Sony Won't Answer All of These Questions About PS4 DRM and Used Games... Yet [UPDATE]

Illustration for article titled Sony Won't Answer All of These Questions About PS4 DRM and Used Games... Yet [UPDATE]

Used games. Love'em or hate'em, you've probably got some opinion on the furor 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. Tons and tons 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 they've got straight answers by then.

UPDATE: Question #2 actually had been answered by Sony. And we'd 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.


Here's why I find "no answer" just as concerning.

By all accounts, the XBO's reveal was a disaster. Primarily because of the questions it left in the air regarding used games and DRM.

If Sony really wanted to stick it to Microsoft, they'd reveal their console didn't have the same issues...and allowed used games to be bought, sold, and shared without the need for online-validation and user fees.

But they haven't, which suggests to me that they're going to be doing something similar. So they don't want to try and draw attention to their own DRM because right now everybody is hammering MS and either lauding the PS4 or just not paying attention to them.

Which gives Sony time until their E3 presser to come up with a way to spin their own DRM so it doesn't sound as much like an attack on consumer rights as the XBO.