Gamasutra: The Art & Business of Making Gamesspacer
arrowPress Releases
October 24, 2014
PR Newswire
View All

If you enjoy reading this site, you might also want to check out these UBM Tech sites:

On PS4, DRM measures are up to the third-parties
On PS4, DRM measures are up to the third-parties
June 11, 2013 | By Kris Graft

Sony's first-party games will not implement DRM measures such as online authentication or one-time use codes. But if a third-party wants to implement those measures on PS4, they have the ability to do so.

Asked what would happen if a third-party publisher wanted to “restrict” their games, Sony Computer Entertainment America CEO Jack Tretton said in an E3 interview with GameTrailers, “We create the platform. We certainly stated that with our first party games, we’re not going to be doing that.

"But we welcome publishers and business models to our platform. There’s going to be free-to-play, there’s going to be every potential business model on there. And again, that’s up to their relationship with the consumer...we’re not going to dictate that.

Asked further if PlayStation 4 would allow for types of DRM for third-party games, Tretton answered, “The DRM decision is going to have to be in the hands of third-parties. That’s not something we’re going to dictate, control, mandate or implement."

It's the same deal that current-gen consoles follow -- game publishers and developers have the ability to implement measures such as online passes.

Sony had a few aces up its sleeve last night when it showed off the PlayStation 4 at its E3 media briefing. One of those that the company was happy to flaunt was that Sony's first-party games wouldn't require online authentication or measures that would restrict the sharing of physical discs.

Xbox One's DRM measures do place certain restrictions on sharing games and on used game sales. Tretton said the threat of used game sales is overblown.

“I remember when people were saying rental games were going to be a threat, that people were going to go to Blockbuster and finish a game or find out that it wasn’t good, and that was going to hurt retail," he said.

“Obviously, used games have been under a threat for a while.” Tretton argued that taking used games out of the equation hurts consumers’ value perception of game -- they want to be able to sell games to put money in their pockets to buy new games.

“Certainly, you’ll talk to GameStop and they’ll say used games are very additive to the business. We just want to give consumers the flexibility.”

Related Jobs

Gearbox Software
Gearbox Software — Plano, Texas, United States

Server Programmer
Giant Sparrow
Giant Sparrow — Playa Vista, California, United States

Junior 3D Artist
Giant Sparrow
Giant Sparrow — Playa Vista, California, United States

Lead Artist
Amazon — Seattle, Washington, United States

Event Marketing Specialist, Game Services


Kujel s
profile image
So basically the same as MS, I said publishers wouldn't go for anything less. The only real difference is MS is making DRM easy for publishers and developers while sony is making them impliment their own version.

In the end used games on playstyaion and xbox is all but dead, cause let's face it used game sales are bad for us on the development side. I know the overstaturation and risk aversion are bigger problems but used sales still hurt us and now that that isn't an issue maybe publisher will actually tackle the bigger issues.

daniel birchal
profile image
People on this industry must understand that the right to re-sell, share or do whatever they want with the the product(game) IS seen as value by the customer! If you take that from the customer, they'll see less value in your product and a 60$ sell WILL be much harder. Meaning that less units will be sold. And will affect the attach rate too as people won't take riscs buying games they don't know since there's low or no re-sell value. So, expect even harder times for new IP!
The DRM brings no benefit and some big issue for the customer: when the server goes down they'll loose their console and the entire game library. People don't mind loosing their 10$ arcade games after the server goes down but a 60$ AAA it's another story!
"Full games" (not XBL arcade or PSN) are the reason that people buy consoles and knowing that will loose it in a few years makes the sell even harder.
Using myself as an example I have 107 Xbox 360 games, I would NEVER build a huge library like that if I knew I was going to loose all of then in few years!
This could also have a serious effect on the install base for this consoles, specially in the early years, and if the install base is small then so are the sales.
Every industry in the story of man kind survived the used market so why should be the gaming industry any different? It survived the last 40 years right? If things aren't THAT good, then moving AGAINST your customer isn't the smartest path as you can and, with such actions eventually will lose them!
A move like that sounds more like a suicide to me! You will kill your golden goose!

Mario Kummer
profile image
@Kujel: I don't think there is evidence that used game sales are bad. As Daniel said, they might be a reason that it is even possible to sell so much games at 60$. People who sell them get money for more new games, people will play a lot of games that the otherwise could not afford and maybe buy a sequel.

