This morning during an interview with Game Trailers, Sony CEO Jack Tretton seemed to suggest that the platform holder would allow (but not facilitate) third-party publishers to implement used game DRM on the PlayStation 4. Sony has since clarified Tretton’s comment, stating that he was only referring specifically to playing used third-party games online.
During the interview Tretton was asked what Sony would do if a third-party publisher wanted to place restrictions, like an Online Pass system, on their PlayStation 4 game. Tretton responded by saying:
“We create the platform, we’ve certainly stated that with our first party games we are not going to be doing that [restricting used game sales], but we welcome publishers and their business models to our platform.”
“There is going to be free-to-play, there is going to be every potential business model on there. And again, that is up to their relationship with the consumer, and what they think is going to put them in the best bet. So, we are not going to dictate that. We are going to give them a platform to publish on.”
“The DRM decision is going to have to be in the hands of the third-parties, that is not something that we are going to dictate or control, or mandate, or implement.”
The statement was immediately interpreted to mean that Sony would allow third-party publishers to implement used game DRM, similar to the Xbox One. Dan Race, Sony’s Senior Director of Corporate Communications, has since clarified the statement to GameFront, saying Tretton was only taking about third-party publishers restricting used games online.
“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.”
Basically, it will be up to third-party publishers if they want to use some type of Online Pass program in their PlayStation 4 games, but used single-player games will work without any restrictions. This is exactly the same system that is currently in place on the PlayStation 3, and it is (thankfully) completely in line with Sony’s announcement during their E3 2013 press conference last night.