#PS4NoDRM: The Next-Gen Twitter Campaign That Has Sony's Attention

Gamers are taking to Twitter to fight for their rights as consumers, and the gaming world seems to be paying attention. It started with a rumour. Following confirmation that the Xbox One will have some form of restriction on the way people can trade and borrow their games, GTTV's Geoff Keighley came out and said he'd heard that Sony is planning something similar for the PS4.

This infuriated hardcore gamers, already fuming at the idea that they may not have full ownership over the Xbox One games they buy — would all next-gen games follow the same trend?

One NeoGAFfer, Pete "famousmortimer" Dodd, decided to organise the mob. He started a thread on the major gaming message board asking people to hop on Twitter and send messages to executives at Sony, using the hashtag #PS4NoDRM. The message: "Hey Sony, we want to be able to buy, sell, and borrow our used games."

Almost immediately, the campaign exploded. As of last night, one NeoGAFfer calculated that there were close to 14,000 tweets with the hashtag #PS4NoDRM The campaign has reached dozens of news sites including NBC News. Even now, people are tweeting messages with the hashtag in hopes of getting Sony's attention.

"It's much larger than I ever imagined," Dodd told me this afternoon. "Honestly thought the post would go about two pages." As of right now, the NeoGAF thread has 105 pages and 467,690 pageviews.

Sony has yet to officially respond to the surging campaign, but some executives have tweeted words of support. Tepid, generic words, but words nonetheless.

"I know my colleagues might not appreciate me saying this," said Sony biz dev manager Shahid Kamal Ahmad, "but I’ve rather enjoyed being Twitter bombed by passionate fans recently."

"Humbled by the outpouring of passionate PlayStation fans and their willingness to talk to us directly," said Sony producer Nick Accordino. "Please know that we hear you. <3"

The strongest statement came from Sony's Adam Boyes, who responded to one Twitterer's criticism by supporting the fan campaign: "imho it's working pretty well, much better than a few letters would. We're seeing the message loudly, and it's immediate."

We've reached out to Sony multiple times for comments on this campaign and the PS4's used game policy, but it has not responded. It's likely we won't hear anything official about its plans until E3, which unofficially begins on June 10, when publishers hold their big press conferences.

Even if it's too late for Sony to change a thing, and even if publisher pressure has pinned the game industry's problems on the easy scapegoat of used games, convincing both Sony and Microsoft to hop on the bandwagon, it's encouraging to see gamers speaking up for their beliefs. And it's encouraging to see Sony acknowledging that they're listening.

"It's easy to be cynical about these soulless corporations, but as I'm sure you know covering the industries... there are real people working there," Dodd said. "They don't like when the internet turns against them. They feel good when people like their work. They're human beings."

So what happens if Sony suddenly announces that the PS4 will have heavy restrictions for used games? Riots, perhaps.

"I'm sure the campaign will continue and turn quite angry," Dodd said. "At that point I would back away. I love games but rage isn't my thing."


    Every time I hear of a games company listening to its customers I think of Mr Burns and his recycling plant.

    I love games but rage isn’t my thing

    I think most people who love games found Rage to not be their thing.


        Haha that that was good but the actual shooting part was good although short

      It may not have been the best game I've ever played but it had fantastic character animation

    What they will create is a missing product that has huge demand. The market may get wide open for a brand new console. Apple or Google?

      If Apple or Google made a console it would almost certainly follow a full digital distribution model (i.e. no physical retail), which means no used games or lending games etc and DRM'ed up the wazoo anyway. Same problem with a different logo.

      Last edited 29/05/13 10:26 am

        Agreed. Bad [very bad] suggestions from me. Thank You.

      People will just switch to Steam because they'll have the option of lending or trading their games in.

        I must have missed a memo, I don't recall being able to do either of those on Steam

          That was the joke.

          It kind of falls flat though because at least Steam holds sales where you can pick up a few dozen AAA games in a publisher pack for about as much as you can pick up one console game.

            That's a possibility on Xbox as well. Right now you can get Alan Wake on the dashboard for $4.95

              An incredibly rare exception to the rule, but also the right direction. Also required to catch up with most of Steam's titles: lower base pricing during non-sales.

                Yeah, the potential is there but I'm not sure it will happen. But it's a possibility. I also saw Max Payne for a few dollars at one stage too. In a world of ios and Steam, hopefully Microsoft realises they need to be a lot more price competitive. Perhaps with the dipping into the pie of used games they will see it as more viable. Only time will tell. But MS has a rep for being greedy.

              And you can get all the Alan Wakes for $1 on PC. Your move.

    Why is it that Sony and MS think that they can control the use and sale of a product like this - cars, books music, dvds can be sold and used second hand so why do they think the games industry is different - and I have no problem with a $5 or $10 online pass to help cover the server maintenance etc for online portions, but this trying to control second hand game use is ridiculous.

      Because of steam and anti piracy that's why and they have every right to

      because you no longer need the disc, think of it as you buy the game, loan it to 30 people, thats 30 people that have not then bought the game

    This infuriated hardcore gamers, already fuming at the idea that they may not have full ownership over the Xbox One games they buy

    That has never been the case even on the PC, Xbox360 and PS3. (Unfortunately) This is true for all software even anything open source falling under the Apache *.* licenses. You DON'T own it, you just bought the and/or agreed to the rights to use it subject to the EULA.

