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Sony: PS4 “Will Play” Used Games


Sony has officially confirmed that the PlayStation 4 will be able to play second-hand games after all, after a patent on a method of blocking them and the much enhanced online delivery system of the new console led to much speculation that it would finally axe the used game market with a registration system.

Whilst downloadable titles – seemingly intended as the main delivery method – will of course be at the whim of Sony’s highly reliable servers and not subject to resale or unrestricted transfer, Sony honcho Shuhei Yoshida has confirmed physical copies will be playable without restriction even if previously owned:

[Do you agree that if you buy something on a disc, that you have a kind of moral contract with the person you’ve bought it from that you retain some of that value and you can pass it on?]

“Yes. That’s the general expectation by consumers. They purchase physical form, they want to use it everywhere, right? So that’s my expectation.”

[So if someone buys a PlayStation 4 game, you’re not going to stop them reselling it?]

“Used games can play on PS4.”

Another interview carried a similar confirmation by Yoshida, also seemingly ruling out region locks:

“When you purchase disc-based games for PS4, they will work on any hardware.”

Suspicions that Sony was planning on eliminating the second-hand sales market as a way of reclaiming the billions in revenue it apparently siphons away from game publishers and into the coffers of game retailers flared after it emerged that Sony recently patented a method of blocking used games from functioning, although Sony denies it has anything to do with the PS4.

However, in other comments Yoshida also revealed that publishers will be able to add anti-resale registration schemes to their titles themselves, potentially allowing them to block or discourage resale without any PR hassle for Sony.

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  • Will play them for the first year.

    Courts have already ruled that just because you purchase a system with certain functionality, doesn’t meed the vendor has to keep the functionality around.

    Sony has already done this once with the Linux alternate OS capabilities on the PS-3, there’s no reason to assume they won’t do it again with the PS-4 and used games once the systems saturates the market.

  • i’ll never understand early adopters that like to pay extra for the privilege of having no games to play and enjoy the risk of getting screwed over a hardware bug, a firmware update or just plain market failure

  • The way I buy PC is to buy a game I WANT to play and then buy the cheapeast PC that can play the game at max specs. I do the same for consoles. Don’t care for the specs since those are always exaggerated by SONY (PS3 cell chip specs for instance).

    • having a powerful hardware is useless if nobody is able to fully exploit it either because they dont care or because you made your architecture bizarre and unwieldy for whatever crazy reason as the PS3 showed

  • The Fuck!!

    Isn’t it really,REALLY sad that something ridiculous like this should even be newsworthy? Tomorrow we’ll debate over how games of the future will have to be bought with a blood-contract.

    • It CAN play PS3 versions, technically.

      They’re planning to stream PS3 games. That’s among the things they wanted to use Gaikai for.

      Keep in mind too that PS3 will still be in production and there are still plenty of them in stock. Somebody’s gotta buy them. Of course they didn’t think of this back with PS2, but hey, corporations get greedy when they grow too big.

    • I do not get why, suddenly, so many people care about PS2/PS3 games now that PS4 was announced… That makes little sense to me. Besides, PS2 is so cheap now, you are better off buying one and the games for it and, as for PS3, it is NOT an outdated console yet, so making PS4 backwards-compatible for them seems pointless.

      • Suddenly? Apparently, you haven’t seen that people were seriously upset at Sony for taking the backwards compatibility out of the PS3 in the first place.

        The bottom line is that with the sheer POWER of the PS3, even if they wanted to take out the physical chips, they should have been able to make an emulator that ran on the PS3 to get 99%+ of PS2 games running.

  • How is this even a big news? This is not even a PC game where you need CD keys to activate and such. Used game or not, you should be able to play any games on any consoles without restrictions (for Playstation at least).

    Also, while keeping region lock out of PS4 is good, they should work on backward compatibility.

    • I actually understand why PS3 is not supported- it is on completely different platform, while being almost as powerful, if not more powerful than PS4, so emulating is almost impossible. But PS2 and PS1… My netbook can emulate them fluently. Why this shit can’t?

      • The Cell in the PS3 is probably more powerful then the 8 AMD e series cpus in the PS4 but the graphics chip in the PS4 is far more powerful then the GSX in the PS3.
        It’s kinda an odd system actually a fairly powerful GPU but has a CPU less powerful then a $90 new egg special.

        The real reason why it can’t emulate them is simple they want you to pay for virtual console downloads like those N64 and NES games you can buy on the Wii and that’s if your lucky.
        What I head is they wish to make people pay for a shit cloud based technology called gaikai which is really just a bastardized version of VNC so you better have a fast internet connection and like lag.

    • PS3 backwards compatibility is impossible without including an entire PS3 in the hardware due to their choice of architecture.
      But PS2 and PS1 compatibility through software emulation is possible but they simply choose not to offer it.

      • Exactly, PS3 had enough muscle to completely emulate PS2 and they bulked on developing an emulator. PS4 will do the same with PS3.

        Thou in the case of PS4, PS3 used a Nvidia GPU and Nvidia won’t sell them the rights to make a proper software emulated wrapper. Just like the bastards did to MS, whom had to develop their own Nvidia-to-ATI wrapper using only open source coding. Ever wonder why 360 plays half of xbox1 titles and not more? That’s why.

        Emulating Cell should not be a problem thou, as Sony owns all of the rights to Cell and modern x86 chips have more than enough muscle to emulate a dated PPC.

        • By over head I mean less impact on the overall speed of the system.

          Having one core of a four core system dedicated to hypervisior means loosing 25% of the system performance is going to be lost keeping it locked down.
          With eight cores only 12.5% needs to be sacrificed to appease Satan.

