Sony clarifies: No crackdown on disc trading, but online DRM is possible

Firm issues statement following exec comments

Sony has further clarified its pre-owned, trading and online restriction policies, after one of its executives claimed that DRM measures were "up to third parties".


On Tuesday, Sony Computer Entertainment America president Jack Tretton appeared on GTTV and claimed that "the DRM decision for third-party games will be up to publishers".

But an official statement from Sony has further clarified the matter.

This situation is complex, but the outcome is thought to be:

  • Any PS4 game disc can be rented, resold, offered to friends (etc) with no checks or restrictions.
  • The online (multiplayer) component of third-party games could be restricted to second-users (with a paid online pass required to unlock).
  • However, the online component of third-party games may not be locked - the decision is down to the publisher.
  • When it comes to first-party games, there will be no online restrictions.
  • Traditional DRM policy (no lending) applies to digitally downloaded games, as usual.

This conclusion was brought together when mixing Tretton's quotes with an official company statement.

Tretton told GTTV that, "The DRM decision is going to have to be in the hands of the third parties, that's not something we're going to dictate or control or mandate or implement."

But Sony communications director Dan Race told Gamefront that:

"The Online Pass program for PlayStation first-party games will not continue on PlayStation 4. Similar to PS3, we will not dictate the online used game strategy (the ability to play used games online) of its publishing partners. As announced last night, PS4 will not have any gating restrictions for used disc-based games. When a gamer buys a PS4 disc they have right to use that copy of the game, so they can trade-in the game at retail, sell it to another person, lend it to a friend, or keep it forever."

During its E3 press conference, Sony suggested that the PlayStation 4 will be unequivocally free from any restrictions on pre-owned games.

"When a gamer buys a PS4 disc, they can trade in, sell it to a friend, or lend it, keep it forever," said Tretton.

"PlayStation 4 disc games don't need to be connected online to be play, or any type of authentication. PS4 won't require you to check in".

"It won't stop working if you haven't authenticated within 24 hours," he finished, referring to Microsoft's controversial used game policy.