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Sony's eventual adoption of anti-used games policy

Ok, I realize what I may chalk up here will be scrutinized, torn apart, or even wholly dismissed, but I will attempt to express my feelings and opinion on Sony's and Microsoft's theoretical used games policies.

Well, we know a ton about Microsoft's Xbox One's used games policy already. Exact information has not been provided, but we do know that used games will be allowed to be traded in to retailers and the sales of those used games to new owners will be split into basically three separate funnels of revenue to three separate receivers. The first portion will be reserved for the publisher, the second portion will be reserved for Microsoft, and the third remaining revenue will be held onto by the participating retailer.
Essentially, ownership rights will be stripped from the original purchaser and will be transferred to the new owner. So far, that's all we really know. We don't know how the revenue will be split up between the three parties, but the retailers have the opportunity and flexibility to set the price of the used game at whatever they find reasonable. So, going off of that, I'm going to assume that the revenue gained will be split up according to percentages and not by a specified dollar amount.

So, there. That's the used games policy on the X1 side.

Now, let's move toward Sony's PS4.
First, let's get something out of the way, something which may indeed spell the direction in which Sony may be heading in for their PS4 console.

Unlike Microsoft in regards to their Xbox 360 console with their first party games, Sony has had implemented online PSN passes in order to play a number of their first party titles online.

Let's make a list of these PS3 games.

1. Resistance 3
2. ModNation Racers
3. SOCOM: Fireteam Bravo 3
4. Twisted Metal
5. Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception
6. Ratchet & Clank: All 4 One

*there may be more Sony games that use the PSN pass, but I think I've made my point.

This highlights the different philosophies the two companies have in the current generation of consoles.
Now, going into the next generation, we have a better picture of where the two companies are coming from.

If not charging fees to retailers for second-hand video games, we can at least be sure that these online passes for Sony's first party titles will carry over to the PS4.

Now, let's get to the third party publishers in regards to the PS4. Sony has commented that it will be up to the publisher whether or not to block used game sales. You have to understand that this is a very vague statement. Several meanings can be drawn from it and we can't be sure of anything until Sony comes out into the open and highlights their exact plans for their used games policy. Only then can we, with utmost certainty and precision, compare the used games policies of the two tech giants.

One meaning we can take from Sony's statements is that publishers can fully or partially block access to their games, games that can be made to be checked, upon insertion into the PS4, for verification, etc. Sony has already confirmed their console to have the access to run off-line, but in what measure? If the publishers design their discs so that the buyer cannot gain access to any of the content without online verification, I don't think Sony would be able to block the publishers from doing so...unless Sony outright refuses to green-light such games to be made for and sold for the PS4. So, even if Sony might not force an online check for their first party titles, other publishers can make their games so that this may happen.
See? This used games stuff is very confusing.. :/

Honestly, I believe that major third party publishers have already pressured or are in the process of pressuring both Sony and Microsoft of building in anti-used games policies. This, of course, is financially favorable to both publishers and console makers. Without an anti-used games policy, these parties wouldn't see a dime from used game sales and publishers and developers, including Quantic Dream, EA, Activision, etc., have been very vocal in their stance against used games and I believe they are seeing their power and influence among both Microsoft and Sony coming to an ultimatum in the next generation of console gaming.

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The_Klank1883d ago (Edited 1883d ago )

I'll just drop this here for you to read.

Sony developed a "solution", but is not committed to it, and doesn't *want* to implement it, by all accounts. That's why EA didn't show up at the PS4 launch and have an exclusivity on some content with MS - they're throwing their weight around and demanding implementation if either company wants to be "supported", or if they don't, they'll be made to "fall". See Nintendo.

MS embraced it immediately and fully, seeing it as a way to usurp Gamestop and essentially walk in and "steal" a big chunk of used games - idea being that if anyone is going to "control" used games, it'll be them - not Gamestop.

At the moment, Sony still doesn't want to go down this route, and is obviously looking at the backlash as a way to bail completely.

Even without the backlash, it was 70% likely they wouldn't go ahead with it, and were willing to lose all access to EA games.

