Sony Won't Answer These Questions About PS4 DRM And Used Games... Yet

Used games. Love'em or hate'em, you've probably got some opinion on the furore surrounding how we'll buy, sell and borrow video games in the future. Microsoft has already revealed plans to restrict used games in some way for Xbox One, and Sony has been murky about how the PS4 will handle them.

Lots of gamers are still campaigning for pro-consumer policies on the PS4, and at least a few Sony execs are paying attention. But the company has yet to say anything official.

So being the relentlessly-pestering reporters we are, we've reached out to Sony several times over the past few days with questions about their policies. Here's what we asked:

1) Sony has previously said that the PS4 does not require an online connection. To be clear, is this true perpetually, or will the console need to occasionally connect online? If so, how often?

2) Will games need to be registered online in order to use them the first time out?

3) Will the PS4 games be able to be bought and sold used? Or will there be an online activation fee that essentially causes a used game to cost as much as a new game, thereby eliminating the relevance of used games?

Last night, a Sony representative finally got back to us. His response:

I looked into this, and at this point we’re not providing any additional clarification beyond what we stated around the PS4 announcement. If anything changes, I’ll be sure to keep you posted.

We're expecting to hear more at E3 in a week and a half — and of course we'll be pressing both Microsoft and Sony for more details at every opportunity. Hopefully it has straight answers by then.

UPDATE: Question 2 actually had been answered by Sony. And we had reported it: "At a roundtable this morning, Sony's game studios chief, Shuhei Yoshida, told reporters that any requirement for users to register a game online in order to play it would be left to game publishers. Sony won't require that." (Emphasis added.) Apologies for missing that during our attempts to clarify just how similar or dissimilar Sony's next-gen policies are from Microsoft's.


Comments

    any requirement for users to register a game online in order to play it would be left to game publishers. Sony won’t require that.

    I'm 100% fine with this. I'm even 100% fine with it being mandatory if it's a once off registration that worked like STEAM, i.e. only required you connecting once to register your code then allowing you to play offline indefinitely. The way MS has done it though, no.

    Ok Sony, I'm definitely interested... my curiosity is piqued, keep talking...

      The MS way of periodically checking your install is valid allows disc free gaming and the ability to sell/trade games. If you sell or trade, when the next person installs the game it revokes your licence and you can no longer play it. How do you propose a similar system when people can just install a bunch of games and then just stay offline. Or do you want to keep swapping out discs for the sake of not connecting to the internet every so often (I'm fairly sure it'll end up being more than 24hrs in the end).

        I'll happily leave the disc in the tray to not connect on a daily basis. I don't play multiple games at once I'm usually working my way though a specific game.

        Actually, yes,I prefer swapping discs. And do you realize MS implemented this system not because they thought swapping discs was bad (why would they? I haven't seen any large uproar of people complaining about having to swap discs... install the game yes, which this does require, but not swapping discs)? They did this so they can institute a system that makes sure they get a cut of used games (this way they can enforce that when you sell that digital game that it will be effectively erased from your console cause your console will check in and see if it needs to de-activate a code).

        That's why people are so upset. They are adding an extra inconvenience that has no benefit to the customer, only benefit to MS. And since we are the ones giving them money, they should be having to justify this to us, not just tell us it probably won't affect us (internet for anyone can go down and this means your computer could check in when you don't have net and then you'll have to wait til you do).

      I agree. I don't mind registering it once, I mind having to keep checking in to play it.

        Blame the people who want to sell and trade games then. If it was an install once and the key is used system then the incentive to resell or trade would be completely gone like it is on PC. Console users are only used to swapping out discs because it wasn't possible to play any other way before, once they get the ability to jump to another game when a friend pops up online instead of having to swap out the disc they will more than likely love it.
        Just because the system also allows for devs and publishers to get a fair cut from used sales doesn't make it a money grubbing exercise, it just means that the money that EB and JB would usually whore out of used games is going mainly back to where it belongs instead 100% to a retailer that uses it as a cash cow.

