There's (Probably) Still A Future For Used, Rented And Borrowed Games

Oh boy. Once people had got past the news we'd heard about the next PlayStation Orbis' specs and release date, they got real angry about the fact it's likely to include some measure of "anti-used games" technology. Just like the next Xbox console.

That subsequently led to people thinking that they'll never be able to rent a video game again, or even borrow one from their friends.

I think people need to take a deep breath and calm down for a second.

While we're of course dealing with rumours, and what's about to follow is pure speculation based on those (and some common sense), it doesn't hurt to consider that for every negative possibility inherent in these console's new features, there's maybe - just maybe - a perfectly sensible explanation for it all.

Firstly, while I said this in my original report, I'll reiterate it here again: in all likelihood this won't stop you from playing a pre-owned video game. From what we've heard, all it's likely to do is limit the player's experience on an "unregistered" copy of a game. Maybe that'll mean it has no multiplayer, maybe it'll mean you can only play half the game, who knows.

Whatever form the limiting of content takes, there's only one reason they'd do that and not lock you out entirely: so you could then be sold the ability to re-register, or unlock the rest of the game.

What this is doing, in effect, is transferring the responsibility of the current system of "online passes" - which just about every major publisher now engages in - from the third-party companies to the platform holder itself, making it a far more streamlined and predictable system than the haphazard approach to the idea we have now.

This would keep publishers - and remember, Sony is itself a major publisher - happy, as if it's not cutting down on used sales they're at least making a consistent "unlock" profit on them, while also keeping retailers like GameStop reasonably happy as it's allowing them to continue to trade in games.

It would be bad news for consumers, especially if a $US10 (I'm pulling that number out of my arse) unlock fee didn't in turn result in cheaper used games prices, but look at it this way: if one side in this used games argument wins outright, you'll be really screwed. A little screwed somewhere in the middle ground between both parties sounds like the best of a choice of raw deals.

As for renting games, I see a potential solution for that being even easier. We've heard that retail games will, in addition to being made available on Blu-Ray, will also be purchasable from the PlayStation Network. Now, at the moment, the technology already exists on the PSN to effectively "rent" games. It's what you're doing with PlayStation Plus titles; cease to subscribe and you can't play those games any more.

So I see no problem in renting. Rental outlets could get codes or vouchers that unlock a finite period of play, the codes go out with your game, you can rent games as you do now.

Finally, as far as borrowing games goes...well, that might be a little harder. The only way I can see to get around the Orbis' supposed "locked to one PSN account" policy is that Sony would allow you to sign in on other people's machines. So if you took a game to a friend's house you could login to your account, play the game on it there, then revert back when you leave. Sort of like how you can sign into your gamertag on a friend's Xbox 360 console now for multiplayer (though I admit there might be security problems in allowing you to enter password information inherent to your account's security on someone else's machine).

Now, I could be totally wrong on all of this. Consumers could be about to get screwed like we've never been screwed before. But given the internet's propensity to lunge immediately for the worst-case scenario and then fixate upon it, I figured some slightly less drastic possibilities inherent in "anti-used games technology" were worth pointing out!


Comments

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      Every time I read one of his articles it completely ruins my day.

    I can literally see no reason as to why there is a sexy postlady in this "article".

      To soften the blow maybe?

      Although I see nothing soft about that picture at all.

      its from a gamefly ad, which is a rental service.

        Fair enough, had to google it see the full ad. I suppose there's some relevance.

      You need a reason?

    what? theres an article? all i saw was the postlady. I thought she sold games.....

    Why do games journalists feel the need to play the apologist? Just give us the facts, we can handle the speculation on our own.

    All these things STILL seems like massive inconveniences to consumers and legitimate retailers. At first I was sick of all the hate for this Luke guy but now, honestly... I kind of get it.

      I'm actually shocked that he has posted something that is actually relevant to gaming as opposed to his usual three word 'atricle' with a pretty picture.

      Also, Luke, you're an idiot. Plain and simple. I for one support the general worry about this kind of thing. It will hopefully say to devs that we do not want this shit and its not on.

    I'd be somewhat surprised if they did lock it down entirely, but at the same time it's nothing pretty much every large PC game doesn't already do.

    thats it, I give up. . .

    This site has the WORST community of commenters out of any site I go to. . . Not everyone, just the majority of commenters who post on anything that isn't written by an Australian. . .

