Sony reiterates any DRM on used games will be left up to the publisher

Tuesday, 11th June 2013 18:23 GMT By Stephany Nunneley

While PS4 itself won’t block pre-owned games, Sony has said any DRM is up to publishers, a sentiment which has been said before, but is back on topic today due to remarks made by SCEA boss Jack Tretton to GTTV. Sony has since issued at statement saying that any third-party DRM implemented on PS4 by publishers refers to playing used games online only.

According to SCEA boss Jack Tretton, “the DRM decision for third-party games will be up to publishers,” he told GTTV. First-party titles will not have DRM, which is something Sony can control.

“The DRM decision is going to have to be answered by the third parties, it’s not something we’re going to control, or dictate, or mandate, or implement,” he said. “There’s gonna be free-to-play, there’s gonna be every potential business model on there, and again, that’s up to their relationship with the consumer, what do they think is going to put them in the best fit.

“We’re not going to dictate that, we’re gonna give them a platform to publish on.”

PS4 will not require an always online connection and, it will not block the use of second hand titles, according to Tretton last night and Sony Worldwide boss Shuhei Yoshida back in February.

Yoshida said that any DRM on used games will be left up to the publisher in question, so today’s comment isn’t really a surprise.

Sony has issued the following statement to GameFront on Tretton’s comment today.

According to Dan Race, senior director, corporate communications for Sony, Tretton’s statements were “referring specifically to playing used games online”

“The Online Pass program for PlayStation first-party games will not continue on PlayStation 4,” he said. “Similar to PS3, we will not dictate the online used game strategy (the ability to play used games online) of its publishing partners. As announced last night, PS4 will not have any gating restrictions for used disc-based games.

“When a gamer buys a PS4 disc they have right to use that copy of the game, so they can trade-in the game at retail, sell it to another person, lend it to a friend, or keep it forever.”

So there you go. Hope that clears it all up.



  1. tezzer1985

    It’s basically online pass again, because Sony are not always online.

    #1 2 years ago
  2. Cobra951

    Not a surprise, but an ongoing concern. If EA, Ubisoft, Activision, et al restrict used games, then it’s nearly as bad as if the system itself did it. At least Sony is coming out on the consumer’s side.

    #2 2 years ago
  3. Dark

    No online checks or mandatory online.
    Rules out most DRM measures instantly.

    What could 3rd parties do? offline pass?

    #3 2 years ago
  4. Cobra951

    @3: No, they would require you to be connected to their servers to get your games uncrippled. It’s been done before.

    #4 2 years ago
  5. halberykM

    No drm but not so many games.

    #5 2 years ago
  6. tezzer1985

    @4 I asure you, they will not do that, they will cripple their sales.

    Xbox embraced the idea, and gave publishers a platform to execute DRM, Sony out write haven’t, so it will be interesting to see what publishers do.

    #6 2 years ago
  7. CyberMarco

    Who cares, it has Kingdom-of freaking-Hearts 3!!! :D :D :D

    #7 2 years ago
  8. DSB

    I wonder how EA will spin the return of the online pass.

    Maybe with a press release that says “PSYKE”?

    #8 2 years ago
  9. OlderGamer

    They will call it something different prolly.

    #9 2 years ago
  10. salarta

    This is exactly how it should be done. If publishers want DRM so bad, they can be the ones to bear the cost, loss of good will and loss of sales that comes with it. Let the publishers learn for themselves how utterly wrong and stupid they are on this matter, instead of asking the console maker to take the beating for them.

    #10 2 years ago
  11. DSB

    @9 The “Not Online Pass”?

    #11 2 years ago
  12. wamp

    @7 just like the xbox one.
    I don’t know this DRM fiasco is getting rediculios.
    Also how would they apply something like an online pass, when I think Jack said that disc based games won’t requare any authentications or something.

    #12 2 years ago
  13. halberykM

    +1 Salarta

    #13 2 years ago
  14. Bomba Luigi

    EA always finds a way to fuck its paying Customers, no matter what. They are really good and Creative with that Stuff.

    #14 2 years ago
  15. DSB

    @9 Here’s a good one, the Ununonline Pass.

    Double negative, no one will notice the similarity.

    It’s really sad that corporate PR is only slightly better than that these days. What a bunch of wankers.

    #15 2 years ago
  16. TheBlackHole

    Microsoft can’t back out because their system allows you to pay games without the disc.

    upside is of course that you can pay your games on anyone’s Xbox simply by logging in, as a copy of your games are stored in the cloud.

    Another thing I noticed is that you can add up to (five or ten) ‘ family’ members to your account and share your games library with them, even if they’re on a different Xbox in a different house.

    I’m confused, because that sounds really good. What stops me sharing a games catalogue with friends and family and saving a bunch on games?

    #16 2 years ago
  17. zinc

    They’ll just keep using the “season pass” bollocks to gouge the money out of us.

    Its funny that pubs are so adamant thay 2nd hand sales hurt them. I’ve often only bought a game cuz I knew if it was crap I could trade it in.

