Rumour: The PS4 Has Used Games DRM

Rumour: The PS4 Has Used Games DRM

TV host and industry pundit Geoof Keighley has said on tonight’s Bonus Round TV show that, according to his sources, Sony is looking at some form of digital rights management for the sale of used games.

It’s not the first time such a rumour has popped up; we told you the same thing over a year ago, and Sony’s vague, open-ended statements on the matter to date have done little to ease people’s fears.

Hearing it again, weeks after the PS4’s reveal, only adds to speculation the console will, like Microsoft’s Xbox One, seek to take a little control (and money) back from resellers like GameStop.

Our only hope? That the flood of negative reaction to Microsoft’s approach will convince Sony — who have yet to publicly announce their plans in this regard — to quietly walk away from the idea.

We checked in with Sony about this last week, and will update you if we hear anything more.

Bonus Round [GTTV]


  • Due to the negative backlash Sony is reconsidering their approach to this and are listening to feedback from their consumers on the matter.

      • And – less glamourously – it appears to have sweat grips. Something I have wanted from console controllers since the dawn of time,

        I have big hands. It’s nothing to be ashamed of >.>

  • I’m guessing they would. MS wouldn’t have made their drastic change without knowing Sony would do the same.

    • I was thinking the exact same and it honestly all makes sense. Publishers deserve a right to get some cash with the trading of games.

      • Yes they deserve some money, but the way they’re going about it is wrong. They’re going after gamers because we pretty much have to take what we’re given, when if it was as big a threat to the industry as they’ve been proclaiming they would have been going after places like GameStop six years ago. We’re in the crossfire between publishers are retail.
        The idea is publishers get to sit back and shrug their shoulders at retailers as though it’s out of their hands, and gamers just happen to get screwed over in the process.

      • What is the deal with this? You are saying that I buy a game and then sell it on after I finish with it, I or the buyer pays extra back to the person (company) I first bought it from.

        I am happy to be told different, but it seems rather silly. If I go and buy a car from Toyota, I dont (or the buyer of my used car) doesnt pay a commission back to Toyota.

        I just don’t get it. It seems the digital age has allowed those publishers to screw us, back in my day if I bought a CD or cassette (yes) then that was it, end of transaction.

      • Why? The standard bargain of copyright was that the creator would get exclusive rights to make new copies, but only be able to control the first sale of those copies.

        If they want to control subsequent sales, what rights are they willing to give up in exchange? A shorter copyright term, perhaps?

      • Publishers deserve a right to get some cash with the trading of games.

        Wrong. Their role cost wise ends at the counter. They can offer updates and DLC at their own discretion but in terms of second hand sales that is beyond their bounds and they have no right what so ever.

        If what you imply is true, then I should be paying Ford $200 for my second hand Laser (85 model), I should be paying Silicon Knights $20 for the $10 second hand copy of Eternal Darkness I found at the Salvos, and I should pay Apple $50 for the second hand G4 PowerMac I found at cash converters.

        And that line of reasoning has more flaws in it than Windows 98 when it first came out!

        Finally, why should the publishers get some cash anyway? They are not the ones who developed the game in the first place.

        • Because the publishers paid for the damn thing and are taking the financial risk of failure…..

        • Yeah this reminds me, we just had a car company go down in this country last week.

          You know in all the hand wringing and soul searching about it NOT ONCE did I hear anybody complain that Used Cars are killing the industry.

          • You wouldn’t complain about finally going under after receiving insane government handouts that was the sole reason you survived 10 years longer than your use by date. It may sound harsh for the employees now out of a job, but that is the nature of the economy we live in.

      • No they don’t. People are not trading their property without their permission. This isn’t piracy. People are buying their games. If they choose to sell their copy of a game they purchased then that is their choice. I don’t see why these massive billion dollar companies should feel the need to be double dipping into consumers pockets. Developers should be pushing for a bigger cut of the billion dollar profits. If they really are not getting a big enough cut they should take their skills elsewhere. The decision to do this to their customers was made by old fat men in business suits who have no idea about gaming.

