Sony on PS4 Used Games: ‘We’ll Do The Right Thing’

Published 1 year ago by

PS4 Used Games Sony

It’s an issue that the games industry will have to address sooner or later, and Sony’s PlayStation 4 has been rumored to do just that in some controversial ways: used games. Even when Sony Worldwide Studios’ Shuhei Yoshida stated that the PS4 wouldn’t block used games, he did so using some particularly evasive language.

So which is it Sony? Blocking used games, or putting the consumer experience above all else? The company isn’t clearing up their plans just yet, but is promising that they intend to do right by both the developers/publishers, and the gamers.

The first shot across the bow of used games outlets like GameStop (mostly GameStop at the moment) came when reports surfaced of a patent filed by Sony specifically to restrict or deny playing of a pre-owned game disc. The patent filing followed on the heels of earlier rumors that the console would be built to recognize used games, and was enough to drop GameStop’s stock by 5%.

Speculation and concerns have run rampant since Sony’s PS4 event failed to touch on the subject, with Sony Worldwide Studios’ VP Michael Denny the latest to weigh in in an effort to calm the fears of used game owners. Speaking with CVG, Denny claims that the used game market is too big to ignore:

“It’s a massively important issue and I understand why it’s one that keeps coming up and will keep coming up, because people want to know what the exact stance is…At this moment in time the announcements have been about our philosophy and vision for PlayStation 4, our motivation to put the gamer at the heart of it and why we’ve got the development community on it.

“In relation to points like that, of course we’re mindful of what the game development community wants and what the wider industry issues are with those things. I think in good time that will become clearer.”

While Denny’s decision to repeat the press conference’s theme of ‘putting the player first’ presents a strong sense of corporate cohesion, savvy readers will notice that he didn’t actually address gamers’ concerns. But even though the company isn’t ready to talk specifics, Denny is asking fans for a bit of faith:

“It’s not something that I feel I have any further announcement or comment to make on, other than to acknowledge with you that it’s a massively important issue and of course we are going to do the right thing.”

PS4 Used Games Do The Right Thing

Perhaps Sony is only now realizing the drawbacks to being the first console manufacturer to announce, as games media and press outlets are all too aware that both Microsoft and Sony recognize the used games market as a problem that needs to be fixed. Whatever Microsoft chooses to reveal at their rumored event this April, it will be interesting to see how they handle the ‘used games’ compatibility question.

The dilemma is easy to understand from the publisher’s standpoint: a wholly digital marketplace is not yet feasible (the words of EA CFO Blake Jorgensen), meaning physical retailers and discs are still required to meet consumer demand. As long as there are physical copies of the game, the ecosystem of returning those games for future credit thrives, and retailers can sell that used game to another consumer for a lower price, and take the profits of a game they did not make (repeatedly).

Manufacturing a console that recognizes a pre-owned game and either forbids play, or simply requires a transfer of ownership (at a cost) tackles the issue by ‘punishing’ the consumer, not the retailer – the retailer that puts the game on its shelves, making sales possible in the first place.

GameStop VP Pleads Guilty

Regardless of when Sony decides to either form or reveal a plan, it’s clear they’re making decisions that will polarize some parts of the community. No transferring of PSN purchases, no need for an always-on internet connection, tiered PSN subscription types, and a brand new piracy prevention plan all show they’re interested in far more than games for the foreseeable future.

Where do you fall on this debate? Leave your opinions in the comments.

The PlayStation 4 is expected to release come Holiday 2013.

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Follow me on Twitter @andrew_dyce.

Source: CVG

TAGS: PS4, Sony

18 Comments

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  1. I don’t buy used games… I have long thought that the resale market diminishes the overall game economy, especially the business markets designed to specifically exploit both the publishers and the end-users (i.e. Gamestop).
    Think about it: the advent of D1DLC, exclusive content, and the online pass are a direct result from publishers trying to make up the loss of profit on the back end. John Doe thinks he gets a smokin deal by paying $30 for a game but then goes home to see that he still has to spend another $30 to have the same experience that the guy who payed $60 did three months prior.
    So eliminate this market. It’s simple. Gamers will wine, and cry, and bitch, and moan, but in the long run it doesn’t matter. PC gamers have been out of a tangible resale market for a decade, due mostly to the fact that practically everything is digital, but it hasn’t effect the market at all.

    TL:DR – Sony and Microsoft should say screw it and stop the used game market. BOOOOOOOM.

    • …hows that Kool aid taste?

    • @genericiz3d: I think more and more people are going to start thinking your way, for better or worse. Good point bringing up the PC market though, that’s completely true. All money goes to the publisher, so the possibility of flexible pricing post-release is under their own control. PC gamers complained, but Steam’s utilization of publisher control made the system better for them.