    Bless their short sighted greed.

    #17 2 years ago
  18. heroes159

    This is the same thing MS said. But the way MS said fucked them up.. Sony on the other hand Played the Ball very nicely.

    #18 2 years ago
  19. TheBlackHole

    As for DRM, I’d be amazed if Microsoft didn’t at least lessen three frequency of online checks.

    have to, surely, if they’re too compete?

    #19 2 years ago
  20. salarta

    @12: Jack Tretton was talking about the SYSTEM not requiring authentications to keep playing video games, not the individual games. It’s not in his power or the power of anyone at Sony to prevent publishers from instituting their own DRM policies that include things like authentication.

    So, we may still see DRM efforts at play on the PS4, but Sony won’t be at fault in any way. It will be the publishers themselves taking the risk and the damage from anything they try to pull. No matter what the publisher do, Sony’s hands are clean.

    #20 2 years ago
  21. Beta

    Basically, DRM or no DRM on a publisher by publisher basis instead of DRM as standard. :)

    #21 2 years ago
  22. Kanok

    DRM are waiting for Sony on someday, Sony has just used a Populism policy for now.

    #22 2 years ago
  23. mistermogul

    @17 – Exactly.

    Publishers will lose out on new game sales as people won’t want to buy a game that might be shit and then get stuck with the damn thing as they can’t trade it in.

    #23 2 years ago
  24. salarta

    @17: Agreed, video game publishers are short-sighted, greedy and largely stupid. They’ve had all kinds of excuses for why their games don’t make the kind of money they want to see, and their excuses are NEVER anything they did. First it was “people are pirating our games,” and lately it’s been “console volatility” by claiming mobile and internet are the future and consoles are too unreliable for sales.

    #24 2 years ago
  25. TheBlackHole

    @20 not really. They could refuse to publish games that have a form of authentication in them. They’re just shifting responsibility but leaving the option open.

    #25 2 years ago
  26. mark6IKX

    And the playing field is level tada

    #26 2 years ago
  27. salarta

    @25: You are correct, I should have been a little more specific with how I put it. Sony may have the ability to institute “no DRM if you want to get published,” but I was trying to emphasize more that Sony doesn’t decide what these companies are going to make and how they’re going to make it for them.

    #27 2 years ago
  28. NiceFellow

    For me this is better than XBone approach because MS are building it right in just like custom soundtracks and publishers will use it. Sony approach leaves specific publishers open to having consumers skip the title due to any type of online pass or other DRM – in other words it provides choice and makes clear who is imposing DRM and allows you to say no to that particular game/publisher.

    XBone sadly seems to be all in for DRM with no way out for the consumer – so I’ll take a choice and risk maybe skipping a few games if I don’t like the publisher’s DRM.

    Besides – if PS4 does sell more worldwide it puts even more pressure on publishers to make their sales through that console vs XBone making it less likely they will push DRM.

    In fact, sadly for MS, I feel it is better for gamers their console struggles at it will be very clear to publishers why and make them pretty hesitant on PS4 – i.e. as ever it’s down to the consumer in the end : if enough people support Xbox and the restrictions then things tip that way, if enough support PS4 (in particular non DRM titles/publishers) then it will tip the other way.

    #28 2 years ago
  29. actuallyisnotafox

    dont worry guys, if any dev or publish does this, just buy the non drm games -.-

    #29 2 years ago
  30. viralshag

    So what really is the difference between the two?

    #30 2 years ago
  31. Beta

    It is a better approach. Sony leave it up the publishers and we know that all first party games are DRM free.

    Whereas Microsoft have just applied DRM to everything.

    #31 2 years ago
  32. Paranormal Pett

    So basically, it’s going to work the exact same way it does at the moment on the ps3.

    #32 2 years ago
  33. Fin


    The family thing will have some sort of restriction – maybe everyone has to use the same billing address + account, something like that.
    Plus, only one account can use a game at any one time, so that’d completely rule out MP (it wouldn’t surprise me if, for family accounts, you have to be always online).

    #33 2 years ago
  34. Stephany Nunneley

    POST UPDATED. More information in there which should clear up any misconceptions.

    #34 2 years ago
  35. TheBlackHole


    you’re assuming it will have a restriction because…?

    Seems to me like a lot of people turning a blind eye to any potential positives, add if it couldn’t possibly be anything but all bad.

    Also, it wouldn’t be billing address as it says ‘ anytime, anywhere’. Could be something else though.

    #35 2 years ago
  36. Fin


    Because Microsoft won’t want 10 friends all getting together and buying one copy of a game, sharing it amongst themselves.
    They’ve gone to such lengths to disallow sharing, they’re not going to leave such an obvious workaround open.

    #36 2 years ago
  37. YoungZer0

    ““The Online Pass program for PlayStation first-party games will not continue on PlayStation 4,” eh said.”

    I know, it’s a small typo, but eh is the best name for a person.

    Anyway, I’m glad they don’t continue that bullshit.