    Sony are smart to not say anything about DRM, look at how much free publicity they are getting.

    Gentleman, you had my curiosity, now you have my attention.

      I think we speak for games the whole world over, Sonys taken us on a date, they bought us dinner, they bought us wine, they're now feeling us up in the car and if they deliver what we want we'll be paying child support to them for the next 7 or so years lol

        I thought you only paid child support if you had separated? Otherwise it's just that you'll be the sugar daddy in the relationship. Always spending money on the other one to buy it pretty things, like games and peripherals. ;)

        ..well I guess in that scenario XB1 is trying to force himself to us and we are squirming and fighting it off as a response?..sounds about right..XBoxOne go home!

    Exactly how they handled region locking with the PS3. I dig it.

    Hey, I'm perfectly fine with not hating Sony and instead hating EA.

    ...I know EA said they're removing online passes, but that's just the wrapping paper around the sping-loaded cream pie.

    Hopefully they'll leave it all up to the publishers. If publishers want terrible DRM then they can take the heat for it themselves.

      If the answer to question 2 is "it's up to the publishers", then it would seem to logically follow that the answer to ALL of these questions is "it's up to the publishers".

      Not as good as "No DRM", but better than "Wall-to-wall DRM baked right into the console", I suppose.

        unfortunately "No DRM" is not up to Sony at all, if the publisher wants DRM they will get it regardless of Sony

        This is a very good point. If Sony is NOT requiring registrations, then there is no mandatory installs and therefore no DRM.

        If there IS DRM, then it WOULD require registrations and mandatory installs.

        They are mutually exclusive. So if Sony is saying the console itself doesn't require registrations, then I believe the same can be said about DRM. It is a publisher specific choice, like it always has been.

      I used to be an Xbox fan boy, until the next gen console announcements. I haven't used a form of Playstation since the second one, hopefully I get mind blown.

    I like how quickly everyone forgets Cinavia, that is the single most annoying thing of this generation of consoles.

      I don't know anyone who had an issue with cinevia when going through legal channels. Ultraviolet is much worse than cinevia, and that isn't Sony

        Sony are a media company first, and put DRM before their customers.

          So a DRM that worked in the way it was meant to and didn't inconvenience anyone using a product legitimately was bad? Mmmmmmm

            How is me not being able to rip my own media and put it on my server for convenience any different to you not being able to sell your second hand game? They're both hitting legitimate customers using their products as they want.

              if you are ripping it properly (keeping DTS sound) and transcoding with DTS, there is no issue. So it sounds like you either a) dont know how to rip your movies b) dont know how to use your media server or c) are in fact downloading rips with converted audio tracks that set off cinavia.

              I've never had a problem with ripping mine following these steps. Also this is not a legitimate use, it is technically against the terms of use.

                So no different to games then.

                First game I picked up.
                "License Conditions.
                You agree not to: a. Commercially exploit the Software; b. Distribute, lease, license, sell, rent or otherwise transfer or assign the Software, or any copies of the Software, without the express prior written consent of Licensor or as set forth in this Agreement"

                You are only buying a single use license through the media provided with your games now, just like I'm only allowed a single use license of my movies which can only legally be watched straight off the disc.

                  Correct, not sure what your point is here. As far as I could tell we were talking about the merits of DRM.

      So annoying that nobody remembers it? Or even noticed it?

      complaining about Cinavia is like admitting you pirate movies... oh wait..\
      "If a "theatrical release" watermark is detected in a consumer Blu-ray audio track, the accompanying video is deemed to have been sourced from a "cam" recording."
      whoops, no, you just are admitting it.

        Oh no, I wont wait a year for something to come out in Australia, shoot me. I also use Netflix and Hulu through an unblock-us VPN account, which is also illegal, instead of waiting a year or more for shows to be released here then shown out of order, have their schedules moved around and possibly cancelled half way, or paying over $50 a month for Foxtel.