Alan Rimkeit
profile image
It is not the same at all.

It's similar to the system the PS3 uses. Jim Sterling of Destructoid put it best: "Right now, on the PS3, publishers can choose to input online passes, or could theoretically toss in multiplayer features that require legitimate copies to work. Publishers can also choose whether or not to region-lock their discs -- most choose not to. Tretton is basically confirming all of that is still possible.

The major difference between PS4 and Xbox One, of course, is that Sony hasn't made it easier for corporations to control the behavior of their customers, because the PS4 doesn't tie your copies to your accounts, or initiate checks to scrub traded game data off your system. Basically, Microsoft designed the Xbox One to make it as easy as flipping a switch to eradicate any possibility of sharing your games, while Sony is maintaining its policy of this current generation."

Joe Ramponi
profile image
A game sold for $60 is not necessarily worth $60.

To many consumers the game is worth maybe $30, they buy it at $60 because they can resell it to reclaim $30 and they got the value they expect from the game. These people will not buy it if they can't resell and will wait for the price to come down to what they are willing to pay for the game. People who are buying the used games have their expected value much lower and will wait even longer, possibly to the point where very little profit is being made when the game is sitting in the bargin bin.

There will be a lot of pressure to bring the prices down without the used game market and that will shrink the profits.

Marc Schaerer
profile image
I wouldn't mind to agree with Nintendo here: If the industry would stop to push out yearly incarnations of the same trash with 0 replay value, people wouldn't have a reason to trade it in after playing through once.

I still have multiple boxes of great games. At the same time I sold at least twice as many boxes on ricardo, ebay and other platforms because the games were purely simply useless after the first play through and if any publisher decides to prevent me from getting back at least part of my money, then that publisher has lost at least one customer though I hope it will be more like 1-2M customers.

EA and especially Ubisoft with their perma online DRM should by now have learnt that customers have rights and if they continue to use legal gray areas to support their greed instead of finally fixing the real problem (that the games are trash in 99% of the cases after first playthrough and not worth the diskspace they waste on pc and consoles), then I can really only wish that the industry goes down much much faster than it already does to get rid of such stone age behemots with the flexibility to learn and adapt only topped by a rock

Travis Griggs
profile image
except is not basically the same. Its the same as it is on current consoles. Xbox went too far in requiring a 24 hour check-in system. Also the game industry has been around for a very long time, living side by side with used games.

Sam Knudson
profile image
The 24 hour check is in place so you can trade games that have digital copies. without the 24 hour check you can have the same game on 50 different xboxs at the same time. download the digital copy to your xbox, turn off the internet, give it to your friend, rinse and repeat till everyone has the game at once. With Sonys current system you will not be able to trade digital copies so you cant give your friends who dont live next door games. while xbone makes it so you can trade to anyone on your friends list.

Robb Lewis
profile image
good to see PS4 is not dictating DRM tho what the game pubs do is another thing. Looks like they learned their price lesson from the PS3 launch.

Joe Zachery
profile image
If EA says their game will have DRM on PS4 it will have it. So it's the same. One company has the balls and position to do it. While the other neither has the guts or the current stroke to do it. After the PSP PSP Go, the 3rd place PS3, and the failing Vita. Sony can't do anything that will have an bad effect on them. They need a win, and they need it bad! The real funny thing is the console that allows used games. Has the userbase that buys fewer of their exclusives new. Where Xbox owners consistently buy their games.

Alan Rimkeit
profile image
"Has the userbase that buys fewer of their exclusives new. Where Xbox owners consistently buy their games."

Where did you get the data to back up this statement? Please elaborate.

Kujel s
profile image
Joe is right. The big publishers are going to impliment DRM on ps4 and sony is going to let them take the heat for it but it will be there.

[User Banned]
profile image
This user violated Gamasutra’s Comment Guidelines and has been banned.

Joachim Tresoor
profile image
It's not the same. Sony lets us choose ourselves whether we accept (by purchasing) single player offline games relying on an online connection.

I don't need used games, all my games were new (PS3 owner, so that's 1 to your nil), but I don't want any mandatory online DRM. It's just like with piracy: I'm a good paying customer, your DRM should affect the pirates, not me!

