Sony's pro pre-owned stance is the talk of E3. But should we be holding back on the celebrations?
A lingering doubt remains in some quarters of the public and press that Sony has left the back door open for publishers to limit pre-owned games on PS4.
Our used game position for PS4 is exactly the same as PS3, which publishers and consumers broadly support today,” a Son PR rep told Kotaku. In fact, all publishers we've spoken to are in agreement with our position.”
Sounds pretty definitive, right? Though not quite as definitive as, say, publishers will not be allowed to block pre-owned games on PS4”. So Kotaku tried again. And this was the response:
The Online Pass program for PlayStation first-party games will not continue on PlayStation 4. 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.”
Hmmm. Kotaku asked a further time if publishers will have the technical ability to block pre-owned. The response:
Our used game position for PS4 is exactly the same as PS3, which publishers and consumers broadly support today. In fact, all publishers we've spoken to are in agreement with our position.”
The bottom line is this – Sony has made its position pretty clear. Could a publisher force through a pre-owned block? Using PC-style serial codes that's conceivable, yeah. Although the game's box would have to stipulate this – and the requirement to go online to register – pretty clearly, thus setting it apart from everything else on the shelf.
But considering the events of this week surely there's no publisher out there who'd have the bare-faced cheek to even try it. Right?