    #37 2 years ago
  38. Fin

    The updated comment is a little slippery – it’s not built in at a system level, sure, but there’s nothing to stop a third party requiring an online pass, and a constant connection, to play single player (nor do I think a hardware manufacturer should dictate to a third party whether to use one or not).

    #38 2 years ago
  39. Bomba Luigi

    Its like it is on PS3. Simple as that.

    #39 2 years ago
  40. Cobra951

    @20: Absolutely it’s in Sony’s power to prevent online checks by its *licensees*. This is a console, not an open PC. Sony won’t get in the way of 3rd-party DRM as a policy, but they certainly do have the power to prevent it entirely.

    #40 2 years ago
  41. YoungZer0

    @39: Yes, it really is that simple.

    #41 2 years ago
  42. hitnrun

    “According to Dan Race, senior director, corporate communications for Sony, Tretton’s statements were “referring specifically to playing used games online”

    So basically this story – or at least the controversy around it – is a big nothing.

    This is the same system the PS3 and 360 have. In fact, EA has had a program running for the past couple of years that requires used-players to pay a fee for internet multiplayer (which I believe they plan to discontinue).

    #42 2 years ago
  43. Mabdia

      Sorry for writing errors. I am using a translator.

    Well, Sony did their job and did the system to the customer. I think now it’s our turn to work and making some noise again. A campaign on twiiter, facebook, youtube … would be cool to show for publishers that we do not want DRM on our games not just on PS4 as well on Xbox one. Going from indies to the biggest publishers. And also not going to buy any game that has the DRM. Here we have the chance to show that without our money the publishers are nothing, they need us more than we are them.

    #43 2 years ago
  44. NeutralBlade

    Now that 2 out of the 3 consoles are DRM free, consumers have a much better chance of derailing corporate greed on non-DRM consoles. Everyone should know what to do, should any publisher attempt to enforce used game DRM on the PS4; that goes beyond the online pass. Since PS has a sub now for online gaming, the online pass would be clearly a money grab.

    To speak on MS, even if they later claimed they are reversing their stance on DRM, I still wouldn’t trust them. It’s built into their console, and they want to make their money back on their Azure investment. I wouldn’t dare fall for any reverse course MS would announce, only for them to go back to their DRM stance again; once the installed base is comparable to the PS4.

    The Xbone has tech built in to betray us in the future, unlike the PS4. They would have to completely dismantle that system on both the hardware and software level, before anyone should give them a second look. The launch games mean very little in the long run. A strong install base, will mostly dictate who gets what games. And as history shows, the leader of the generation, typically gets the most and best games.

    The aforementioned statement doesn’t put the two consoles on equal DRM ground, and never will.

    #44 2 years ago
  45. xxJPRACERxx

    The only reason Sony don’t have any DRM on the PS4 is because they didn’t have the time/money/expertise to implement something solid for it. Sure they have some patents about it, but actually implementing something like MS did, on a worldwide scale, is pretty complicated.

    Of course they won’t tell, they are now the “good guys” because they listen to gamers!

    #45 2 years ago
  46. Bomba Luigi

    @45: Thank God Sony is stupid.

    I don’t care why they don’t doing it, as long as they dont do it…

    #46 2 years ago
  47. DSB

    @45 I love the grasping for straws there. First Sony were gonna do “exactly the same” as Microsoft. Now they “would’ve done exactly the same if they’d had the time”.

    Get real. No doubt Sony is a multi-billion dollar corporation that exists for profit, just like Microsoft.

    That doesn’t mean that their approach to making that money has to be identical. It’s crazy and esoteric, but some theorize that just maybe a little goodwill can actually earn you a little profit in the long run. Profit and service are not mutually exclusive concepts.

    #47 2 years ago
  48. zinc

    ^ To be fair the “Sony would do it if they could” argument, goes to show how much of the corporate kool aid some guys have been drinking.

    Like being locked into a single service, that is completely controlled every step of the way, is not only acceptable, but the natural evolution of things.

    No its not. And just why some will settle for so little, whilst paying such high prices boggles my mind…

    I blame Apple :(

    #48 2 years ago
  49. pukem0n

    so it is actually the SAME as with the Xbox One?


    now MS just needs to get rid of the calling home every 24 hours and do something about the price and its essentially the same console…

    nobody will friggin use the little advantage of DDR5 RAM anyway, load screen for 5ms less, awesome

    #49 2 years ago
  50. Gekidami

    ^ Ignore all of the differences that have been pointed out, come up with excuses as to why better hardware wont count. The mark of a true fan zealot.

    #50 2 years ago
  51. Lengendaryboss

    Oh for the love of god, wheres is the confusion?
    Using Beta’s words:” Sony leave it up the publishers and we know that all first party games are DRM free.”
    “Whereas Microsoft have just applied DRM to everything.” So no not the same.

    #51 2 years ago
  52. Sylrissa

    I much prefer this approach, now if a pub has a game with DRM I disagree with, I can just NOT buy that game simple.

    #52 2 years ago

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