  2. I guess not everyone got the memo…

    People need to realize that the used game market is what keeps these developers in business. (“huh?”…you’ll see)

    Think about it, the people who buy used games are more inclined to buy DLC, and pre-order the sequels. You know who didn’t buy the DLC? The guy who first paid $60 for the game then sold it. The people who purchase used games have been helping the economy overall.

    • I think the people who pay $60 are where most of the money comes from, especially since they’re also less likely to return the game if they’re going to be buying DLC. People who give $40-$55 to used game retailers instead of publishers still spend money on DLC, but I don’t know how it could possibly be the majority you seem to imply.

      4 people buying DLC for a used game = 1 person buying it retail. I can’t see how the former could drive profits. Especially within the first months.

      • Depends on how much that DLC costs, I bought $30 season passes, and bought several map packs and skins ect when I got a game used. DLC is nearly direct income to the developers (if I understand this right) when compared to the retail of the game itself.

        As far as the amount of people that buy DLC, in relation to those who bought the game used. You’ll see in many customer reviews from online retailers, that they were more inclined to buy the DLC because it they already spent less money on the initial purchase.

        The people that really hurt the Developers are the retailers that sell the game used without giving any kind of royalties to the developers for giving them business.

        I was shocked when I first learned that studios didn’t make any money from retailers reselling their product.

        Punish the retailers, not the consumers.

  3. If you ask me, the industry should push for legislation that forces companies who sell used games to give a small percentage of the profit to the company that made the game. Punishing the consumer or wrecking an entire lucrative sub-industry prematurely (before technology does naturally) is not the way to go. If the creators at least get something for the sale of a used copy of their game then the consumer gets to continue buying them, used games retailers get to continue their practice with little reduction to their profits, and we can stop arguing about this.

    Besides, the used games market will be pretty much dead if and when we see everything go digital. I’d like to see data on how many PC games are bought that way today. Some in the industry seem to think that even for consoles digital distribution will be the majority of sales in five years. At that rate why even bother pushing for this anymore? They already have their light at the end of the tunnel.

    • So then you think used car company’s should have to give a part of there profits to new car dealerships??? because it’s the same issue when you BUY something you OWN IT and no company in the entire world has the right to tell you you can’t resell it or give it to someone else when you don’t want it anymore it’s a consumer right to do what ever you want (within law) with your own property banning second hand games is just going to result in less game sales over all the guy going into game stop will probably just buy one game now instead of the 3+ he might have gotten before which equals less DLC and other in game items bought the 2nd hand market also aides the game market in a lot of people trying older games out then buying the new sequels and DLC that’s money that wouldn’t exist before

    • They’d have to change pawning laws completely, as that is what governs Gamestop’s business. So all pawnshops would have to give money to whatever company manufactures a sold item in question.

      Frankly the entire gaming industry’s hatred of used games is utterly pathetic. Used record and CD stores have been in business for decades and you don’t see the music industry sticking DRM, or selling half an album extra.

      Publisher greed is what is driving people more and more to piracy. DRM, day one DLC, passports, different preorder bonuses from different stores, all this greedy s*** is pushing people away from new purchases, and even purchases at all, and the industry only makes it worse.

      Video games are more profitable than any entertainment industry right now, and they act like some entitled, spoiled, special snowflakes because people may be sharing games, or buying them used.

      It’s disgusting coming from some of the greediest, consumer abusing people on Earth.

  4. “In relation to points like that, of course we’re mindful of what the game development community wants…”

    And we all know what the game development community wants…

    I honestly don’t care about used games blocking. I think they should assign it to an account though, not the system. That way if the system breaks, we don’t lose our games.

  5. I don’t think games should cost $60 in the first place. Most games have a budget far, far lower than the average summer hollywood blockbuster, and yet those movies are usually only priced at $30 or $35 for the Blu ray or 3D blu ray, so I see no reason why games should be priced so high. Games for the original Xbox or PS2 were usually priced at $20-40, so what’s next, PS4 and Xbox 720 games at $80? $100? It’s ridiculous.

  6. Denny is asking fans for a bit of faith:

    “It’s not something that I feel I have any further announcement or comment to make on, other than to acknowledge with you that it’s a massively important issue and of course we are going to do the right thing.”

    and why would i trust you after April of 2011? not gonna happen.

    this is like our law system in the US. its broken but its all we have. they cant POSSIBLY be losing THAT much damn money from used sales. stop bitchin’ about it and stop punishing us who if we didnt buy the damn games in the first place you wouldnt even exist (developers). this system may be “broken” i guess (honestly i dont see it that way at all but who cares) but its all weve got and its better than this you dont own what you buy from us you just rent our games crap.

  7. Jesus, all I hear is a bunch of you saying, sure yeah, place more restrictions on my gaming, I don’t care! Are you kidding me! Do you remember the freedom of gaming when it started and how good those experiences were, I do. Do you remember being a kid, getting a new game everyone wanted and rushing over with it to multiple friends houses to play. Well that will be all gone if you keep giving away the freedoms of gaming we’ve had all these years by giving in to the creeping movement of more and more restrictive access, controls, and monitoring. How bout when you mowed lawns in anticipation of getting a couple new games, dropped by the local store and picked two up for the price of one cuz you got a decent deal on used games. All you cared about is having and playing the games, not whether you had some b******* special SMG that came with the pre-order or a bonus map.

