The Xbox One was revealed last week – and it’ll have built in digital rights management. We all know how that’s turned out; swathes of die-hard Xbox gamers have threatened to switch their allegiances, some even over to Nintendo and its Wii U. Most though, are hedging their bets on the PlayStation 4, because nobody wants a console with DRM. Here’s the thing though; Sony hasn’t actually confirmed that its PS4 won’t contain DRM.
In a couple of interviews, Sony’s Worldwide Studios Boss Shuhei Yoshida has said that the PlayStation 4 won’t block used games – nor will the console require a persistent internet connection. That said, neither will the Xbox One. It’s not blocking used games at all – it just hides them behind a paywall. Nor does it need to be connected to the internet at all times; it’ll just need to be connected every now and then to “phone home” and make sure the correct licences are in place. Could the PlayStation 4 be the same?
Sony’s been very vague. The Doritos-munching, Mountain Dew-guzzling games industry pundit Geoff Keighly says that, according to his sources, Sony is indeed planning on some sort of DRM.
"…The one thing that is amazing to me is that right now we’re not hearing a lot from the game publishers about what their view is on this. The console companies are becoming the bad guys. And, you know, Microsoft is getting beaten up a lot on it. Sony, I think, has been seen as this kind of white knight so far that’s not going to restrict used games. Based on some of the things I’m hearing, I don’t think that’s entirely true, because I can’t see publishers allowing one system to do one thing and one do another."
And in that regard, he’s right. Publishers just wouldn’t stand for it. they could, potentially, be making a fair bit of extra money with second hand game sales on the Xbox One, and they’d definitely want an extra slice of the PlayStation’s 4’s used game revenue. That said, it does seem that Sony is paying very close attention to the furious internet backlash surrounding the Xbox One’s DRM – and according to one neoGAF poster who’s regularly in the know regarding Sony, the company is phasing out plans to use DRM on the PS4.
“The gist of it is that Sony is listening to the backlash that Microsoft is getting and they are basing decisions off of this,” famousmortimer explained on the forums.
“I can say, for sure, that the past week’s PR nightmare for MS has not been lost on Sony and they, in fact, do have a used game ‘solution’ working and have been going back and forth for months on whether to use it. This past week is pushing them strongly into ‘Yeah, let’s not use that.’”
Sony’s silence is a little worrying – but lets hope that all of this negative attention works out in our favour – and that Sony (and maybe even Microsoft) drop this entire idea. Now’s a good time to remind you all that the Wii U plays used games just fine.