will have the freedom of choice to shop around for virtual products to play on their hardware.

Word out today is that US residents can now purchase digital versions of their favorite PlayStation-branded games from etailers other than Sony.

The place to launch the new service is Amazon's PlayStation Network Store, which is now open for business and stocked with titles for both PlayStation 3 and PlayStation Vita.

PlayStation 4 titles are a no-show at the moment, but will presumably make their way to Amazon's digital storefront soon enough, given that the console arrives this Friday in the US before making its way to Europe on November 29.

Five for free

As a little extra incentive for buying digital versions, Amazon is offering a $5 credit for a limited time, good toward a future PSN purchase through the end of 2014.

The only catch is prospective buyers will only have 10 PS3 titles to choose from, thought it includes favorites such as Assassin's Creed, Batman: Arkham Origins and Battlefield 4.

Amazon reportedly won't be the only etailer offering digital games for the PlayStation Network, although no others have popped up on the radar at this writing.

Amazon's PlayStation Network Store offers a glimmer of hope that Sony gamers will be able to shop around for the best virtual deal, thus eliminating one key advantage once held by packaged software.

Via Engadget