    Some of you are killing me. I’m all for supporting developers cuz they keep me in games I want to play but keep giving me the options with gaming I have now of how I play and buy etc. As soon as you contently start to give up your freedoms in any regard, you’re opening the flood-gates to restrictions beyond belief. Mark my words because giving any freedom up will come back to bite you in the ass someday when your game becomes single use to you and only you. Imagine if everything went this way, can’t resale your old bike, your old golf clubs, and on and on. It goes against all rationale. You’ve got to stand up and say, hell no, you can keep your restrictive crap if they so choose to create it! I’ll stick with last gen and then move on to something new that doesn’t restrict me so much.

    I’ve already told my two boys and daughter we may not be buying any of the next-gen stuff if they become more restrictive! And don’t forget, not all gamers have money to throw at the hobby, some have to cut corners and string their dollars out a little more than most and rely on finding the used game deal to give them the opportunity! Sometimes I seriously wonder where has all the common sense in the populace gone or the lack there of when I read people saying some of the things they do. You don’t give up what you have and have come to expect from the industry now. Alot of developers and companies have grown into pretty large and healthy monsters somehow with the norms of the last 20 years of gaming so they’re making a pretty damn good buck off us already folks! Didn’t you just see just the other day some company hired Dwayne Wade for a seven figure deal to promote their game ( think it was RIFT or something )! What’s that tell you? That their desperate or no, rather they’re flush with healthy money to promote ,ONE, of their games.

    • EXACTLY

    • A- motherf#$%ing -MEN.

  8. If they do that..not only gamestop gonna die..but gamefly too..all those games are used..so..what’s gonna happen with it too?

  9. I already find it pretty bad that if one profile on an Xbox 360 downloads a non-arcade title, then only that profile has access to the game. None of the other profiles on the same 360 can play it.

    This happened to me with Mass Effect. When my disk copy of the first game ceased to work beyond the beginning of the game (it would freeze every time you got to the Citadel) my dad purchased a digital copy off of Xbox LIVE because he’d been wanting to play. When the time came around that I wanted to play, I couldn’t access the game with my profile. A message stating that only the profile which purchased the game could play kept appearing.

    I was extremely angry. We purchased a $60 copy the week of release. It broke. We purchased a $20 digital copy. Only my dad’s profile could access it. So in order for me to play the damned game, we had to purchase a USED copy off of Amazon.

    Don’t you all see? This is the kind of s*** that will get worse if second-hand gaming is eliminated. If there was no second-hand gaming, I wouldn’t be able to play the game right now unless I purchased a digital copy. That’s pretty stupid considering there is ALREADY a digital copy on the Xbox. This is NOT the way to treat your customers.

    This kind of thing would also eliminate people’s ability to lend out and borrow games. “I tried out the demo, but it wasn’t quite enough for me to figure out if I wanted to play or not. Normally, I’d borrow it from a bud…not now! I have to pay full price for the game.”

    What happens if I don’t like a game that I purchased? Instead of putting it to good use and giving it to a friend that might actually like it, I have to keep it.

    Prime example of something that could be like this:
    I am a big fan of the game Dark Souls, and I’ve been told on several different occasions, by several different people, that if I liked Dark Souls, I would really enjoy Dragon’s Dogma. I even watched some gameplay on youtube and thought it looked pretty decent, and then a little later, my dad’s friend offered to let me borrow it.

    I actually started playing it and I didn’t enjoy myself at all. I was not engaged in any way. It felt very dull to me. I know to others the game was likely a masterpiece, but to me, it was no fun at all.

    There’s an example of where second-hand gaming is GOOD. I avoided spending money I game that I thought I would enjoy because of word-of-mouth, because I was able to borrow another person’s copy and play it for myself. A demo may not provide enough time with a certain piece to come to that sort of conclusion.

    Now, if the second-hand gaming market did not exist, I would have had to buy the game, and let’s just say that I would have. Well, I didn’t enjoy it, so now I’m stuck with a game that I didn’t like that I paid a hefty price for.

    Way to provide a friendly-experience for the consumer.

    One may combat this argument by saying that DLC already follow this doctrine. That’s true, but DLCs aren’t whole games. They are extensions to games that you must already own, and by the time you get around to purchasing a DLC, you should already have a fairly good idea of whether you like the game as a whole or not.

    PC gamers claim that they’ve been out of the second-hand gaming loop for a while. I find that the majority of PC gamers are also more hardcore about gaming. Someone who owns a console won’t feel the same way though.

    • “Why buy it when I can bootleg it?”

      That’s the logic of the third-hand market we rarely speak of lol there’s two sides to every coin, sadly.

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