Edit: I'd just like to say, if Sony decide to implement something similar I won't have a problem dropping them like a hot snot either.

lastofgen1883d ago (Edited 1883d ago )

I have read those before.
However, even if Sony doesn't take a unified action against used game sales, the company has already confirmed that the publishers will have the final say of blocking used sales of their games, and judging by the harsh negativity a good majority of the publishers have directed toward gamestop and other similar outlets who sell used games, a large percent, if not virtually all, will enforce blocking of used game sales on the ps4.

To put it plainly, what benefit would publishers see in allowing used game sales without some sort of hitch? They will never see any revenue with second hand sales with the current system. If one company (MSFT) has already agreed to modify the used game sale industry, publishers will naturally push the other major player of the gaming industry (SONY) to do the same, if they haven't already.

rainslacker1883d ago

"what benefit would publishers see in allowing used game sales without some sort of hitch"

Well one major benefit is that they won't receive an extreme amount of backlash among the community which is more often than not the primary audience of their game.

Another is it won't instantly turn off some people from the game that would likely buy it new. This amount could feasibly be greater than the number of people who would buy it used during it's relevant shelf life(the first year).

Another is that it keeps customers loyal to you because they come to know that you are making games for them, and not just for the money...even if they are just making it for the money.

Another is that it would make someone more likely to buy it at a higher price instead of waiting for it to hit the bargain bin. Steam is a good example. Many people buy games on there when they're cheap. because it's cheap, there isn't much risk in the purchase. Higher price = higher risk.

matgrowcott1883d ago


Do you have sources on any of these things? Any proof to back up what you're saying outside of people complaining on message boards?

I'm pretty sure the people who will buy new will more or less do so regardless of the used market (and those that don't will likely be about the same percentage as those that boycotted Battlefield 3, Mass Effect 3 etc.). The people who will be affected will be those who buy used, a group that publishers are done courting anyway.

It sucks, but it's understandable. If you want new buyer rights, buy new. Don't give a ton of money to Gamestop and then expect publishers - who haven't benefited from your purchase at all - to fall over themselves to impress you.

DragonKnight1883d ago

I haven't bought a used game in years. I always buy new unless I actually can't because the game isn't available new anymore. That being said, I will always support consumer freedoms and so I support the used games market.

Think of it like Freedom of Speech. Governments HATE it because it makes them look incompetent and can potentially overthrow them. The average citizen LOVES it for obvious reasons.

So, like the saying goes, "I may not agree with what you say, but I will fight to the death for your right to say it." That can be applied to used games as well.

"I may not buy used games, but I will stand up for your right to sell the games you paid for in full."

Donnieboi1882d ago

Even if Sony used online passes, at least we were able to play the campaign versions of games without it. So it's only fair since online games require money to keep the servers running.

However, M$ will NOT allow u to play any portions of a used game disc. Not even the campaign portion.

rainslacker1882d ago

I was responding to the poster, who asked what benefit the publishers would see. I listed benefits. Some are common sense. Sure they may not make as much of an impact because there are those that will not care, or whatever, but it doesn't mean that the things I say wouldn't happen.

I can back up my assumptions based on what I've seen.

1st: people will cause backlash against it. That's painfully obvious unless you haven't watched gaming news since last Tuesday. This would be particularly true early in the next gen, as the bitter taste of it would still be in our mouths.

2nd: I wouldn't support any new game that restricts 2nd hand sales in the manner currently being said. It goes against my every principle, and I've seen many others that have the same principle.

3rd: Gamers tend to be very loyal customers to the companies that treat them right. This is a broad statement, and not meant for statistical review, just based on anecdotal evidence.

4th: This has been said countless times. Many people are reluctant to put down $60 immediately even with 2nd hand sales now. But the fact that they would be stuck with it, or have to go through some hassle to offload it to get some back would make many of them be much more cautious. I would be the same way.

For all these things, for those that don't care about selling off their games, then there would either be no benefit or harm to the publisher. For those that only buy used, it's short sighted for these companies to disregard them in the present, because it's quite possible these people could come to ignore the publishers in the future.

The reason there is no way to back up these claims with proof, is that because there is nothing to analyze as of yet. These practices aren't commonplace. My assumptions are just as valid as your assumption that they are invalid without evidence to support the claim.