        I really feel this is a form of theft and any company willing to implement this system should be investigated by a consumer watchdog.

    • They wouldn’t have known anything about Sony’s plans though.

      Thing is, people don’t seem to realise, you can’t just have a DRM system for used games only. If you have a DRM system, then it is for all games. The only way the PS4 would know it’s a used game, is if it was registered as a brand new game. Which would mean the PS4 would require an internet connection, which would mean that you couldn’t take your game to a friends house because the game would be registered to your account, which means you can’t loan your game to your friend etc etc. Sony has once before said that the PS4 won’t require an internet connection to play games. So they have already partially debunked the DRM rumors.


        tl;dr is that they were considering it, of course. The publishers are the ones who came up with this idea and approached both Sony and MS (MS doesn’t deserve all of the hate for “coming up with the idea”, it was – surprisingly enough – an EA push on both systems).

        Sony developed a “solution”, but is not committed to it, and doesn’t *want* to implement it, by all accounts. That’s why EA didn’t show up at the PS4 launch and have an exclusivity on some content with MS – they’re throwing their weight around and demanding implementation if either company wants to be “supported”, or if they don’t, they’ll be made to “fall”. See Nintendo.

        MS embraced it immediately and fully, seeing it as a way to usurp Gamestop and essentially walk in and “steal” a big chunk of used games – idea being that if anyone is going to “control” used games, it’ll be them – not Gamestop.

        At the moment, Sony still doesn’t want to go down this route, and is obviously looking at the backlash as a way to bail completely.

        Even without the backlash, it was 70% likely they wouldn’t go ahead with it, and were willing to lose all access to EA games.

        Compiled from a LOT of reports and such. Sorry, only have those easy links.

        Meanwhile – XBone is confirmed for region locking.

        • If this is true, I will support Sony with a PS4 purchase. I wasn’t intending to with any degree of urgency, but I’m also not going to just sit by and watch a company go unrewarded for taking the right side in the war against consumers.

          Not having any EA games isn’t a big deal. I’m already boycotting them over their fucking ridiculous Always Online / heavy microtransaction/DLC / franchise-ruining / Australia-taxing bullshit. They’ve done plenty to earn my revulsion and disgust.

          It’s a shame. I’ll really miss the Mass Effect and Dragon Age franchises. Especially if the next games turn out to be any good. But VIDEO GAMES ARE IMPORTANT, DAMMIT.

          • EA won’t boycot a console. The money they lose from that, cannot be made up from any other source. If anything, they are bluffing.

          • I was planning on not buying anymore EA games on the PC I guess now I will have to not buy them on my PS4.

          • I’m reading reports and snippets based on rumours and sources, so it’s third hand at best. Could be wrong.

            That said, there’s apparently a LOT of mini leaks and insiders reporting the same thing on this, which lends a level of credence.

        • Is it all that surprising that EA were behind it all?
          This is the same company that were willing to cancel using the online pass system for used games and soak up the good will for doing so, fully aware that the Xbone would have what is essentially the exact same thing.

        • If XBone won’t enable me to import UK region titles from ozgameshop, that might be the dealbreaker. Everything until now I’ve been unconcerned with, but leaving me at the mercy of Australian retailers is a different story.

          • Hopefully the region locking will be structured as it is now so that we can still import UK games and blu-ray. If not it is a deal breaker for me as well.

          • Reading that article (both the quote from MS and the writer of the article itself) actually trying to justify region locking made me feel slightly queasy.

            But the 360 did play UK import games OK, didn’t it? I.e. if you got a UK import of Left 4 Dead 2 or Mortal Kombat, it would still play OK on an Australian 360, wouldn’t it? If so, that’d make a mockery of the claim that region locking is somehow necessary to comply with local laws and regulations. As would the fact that Sony were able to sell region free PS3’s and software in those same jurisdictions without legal issues.