        Last edited 31/05/13 1:07 pm

          i wasnt arguing that...
          was just pointing out that this is similar to 'wonky physics' as DRM. it's only when you complain that you flag yourself as a pirate....

          where there is a will, there is a way.

          cineva wasnt hard to defeat iirc just simple time hacks or d/c from teh internet...

          oh shi...

    At this point (less then 2 weeks from E3) they are better just doing what they are doing, keeping quiet. It's getting them heaps of publicity (good or bad, people are paying attention) and they can happily announce whatever they want at E3 with heaps of people watching.
    That's assuming what they have to say at E3 is good news anyway otherwise they will probably talk quietly about it after the big Press event like Microsoft 'tried' to do.

    They are weighing up whether or not to pursue a DRM policy like Microsoft. If they do what Microsoft has done, they'll get a lot of anger and ire, but what are people going to do? Buy a WiiU? They know that if they just do what Microsoft does, they'll suffer no real consequences, because it's a two console market right now - if you were going to switch to PC, you would have done so and PC games have no used games either. Most people who would buy an Xbox One or a PS4 aren't going to buy a WiiU - so if they do what Microsoft does, what can the customer do, aside from not buying either, which they know won't happen.

    But they also know that if they don't do what Microsoft does, they'll gain more customers. They are weighing up the extra customers they could gain from not having an anti-used game policy, with the extra money developers will give them if they pursue an anti-used game policy. It's all question of mathematics - do the gains outweigh the costs?

    And there's no simple answer to that question, from a business perspective.

    What happens here if MS have already aired their bad news... and Sony haven't?

    Maybe MS doing what they did was deliberate - take the heat up front, get it out there, get people used to it.. then at E3 go hard on pure gaming, and the stuff people will be positive about.

    What happens when Sony spend most of their E3 presser talking about extra features and not core games. What happens when Sony have to actually answer these questions in the article above (and for the record I think MS still have to answer them too... I don't think we do actually know what MS are doing.. just accurate estimation).

    I have a feeling MS have played this smart taking upfront heat, and Sony has painted itself into a corner.

    I HOPE Sony are what we all want them to be in this... but somehow I think we are going to be talking after E3 the reverse of now.. MS might look better, Sony might look worse.

    I love the politics and gamesmanship of big business.. and I think we are witnessing 2 very different, very deliberate strategies right now. Can't wait to see how it all plays out after E3.

    I have no vested passion for one company or the other, but I love a good well planned campaign. I dont know who is in the lead yet on my scoreboard - not enough info.. but I feel that MS may have played this right up front... I have zero education on the matter so this is all just personal thoughts..

    Apologies for going a tad off topic here.

      So you're saying that MS have played it smart because you don't know what they're doing?

      We'll see by E3

    If the pre-registering of games is a publisher issue, won't Microsoft making it a requirement force publishers making multiplatform games have a pre-registering requirement?

    If publishers will be required to have a registering system in their games for the Xbone, i dont see why publishers will make two different systems for the two consoles, wouldnt it be cost effective to implement the registering system on both ports rather than make two games?

    this wouldnt be applicable to the exclusives though

    ..I honestly think Sony has some form of DRM planned for PS4, its either they didnt highlight that in the reveal because they feel its irrevelant that day OR they know the sting of DRM (I believe they have more experience in this matter than MS - Sony Music tried implementing that few years back) which I think they have a different planned DRM implementation than SonyMusic and what MS has revealed..
    ..so now theyre riding the coattails of the DRM backlash XB1 is having and I seriously hope they are thining otherwise. .
    but ive been hearing about this DRM thing for ages now, coupled with how "second-hand sale" is "killing" the industry I think MS and Sony (along with the entire industry) had made them conclude somr form of a rule needs to be implemented for the industry to grow more..so I guess when theres smoke there is fire..
    ..if Sony doesnt capitalise now and be smart at the coming E3 then I guess now our choice as gamers is the lesser of two evils when it comes to purchasing
    ..if thats the case ill buy a PS4 bar none..pound for pound XB1 has more negative connotation right now and it's only been a week or so after their reveal

    is it just me or does the lady in the picture look like she has really long fingers o.O

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