Carlos Rocha
profile image
Did you even read the article?

Camilo R
profile image
I was surprised at first because Sony did this with PS3 before MS. So saying they would implement no limitations on used games resell and such was very surprising. Personally, I think Tretton has no clue and is being informed what to say, when the decisions which are usually contrary to what he says are being made further atop.

Adam Bishop
profile image
Sony has clarified that Tretton was only talking about online games. Used single-player offline games will be able to run on the PS4 without publisher-based DRM:

So, as a couple of people said above, it'll work the same way the PS3 works now.

Erin OConnor
profile image
EA eliminated is online passes and there was much rejoicing. We ALL know that EA is going to use some form of DRM (be it PS4 or xBone) to continue to charge gamers for the ability to play EA games.

EA stated that they were going to include micro transactions in all their upcoming games. APRIL FOOLS. The backlash was immediate and sever and they retracted that statement almost immediately with some PR bullshit about how it was only a consideration not something that was going to actually be implemented. The fact that it was even up for discussion should be a giant red flag for everyone involved. (e.g. deadspace 3)

Publishers claim that they are losing money to piracy. And they very well may be. So legitimate users have to put up with completely awful DRM schemes and get treated like criminals. Do the pirates have to endure the DRM? No. Why? because they removed it and are no longer bothered by its invasiveness. Stopping piracy is only half of the story though. the other half is about stopping third party sales (used game sales) so they do not loose out on any money. Publishers want TOTAL CONTROL.

So we are moving forward into always online. Big brother Microsoft is going to be checking in on you just to make sure you are playing nice. Lets face it. If a publisher asks sony to, I am sure they will say yes to that request.

What happens when a game does not sell well?
Oh, game sales were down because of piracy.
Games sales were down because of used game sales.
The game didn't do well because [insert bullshit excuse here].
At NO point do they take ownership and say "maybe the game wasn’t really that good."

Where are the conversations from publishers about how to offer their customers an exceptionally great gaming experience? This is not happening because they are too busy trying to answer to Wall Street and maximize their profits And that does not include giving 2 shits about their customers.

What the gaming industry really needs is to fail and fail big.
Will that be the end of gaming? Not by a long shot because from the ashes new developers and publisher will rise and maybe, just maybe they will actually respect gamers and treat them as valued customers instead of trying to milk them for every penny they can.

Michael Thornberg
profile image
What Sony, Microsoft etc.. seem to forget is that in EU, the right to sell purchased digital products (even downloaded dlc's and addons) is permitted by EU law.


John Flush
profile image
The more articles I see on this site the more I see a dramatic swing in MS support. It is almost like a company email was sent out to any Xbox Done dev saying please make good PR press - fast. Out of no where there are posters I haven't heard from ever on these articles posting in support of MS. It has to be a conspiracy.

Carlos Rocha
profile image
I'm really disappointed, I was hoping this headline from IGN, not from Gamasutra, and while technically correct, you can see from the people commenting the impact you're having with this type of "news". Please, take into account those elements while coming with a new headline. Gotta admit it is the least sensationalist so far, but it still leads to confusion.

Lihim Sidhe
profile image
How there is such confusion over this is confounding. Sony's PS4 is open to ALL business models that a developer and/or publisher want to implement.

All this means is that when we are all Googling up information on our favorite games, we just have to check if DRM is on it and what type. It could be as simple as finding a review that takes into account that DRM IS a factor when considering the purchase of games.

Indie devs can self-publish on the PS4. Now ask yourself this... how many indies do you think are going to go crazy with DRM on the PS4? I guarantee 'DRM Free' will become a bullet point for games in this upcoming ecosystem. If indies flourish on the PS4 by the simple fact they aren't clogging up their fans' lives with DRM then Triple A's risk a chance of losing sales by the simple fact they are using DRM.

PS4 will allow DRM to become an exacerbated stigma that players like me will AVOID LIKE THE PLAGUE. That squarely focuses my attention on games that I may not have given a chance.

Personally though I'm still working through Age of Wonders 1. I bet CD Red Projekt is laughing up a storm over all of this (I bought the game through

profile image
I thought this would be the case based on how they said it. So much "we won't do this," and "we won't do that." Totally left the door open to, "we wont do this at all... I don't know about those publishers though."