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'A lot of families rely on pre-owned games'

Are the days of cheap, second-hand games coming to an end?

On this week's mailbox we've got Simon Millington, who's feeling a little unsettled by rumours suggesting Sony will impliment technology to lock out used games in the next PlayStation.

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I've been a devoted PlayStation fan from the moment I unwrapped my PS1 and have purchased every Sony Console and handheld released since. You can imagine my excitement at the prospect of PS4 later this year. However, a few days ago, I heard a rumour that all new games will need to be registered to a single online PSN account before you can play them. Just so an end can be put to pre-owned games.

Most people, myself included, have to save to buy a new game. A lot of families rely on pre-owned games, especially at this time of year. Now Sony is telling us we have to be online in order to play a game we have just paid fifty to sixty pounds for. If this rumour is true then sales of the next gen consoles will plummet surely. Please tell me I'm worrying for nothing, or are my twenty plus years of gaming coming to an end?

GM says: Put your pitchfork away, Simon. Firstup that rumour is exactly that, a rumour. Sony haven't confirmed or denied anything yet. We don't evenknow that it'll even be called PS4 (unlikely as the Japanese wordfor 'four' is 'shi', which also means 'death'). It's likely there will be some kind of online registration system, probably similar to what exists now with online mode passes, but we doubt very much this'll utterly destroy your chances of picking up games on the cheap. After all, a huge percentage of gamers still play on their consoles offline, and Sony wouldn't want to utterly alienate them.

CVG says: Do as GamesMaster says and take a breather. There may not be any cause for alarm, it may be that Sony just wanted to patent the technology before anyone else and then throw it in its giant vault 'o patents where no one else can get at it. Until we've got some concrete information there's no need to worry, and even if Sony does decide to implement the technology, we're sure is thinking carefully about the implications locking out used games will have.

Jack Tretton, CEO of Sony Computer Entertainment America, has said he doesn't like the idea of implementing technology designed to block used games. In Jack we trust.

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