    I don't like it myself, but that is fact.

    Last edited 29/05/13 10:48 am

      It's even broader than that. The same is true of music and movies. In all cases, you own the physical media but the content is controlled by a licence, and that licence can prohibit resale if it chooses to. There is no first sale doctrine in Australia.

      It's never been true in law, it's always been true in practice.

        But its still not a law. So case closed if its ever argued...

        I'm not a legal expert and don't claim to be one. But I was under the impression that you own and agree to the terms of the license, you don't own the copy of the software and the same applies to games (registration keys).

        From Wired (US):
        "The first-sale doctrine of 1909, in its current form, allows the “owner of a particular copy” of a copyrighted work to sell or dispose of his copy without the copyright owner’s authorization. “The first sale doctrine does not apply to a person who possesses a copy of the copyrighted work without owning it, such as a licensee"

        So I don't know how this applies in Australian/UK courts. Maybe someone can enlighten us?

      That is what is scary, how often is the EULA updated? You can't opt out of the update you will be refused service. You have no choice/power after you buy it.

    Just imagine the insane cheering that would happen at Sony's E3 conference if they announce no DRM

      If they anounced it to be No DRM, Region Free there could be a riot as people celebrate.

      The move is sound. Any money you could hope to get off some kind of online resale market pales in comparison to the amount earned from people buying PS4 over XB1.

    I can't help feeling like this whole thing is a massive game of chicken between MS and Sony. Neither of them have wanted to clarify exactly what their stance is (Sony's no white knight here - they've said the exact same things as MS. Both systems 'will play used games' but no info on how or how much it'll cost) and this sort of DRM would really only work if both of them committed to it. If one of them blinks then I hope both will back away from it rather than risk giving their competition a big advantage.

      I'm more concerned that they've signed contracts with EA and other major publishers to do this in order to ensure support and so they CAN'T back away from it even if they want to.

      These companies seem to have forgotten that it's the customers who drive the market and the corporations' job to respond, not the other way around.

        I strongly suspect you're right. In this case, I think, "We hear you," translates to, "We didn't realize this would be such a big deal and we're going to have to figure out some kind of way to sugar-coat this well in advance of announcing the concrete details."

    If both companies have a similar install and lock to your profile type of system in place that allows you give up your rights and trade in your game (which is likely the case) isn't the problem out of our hands as consumers? Isn't it then between the console makers/publishers/retailers to duke it out for who gets what when we trade in games?

      All I know is that GameStop and Eb games are gonna be loooooving this, it could be a complete end to their trade in schemes as we know it... They take trade in iPads ffs!

      The problem is it's the console makers / publishers / retailers who are doing all the negotiating amongst themselves over who gets what. The people who actually trade in their games don't have a voice in the negotiations. So who do you think is the party most likely to get shafted here?

    It's their bat and ball, and I don't HAVE to play their game.
    I really don't see what the issue is - despite being a second-hand game purchaser.
    If it is tied in with mechanisms that will lower initial purchase prices this will all fizz out come launch.
    I see this as the first step to a digital ecosystem for consoles, where there won't be a choice for second-hand games at all.
    On one hand we have people lamenting the impending death of brick-and-mortar stores and physical media, yet there is still such an outcry when the inevitable occurs in the digital distribution age.

      Heh. Maybe the prices will be cheaper. God I'd really like to believe that. I really would. Maybe a console would be a viable platform for me instead of a distraction used almost exclusively to play platform exclusives.

      But do you see that happening? Do you really believe it? The trend of DLC post-sale double-dipping, microtransactions, online passes, sequelitis, sporting franchises with annual releases but no actual updates, always-online DRM... does this REALLY sound like a corporate culture that is going to make use of the possibility for cheaper game sales to encourage the kind of spending Steam sees?

        My belief is that the companies will be aiming for money. Plain and simple. But I don't see any of this becoming an issue once an Apple-esque ecosystem is fully realised.
        What I am sceptical of is the way the iStore will scale up to more pricey (and larger budget) titles. Will people still be happy with the App-style buying structure when the spend $70 instead of $.99? My thought is no, but I suppose it will be up to the people with the new toys to make us believe in the benefits.

    It's going to be a damn mess if the rumours are true. Gamers will essentially have no choice. The Wii U you could argue is different enough of a console that it isn't directly competing against sony and microsoft (different hardware will inevibtably mean that games released for the ps4 and xbone will not go to the Wii U unless it has a massive graphics drop, just like the last generation of consoles) which means gamers will lose either way. There's always the PC of course but there are many console gamers who wouldn't bother going through the hassle of getting a new PC just because they can't play used games (not that they'd find the used games market very good there either but given the rate at which digital distributors for the PC throw sales around, that's not as much of an issue has a console). Granted, it might be the thing that pushes some enough that they do hop to the Wii U or PC.

    Last edited 29/05/13 12:50 pm

    At least with Sony they have heard the sound of the angry mob and may do something about it. E3 is just around the corner and it would be in best interests to announce what they are going to do about the used game area..

    Microsoft can the same thing as well (once they have a clear line because from watching the launch, press releases and reports on Kotaku and Gizmodo because it's all conflicting)

    Im sticking with pc this gen predominately and a wii u for the exclusives.

    If ms and Sony go that path I'll spend my money elsewhere.

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