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pixelsword1882d ago

Well, if they want to get in that boat along with Microsoft, then expect a similar reaction.

If they think "teh gamez" will assuage people's outrage about DRM, they are sadly mistaken. I bought one DRM game, Resistance 3, but no DLC, and only to conclude the trilogy. If Insomniac wants to go down this road, it will be without me. I also said "tit for tat" when I bought it, so I won't be supporting FUSE to make up for R3's DRM, even if FUSE wasn't DRM because that's how the Blankety-blank I roll.

tehpees31883d ago

I believe Sony could try something. I don't think it is blocking used games to take fees but they could try and prevent them.

Regarding the third parties. They need to get over themselves already. Defend them all you want. It isn't right. There are laws in Europe against these types of practices. That should tell you corporate defenders that the companies have zero entitlement.

I'll be surprised if Microsoft get away with it. Provided Sony are doing similar things then the same should happen to them. Anyone who puts up with it is a fool. Thats the best word I can use to describe them. If you seriously believe these whining companies then you may as well believe it won't ever snow again.

No other industry has companies throwing hissy fits over used products. What makes these companies so special?

I get sick of people throwing these "entitlement" lines towards us out of defense of people who are trying to take your own rights away. The ONLY ONES acting entitled are the companies dictating what we are and aren't allowed to do with our products.

I am giving Microsoft the finger. And if Sony try anything funny then I will do the exact same to them. Wii U only for me. Actually it makes me laugh because EA will suddenly take back everything they criticized about Wii U if both sides get a backlash. You kill this practice day 1. I hope it gets a kick in the teeth because Europe are expanding into letting us sell our downloaded goods as well.

DON'T DO THIS SONY! The Xbox One is going to flop because people won't put up with it.

Imalwaysright1881d ago

Why you only one bubble? Well Said.

Man-E-Faces1883d ago

I actually don't mind the online pass as it doesn't involve the single player portion of a game, I can still play that game on any other PS3 or user and play it decades later if I a working PS3 is available, besides of course the multiplayer part. Multiplayer servers die off (community wise) or get shut down entirely eventually on the console side anyways. The smart way is for Sony to stand by what they said and let it be a PUBLISHER'S DECISION, let the backlash if there is any go to the publisher not the PS4 itself. I am fine with this as it gives ME the consumer a choice to support the dev/pub or not. The problem with Microsoft and where they screwed up badly is having their own drm infrastructure built into the software/console itself their pushing it themselves with a daily online sign in and your used or new game not working on another console with a different user, they should have taken Sony's route which I am confident they will go this route is letting the anti consumer practices come from the publisher themselves and not from the PS4, this to me is the right way of handling this sticky situation that currently clouds the gaming industry.

stuna11883d ago (Edited 1883d ago )

It actually is a good ideal if Sony allows the developers to make the choice! More than likely those developers will see drastic reductions on Sony platforms, and I don't care what anyone says, no developer wants lose half of theirs sales! Plain and simple.

Sony would ultimately be in the clear from major backlash, because the ball would be in the developers court.

Also used game sales will never amount to the loss of half your install base.

waltercross1883d ago

I hope Sony stands there ground, If not for themselves then for Us the consumers, MS Punked out, and Fuk EA and any Developer who practices this.

Capodastaro1883d ago

People forget that Nintendo, MS and Sony all collect royalties on each new game sold... If people are buying used then Sony and co ain't getting their cut as well as the publisher.

It's pretty easy to say this is all the publishers and MS being greedy, but it affects everyone involved, Sony too.

DragonKnight1883d ago

Nintendo has done nothing to prevent used game sales. Nothing. What's your defense to that?

Capodastaro1883d ago

Not sure what you want me to defend?

DragonKnight1883d ago

Simple. Your statement, intentional or not, seems to be defending (or at least explaining) used games DRM. You brought up Nintendo as one of the Big 3 publishers and they haven't done anything against used games at all. So in the face of Nintendo, any defense or explanation for used games DRM fails wouldn't you say? What's your explanation/defense for Nintendo not doing anything against used games?

SonyPS41882d ago

...why are you getting disagrees to a comment that is factual?

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