          • It’s not illegal to sell region-free consoles…but apparently it is to sell region-free games in some cases. Microsoft are probably complying with recommendations whereas Sony chooses to ignore them. Regarding 360 games – you could import Chinese, British and European stock of almost any Xbox 360 game. I even have a bunch of American copies of games that work fine…it’s case by case and alot of publishers don’t do it anyway…Microsoft leaves it up to publishers essentially.

          • Well if its no different than what we already have with 360 that’s not so bad. Region free would be better of course.

          • I guess it becomes more of an issue when you factor in MS taking a cut of the sale of each used game.

            With region locking, they can essentially dictate a monopoly in each market (like Aus) in order to maximise their revenue from those territories.

            If it’s sticking to region locking in order to maximise trade-in profits for themselves, that’s…a new level of anti-consumer.

          • If it’s bluray regions, I don’t really care, as we are the same region as the UK anyway. If they actually lock down by country, that’s the nail in the coffin for me.

        • I don’t think Sony could afford to have EA boycott the console.

          It may not be big to some people who don’t like EA but they are a huge seller of games (especially Fifa, Madden etc).

          That’s huge if it is true.

          (but also EA lose out big if they don’t get sales to PS4 machines)

          • I am going to buy a PS4 if Sony sticks up against EA. Otherwise I will put my money towards PC and indie gaming.

            Not a chance in hell I will be putting a cent towards the xbone. I have already cancelled my XBL gold account.

        • If this is true, I’ll be more proud of Sony than any child I may one day sire.

        • Fuck I hope that report is right and it seems to shed more light on why Nintendo is in EA’s doghouse.

          If EA bails on a Nintendo platform it won’t be the end of them, but if they bail on Playstation they are cutting themselves out of Europe’s (and therefore FIFA’s) biggest console.

        • If this is true then it is more reason why we should be vocal about our dissaproval.
          I know some people have some warped belief that killing the second hand game market is the “right” thing to do… I simply have no idea why they think so.

          How many new implementations by game companies over the past decade have been anything other than another way to get more money out of consumers?
          DLC, DRM, microtransactions, always online, and now this…

  • Frankly I say too bad to the whole Used Game industry. PC Gamers been living with it for a while.

    Now before you all go flaming this comment, I will admit the job integrity with retailers will be affected and the whole bull$%&^ where we can’t take a game to a mates and play it with them etc really blows and I honestly don’t know how to turn it into a win win for everyone.

  • I’m sure Sony have something similar, and I doubt they can walk away from it. Wouldn’t surprise me if they’ve signed contracts with major publishers (I’m looking at you, EA) guaranteeing something like this in exchange for support. And if it turns out to be true then my enthusiasm for PS4 will take a hit, that’s for sure.

  • It would be stupid of Sony to have some kind of used game DRM now considering how annoyed everyone is about the Xbox One having it. If Sony doesn’t have it, then that one thing could very likely make Sony the number 1 console for the next generation. But then again, I thought it would have been stupid of MS to do the same thing, and look what they’ve done (though I am half expecting them to backtrack somewhat on that).

    Thinking about it though, I wonder how this would affect not only game stores like EB, etc, but local video hire shops. I haven’t been to my local Video Ezy in a while, but I assume they still have games for rent. With this sort of thing, they wouldn’t be able to do that any more because no-one would rent them if they have to pay more money.

  • I thought they did address this, but if they have the policy as MS on this matter, Ill be very disappointed.

  • If they don’t (which isn’t going to happen), who do publishers develop for?

    Xbox, which may have a smaller market share… but will give you revenue now, but also some amount of ongoing revenue.
    PS4, which may have a larger market share… but is only going to be paying you once.

    It’s an interesting question, but yeah… it ain’t going to happen.

    • As much as some of these issues will be a pain, I’m really supportive of the developers getting more for their work. You can imagine that large gaming corporations have been working with the console makers and this would be a common thread. We’ll gladly do business with you but you need to protect our product…

      Like you i’m keen to know which way this goes.