    I really do hope Mark reinstates moderating messages before they are posted. . .

      Agreed. It's a cesspit on here recently.

      Luke is an Australian. Based here but writing for the global site.

        I am aware of this, but for the most part his articles are associated with the American Site. . .

          let me rephrase what I originally said:

          Not just everyone, just the majority of commenters who post on anything that isn't written by a member of the Australian Site.

          Plunkett is an Australian working for the American site, as you said. . .

        And the American commenters either use his articles to discuss something relevant or ignore them. It doesn't devolve into a constant stream of vitriol.

          I don't have an issue with people blasting the authors when it's justifiable, but as of late the flaming seems to be an inevitability regarding anything writen by Plunkett or Ashcraft. . .

            I don't think most of them even read the articles. They just see Luke's name, jump to the comments and start firing away.

    The article raising some interesting ideas, but unfortunately I believe that the gaming public, nor the public in general is ready for such a system.

    I am always online at home so this is no problem for me in that respect.

    I however share my Playstation 3 with my girlfriend and we have seperate accounts specifically so i can keep my own save files (she's a bit of a butter-fingers when it comes to saving, and i have lost Fallout and Skyrim saves before because of it) - So this aspect of the experience does concern me a bit.

    The used market... well, i'm not really sure how i feel about it - i have been purchasing from ozgameshop for about 6 months now and have not seen a need to buy from a retail outlet simply because of the price.

    If you'd asked me 6 months ago i guess i would have been annoyed, but since i know there is a better way now, it's not as big a deal - assuming i can keep buying at "not retarded" prices, i'm golden ^_^

    Also, can everyone please stop getting angry at Luke? It's getting really old

    It's like you people are trying to turn it into a meme or something o_O I don't care if you hate the guy or the articles he posts. I really don't.

    I read any Kotaku article that has something of interest to me, and that includes the 3 line cosplay picture articles - not every piece of work that turns up on this site needs to be a masterpiece.

    Seriously, if you don't like it, don't read it - If you read it anyway, and get angry about it, express your opinions ON THE ARTICLE, not on the author.

    If you have problems with an AUTHOR you send Kotaku an email and rant all you like - if you have a problem with an article, THAT'S WHEN YOU POST IN THE COMMENTS SECTION.

    Got it?

      This is a really badly written article that needed some "out-loud" proof reading.

        it's almost 2012 I hope I can play this efobre the world's destruction, so I can die happily joke, klei entertainment and staff, the shank fans will support you, and shank I hope your not happy and revenge is still your hobby no hard feelings because your fans want a 3rd installment hahaha ^_^

      Seriously, if you don't like the comments, don't read them. Oh wait, you had to read them to decide you didn't like them? Great job there. Saved the whole internet.

    In other words, it'll now be perfectly ok to make copies of a PS4 game disc because it'll be useless without buying an unlock code, that's a good win-win situation! You can support the developer while snubbing the greedy retailer at the same time!

    Good outcome.

    Slowly but surely, we move into a age where in reality, nothing we own is tangable, and without the large companies that create it, literally doesn't exist. This is the future we march towards, legislation will no doubt be implemented in the coming years I can hope that will help control this market of 'use only games'

    Why the hell is everyone getting so angry???

    Jesus - Luke's actually just trying to put some people at ease about this whole "no used games" thing. he makes plenty of sense, and i said the exact same things as him in the previous article and had plenty of people AGREEING with me - yet luke says something similar (and adds to it) and he's pond scum??

    yeah, his articles are sometimes lacklustre, but some of you people seriously need to grow the hell up.

      I will never grow up sir i will play with my pokemon cards and lego forever
      MWAHAHAHAHA

        YOU'RE NOT A TRUE LEGO FAN GO DIE IN A POT OF BOILING BANANAS!

          How would you like a brown delicious to the face?!

        I love it when you troll me. It makes me all moist.

        Also, why play with pokemon cards when we have the gameS?!?!

        ALSO ALSO - LEGO FOR THE MOTHER-FETHING WIN!!!!!!
        Still need to get that Super Star Destroyer...

          I am glad you went with the word moist, because seriously it wasn't disturbing enough already:P

      Some people are just asses like that I guess. Don't really understand it myself either. If they do not like Lukes post simply do not read them. And certainly do not post on them being twats etc.

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