PlayStation 4 Rumored to Use DRM to Control Used Game Market
While both the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One are a ways off from their release, I can already tell you one thing to expect: neither console is going to be fun as the previous-generation. Why? It's simple: consoles used to be about gaming, plain and simple. Today, consoles are becoming more like PCs; they're being infused with TV, movies, music and other content. Sure, more stuff to do could be interpreted as "better", but what we're also getting are additional "protective" headaches, such as DRM, rumored for the Xbox One and now the PlayStation 4.
Last week, Joel wrote up a great editorial that explains his thoughts on used game DRM. As he eloquently states, "Do you know why Microsoft hasn't 'confirmed any specific scenarios?' Because it's still trying to figure out who to screw over." Selling a used game in the past was as simple as handing it over and taking some cash in return, but in recent years, some companies have proven that they have great interest in being a middleman. When I purchased Madden 12 for the Xbox 360, I found myself quickly bored of it and gave it to a friend. Because of EA's online requirements (which have since been discontinued), he was unable to play the game online without paying a fee.
Since the information about Microsoft's handling of used games leaked out, there has been quite the uproar in the community, with many miffed about these companies wanting to screw them over, much like Joel suggests. You'd think, then, that after Microsoft faced a bunch of flak, Sony would be wary about pursuing the same mechanics. Not so, according to GameTrailers' Geoff Keighley.
According to him, Sony is also planning to introduce DRM that would in effect control the used game market, although as with the Microsoft side, details are so minimal, they're almost nonexistent. We'd have to assume that Sony would be thinking along the same lines as Microsoft, however, because the biggest problem to date (from the publisher and Microsoft/Sony side) is that they see no cuts in the used game market. Therefore, the natural progression would be to implement a fee as a middleman.
Imagine if this sort of DRM came to our movies, and you couldn't trade a Blu-ray with someone. Perhaps we'll see that eventually, and it seems likely given how we're all finding ourselves with our heads in the cloud.
Prior to the launch of the PS3 and Xbox 360, I had no qualm about picking either up - I ran to the store on launch day for the Xbox 360 and picked up a PS3 a couple of months after launch. Back then, nothing struck me as being a real problem. The launch of the PS4 and Xbox One are far different, however. There are so many potential downsides, that I'm on the fence about picking up either. If I do, it's going to come down to whichever treats the customer best.