      • Well then maybe instead of wanting a cut of second hand games, they put their games online at sale prices that are cheaper than buying used. It works ok for Steam.

        • Well said. If I could jump online and grab some year old games for $10-$40 that’d be an even better solution

          • Agree about pricing. 100 sales at 20 bucks is better than 10 at 100 bucks. Steam is a perfect example of this… Microsoft did do a massive sale just as the PS4 was announced and I’m really hopeful that this showed them the untapped opportunity there.

            I think your statement however is a little ‘glass half empty’. The way I see this is that Microsoft is enabling game makers to get a share of the pre owned market, a market they have never had access to. While yes they are taking a cut, they are providing a service and an additional revenue stream. Apple takes a cut of their apps/music etc and people gladly pay that because it’s a sales stream you want access to. Business shouldn’t have an issue with that.

            I am completely against a totally online model also.. unless, as we will have with disc based games, there is competition. Currently, we have the option of buying from a JB or an ozgameshop. Im still hoping that blu ray will allow us to also purchase from the US. If they went digital., I wouldn’t trust microsoft to keep the prices low. This way we get the competition which will keep the games prices reasonable and as I see it, this is going some of the way to restore the balance and giving a little back to the developers who do deserve a larger cut of the revenue generated from this and I strongly believe the retail sector should get a little less.

          • I shake my head when I see games on demand for $109 that I could get for $69 at JB Hi Fi but then I feel hope when I see Alan Wake for $4.95 right now. If they could make their service more like Steam that’d be great

          • Microsoft do have sales but they never promote them, did you know there’s a Disney sale this week, I picked up the Toy Story 3 game for $10 (600 pts) and other ones on sale include Epic Mickey, Split/Second, Tron and various others, but you won’t find any link to them on the dashboard, nor will you find it in Major Nelson’s blog!

    • Another factor to consider is retailer support. A platform that supports their business model (of which used games are a major part) may well attract more support from retailers in terms of shelf space, in-store promotion, sales staff recommendations, etc.

        • That’s what killed the PSPGo everywhere – the retailers saw they weren’t going to make any money off the games (not even new ones) so refused to stock it. That, combined with the fact that it was expensive and the games were all full RRP on PSN when you could get them on UMD for much less if you bought them at retail for a regular PSP.

        • The PSP Go suffered from the fact it was online only and you could not even get an adapter for the UMD disks.

          At least this is from memory, I did not have one. I always went with the disk based PSP.

    • With regards to this, remember that EA and Activision are publishers and the developers Bioware, Treyarch, Infinity Ward get only 1 slice of the pie courtesy of their publishers to pay for actual development of a title, after the title gets released, all the money goes to the publisher and the people who put their time, effort and skills into making the games you enjoy are effectively working on a retainer.
      If we are hoping that our extra payments for used games will trickle down to a developers wallet then we are mistaken. There are a few exceptions to this such as indie developers who rarely go through any sort of publishing house and receive most of the money themselves. Ubisoft is an exception as well, kind of. They have regional development houses that operate under the same name as the publishing parent company, Ubisoft Montreal for example.

  • All this talk of used games. Who buys them anyway? They’re usually the same price as a new copy.

    Not to mention the fact that PC gamers have had to deal with no used games for sometime now and they seem to be handling it just fine.

  • I think the way for Sony and MS to do it is to cut a deal with the retailers so they take a cut at the counter, instead of another charge on the system. Consumers will be angry at the perception they are paying again for something they believe they already paid for, but will imo will just wear higher used game prices. I’ve seen retailers charging more for used games than brand new platinum/gold versions. I think most people just believe used games are cheaper but they don’t check.

  • Why do Microsoft/Sony/publishers in general think that they can get away with this? I don’t see car manufacturers asking car yards to pay a fee for selling a 2nd hand car. Or book publishers claiming lost sales to second hand bookstores, or friends lending eachother books, or libraries allowing people to borrow them for free!
    Imagine what would happen to op shops/charity shops if clothing/shoe/furniture manufacturers insisted on a cut of the second hand sale.

  • considering how the Xbone turned out I’m not calling bullshit just yet

  • Sony have a huge opportunity here to win the “console war” even before it’s started. I truly hope they are watching and listening to the public’s reaction to corporate greed and the big middle finger they are giving to consumers — you know, the consumers that are the only reason for your company’s existence in the first place.

    It’s pretty simple really just listen to what the market wants. I realise it’s sometimes not that straight forward — you can’t make everyone happy— and I also realise things change over time and you need to implement new features to try and stay relevant and competitive with technology and by all means, innovate and evolve and attract new audiences and business, but for the love of god do not alienate your core market, the people who put you where you are in the process.

    End nonsensical rant.

  • If publishers can give me a license to play their game for as long as I have their permission, can I just give them a license to hold onto my money for as long as they have my permission? They’re not allowed to spend the money because it’s still mine, and if they try to swap my money with someone else’s money that they can spend, then I get a cut of that money too.

    • In a perfect world, this would be correct. However in today’s world, you pay for a license to keep what you paid for until the company tells you otherwise. You don’t own anything anymore, but you own the right to be a part of the experience of pretending to have ownership of an object, but not the content

  • While I don’t buy used games (I’m OCD about it being brand new),u shouldn’t disable people from sharing games with friends.

  • That’s it – I’m not getting any of the next generation consoles.

    Instead, I am going to take my money and acquire retro consoles like the SNES, Mega Drive, etc.

    Back then it was about the games and not freaking profit margins!

    • I’m going to go out on a limb and say it was still about profit margins. It’s sort of how the system works

    • It was about profit then too. Sega do what Nintendont.

      Difference is they did not price gouge you with dlc, online passes and other inane crap.

      • Don’t you mean Sega/Genesis ‘does’ what Nintendon’t?

        Anyway, while profit was a factor back then there were also limits on games so you had to carefully plan and build your games.

      • They just gouged you up front on the game itself. Remember Street Fighter 2 on SNES? That was something like $140. And that was in early 1990s money, too.

        • I saved up so hard as a kid to buy Road Rash on the game boy. But then I saw NBA Jam was there, which was loads of fun on my friend’s Mega Drive. I spent the extra money to buy that. $90.

          After I got home and played it, I experienced the hardest buyers remorse I’d ever experienced in my then young life, and was sad almost to the point of tears when I realized I’d made a huge mistake. Fortunately, my savvy mother noted that I could just return the game.

          I went back and bought Road Rash and played it forever and ever.

          …I love you, Road Rash.

    • The sad thing is that in 20 years time when people want to acquire ‘retro’ like the xbone and ps4 they won’t be able to because none of the 2nd hand games will work without paying more money (assuming the activation services are still up)

      • yeah I have had that talk with people.

        Same with older games that are still on current consoles. The don’t manufacture new copies of original PS3 and 360 games. They get discontinued. The only way I got a copy of Metroid Prime trilogy was to go 2nd hand. Why take that away?

        • Why take that away?

          Because publishers are greedy. It has gotten to the point where a mega profit is expected no matter how buggy or identical it is to previous or existing games.

          And when the mega profit does not emerge, second hand sales are now to blame. In the past it was piracy.

          We should bring back some of the practices used back in the 80s and 90s. Classic example, Nintendo’s three game per year limit (or higher, it depends what source you read).

          Long story short, if you wanted your game on a Nintendo console you only got three shots each year and it had to be exclusive on the console for a period of time. Now this was cleaver because it meant you really had to sit down and design and build your game perfect because there was no second shot.

          If you made one bad game, that is a good third of the year you have lost.

  • “Well, well, PS4 is going to have used game DRM TOOO!!!”

    oh oh xbox fanboi blogger getting mad about all the Xbone hate…

  • This is surprising coming from Doritogate Keighley? He’s clearly in M$’ pocket, wouldn’t surprise me if he trumped up this rumour to generate negative press for Sony – it’s already been debunked on GAF as being false.

  • I thought they had said it was an optional feature and up to the publisher to use, like the region locking on PS3?

  • These days we own an object (the disc) however through sneaky contracts (terms and conditions) the content stays the property of the company and is there’s to do with as they deem fit. We don’t actually “own” anything anymore, we “purchase the ability” to be privileged enough to see and experience the content. Think of this as an expensive way of renting a game from a video store

    • That has been the case for years. Even with Atari 2600 games you only purchased a license to play the game. You didn’t actually own the code on it.

      Heck that is how it has been with software in general for decades (but that is another matter).

    • To phrase my comment a different way.

      When I buy a game, I own the physical disc, case and booklet. If I want to use the disc for its intended purpose, I bought the right to do so. If I want to snap the disc, burn the booklet or throw the whole lot at the wall or blow it up, then that’s all fine too.

      Resale of games or DVDs has been a legal grey area for years and now the companies have found a way to turn that grey market into their favor. However the side effect (locking people out of lending games to friends) is more of a punishment to the consumer than anything else

      • Resale of games or DVDs has been a legal grey area for years and now the companies have found a way to turn that grey market into their favor.

        You cannot be serious! There is nothing grey about it. Secondhand sales are 100% legal.

        What is happening is publishers (and some developers) are trying to gouge more money from consumers. They do not want to accept the age old fact that their role in the product supply chain ends at the register.

        Second hand sales has existed since the dawn of time. But what has happened of late is publishers (and again some developers) have become so obsessed with profit they are trying to find more ways to harvest a buck with little to no effort.

        And this behaviour of theirs needs to stop. We are already on a similar verge to the 1983 video game crash and this obsessive behaviour is only accelerating the process. It is only a matter of time before publishers go too far across the line and consumers will vacate the market because they are tired of publishers et. al. trying to control their (the consumer’s) habits beyond the register.

  • From game shops to games libraries to libraries for games. This is the future where only ms, sony and pirates own actual games. Consumers are just ‘borrowing’

  • Uggh Fanboys make my head hurt…

    Microsoft has the same system for used games = Everyone thinks their evil
    Sony uses it = everyone likes the idea

    • I do not mean to be rude, but nobody likes what Sony is doing either. So it is not Fanboyism, it is consumers in general getting sick to death of over controlling publishers.

  • sounds like a conspiracy, but i think its quite valid that EA, with its powerful publishing power (unfortunately), is pressuring Sony to do the same thing as microsoft; or else its not going to publish games for the ps4. Not all games, as EA makes good money from the PS brand. Alternately, they could delay the release of games for the ps4, releasing them earlier for xbone. I wonder what Sony will do…

  • Everyone calm the hell down. Basically you have to unregister the game from your profile if you want to permanently sell the game to someone else. Both consoles are going to implement this.

    The only reason you’d need to pay a fee is if you wanted to fully install a game disk on your console and your mate’s console and play them at the same time.

  • Its quite funny watching this whole thing play out really. Its quite the experiment watching developers cry and cry about how they should receive more money from used games even though they have absolutely no right as they have been paid in full when the game was purchased in the first place. But if u continue to say something over and over a lot of people will begin to believe it anyway.

  • I can see Microsoft and Sony pushing on with this licensed model for used content.
    Both are probably trying to push consumers to digital distribution of content like Steam.
    This would only work if they have sales like Steam to take the sting out of constantly buying new titles.

  • Is it possible that Sony would go down the same path as Nintendo and stick to publishing their own games or publishing games from non first party developers? If all of this is true and the DRM stuff is being pushed by EA, who would flinch first? Could EA afford to lose access to potentially 70 million gamers? COuld Sony aford to potentially lose customers who want access to EA content?

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