        • A very high end 8 to 16 core X86 might be able to pull off Cell emulation but the CPU in the PS4 is no where near up to the task.

          Now it might be able to play games that did not use high level calls but the X86 cores are still to slow to fully emulate the PPU which it’s self was functionally equivalent to a Core 2.
          If they chose a very fast quad or dual core CPU the emulation might have been easier as it might be able to get close to full speed PPU emulation then the hard part would be doing SPU emulation but the AMD stream processors might not be general purpose enough for this but an Nvidia cuda might be able to pull it off.
          It seems they choose this architecture on purpose to kill any chance of backwards compatibility on purpose.
          They’re probably also going to run one the X86 cores as hyper visor for DRM shit like one of the SPUs were on Cell.
          Going with eight slow cores vs 4 fast cores allows them to do this with less over head.

  • That is the reason why you don’t see your favorite systems getting “maxed out” is because of profit and major demand. The casuals hold the major market in gaming now and they don’t care if their playing on a “brand new” system that has a 7 year-old graphics card. The company’s target demographic doesn’t acknowledge a console’s internal hardware as long as it’s shiny and has motion controls. With the addition of Facebook and the social button just proves my point even further.

  • problem would be solved if they made amazing games that people won’t want to sell off. I know from looking in pawn shops that most games for nintendo are sports/crap games while the worth while ones rarely ever see store shelves.
    Make better games and people won’t buy secondhand cause there won’t be second hand to buy.

  • Of course Sony pulled back… [b]Most industries nowadays appeal to the casual market, like Nintendo, now because it’s more profitable in the long run.[/b] Prime example is the motion innovation boom and the addition of all the social bandwagon. Wheres casual gamers may spend less money and time on gaming as a WHOLE since they don’t see it as important, [b]but they hold a much wider audience than the hardcore crowd.[/b]

    • Not necessarily. While the casual market is larger, it’s also infinitely more fickle. Casuals flocked in droves to buy Wii’s, but then what did they do? The Wii’s software sales were abysmal (only a 1.6 attach rate). Most people bought it for Wii Sports – the game that the console came packaged with – and then never picked up another title. Consequently, third party developer support dried up as no one wanted to devote resources to a system with such poor software sales, and it became a vicious circle of low game sales leading to a lack of good game releases leading to even poorer game sales.

      And now what? The Wii U is out and it’s hardware sales are in the toilet. Why? Because the same casual market, the parents and grandparents who flocked to the Wii because of its gimmicky motion controls, aren’t interested in dropped $300-400 on a new console when their old console still works (hell, most of them don’t even seem to know that a new console is out, or think that the Wii U is just another peripheral for the Wii). That’s how they think. A hardcore gamer is accustomed to and perfectly happy dropping hundreds of dollars every few years on new hardware, and gobbles up software like its candy. Casuals are more inclined to break out Wii Sports when company is over and then let their Wii continue collecting dust for the rest of the year; big spenders, they are not. These are the same people that still have VHS VCRs and are using the same wood-paneled 17″ tube televisions that they bought in the 70s (and needed vouchers from the government to get them to upgrade to digital converters).

      Motion controls were a fad. They were the Tickle Me Elmo of their time, and Nintendo was lucky enough to cash in. But that’s in the past, and Nintendo’s “next-gen” console appears to be dead on arrival. Hardcore gamers aren’t just apathetic about motion controls; they actively despise them, as demonstrated by the terrible sales and constant ridicule of the PlayStation Move and Microsoft Kinect. And casual gamers are perfectly happy playing the same 1-2 games on their 6 year old Wii, and have no interest in upgrading.

      So no, the casual market is not more profitable in the long run. Quite the opposite actually. The casual market was massively profitable for Nintendo in the short term, but the long term support just isn’t there. And now that those chickens are coming home to roost, it looks like Nintendo might be in some serious trouble.

  • “Used games can play on PS4.”

    “When you purchase disc-based games for PS4, they will work on any hardware.”

    … after you purchase a used game unlock code for a low, low price on PSN!

    And you need to save the unlock keys on a proprietary memory card format! (free online storage if you subscribe to Playstation Plus!)

    Just kidding, of course, but knowing Sony I wouldn’t be surprised. Their legal/PR language leaves their comment wide open for a “catch” or conditional statements.

    But who knows, maybe they learned their lesson…?

    • they are just washing their hands on it and letting the publishers deal with the backlash adding their own anti used games system

      hope you guys enjoy entering keys, youll be doing that a lot next gen

    • “… after you purchase a used game unlock code for a low, low price on PSN!”

      Well i wouldn’t be too bothered buy this. bacause used games market is huge lost for the publishers.
      That way consumer still gets his game cheaper and companies get their share of it aswell.

      Of course, this would not ideal setup but IF there HAD to be some sort of used games market block. paying small small price to unlock already cheaper game doesn’t sound so bad.

      Yet again. I still prefer my used games free from blocks and unlock prices.

      • Anonymous says:


        Publishers already get a lion’s share of the initial sale, retailers make very little on new games. Of course I’m sure the big retailers and the publishers are going to find a way to screw the customer collectively.

    • Or not.

      There’s no /technical/ reason they couldn’t change their mind after you’ve bought your Sony hardware. Sony infamously removed the (phat) PS/3 “OtherOS” feature in a firmware update.

      Yes, you can choose* not to update your firmware. But…

      No firmware update == you can’t play newer games.

      *This assumes they didn’t build in a “mandatory” firmware update feature.

      “Sony”: Polite Japanese for, “Fuck YOU, Mr/Ms Customer!!”

    • So basically they make you pay for a used game twice.
      Hopefully this system will be quickly cracked open as it seems far less secure then the PS3 was.
      Worst case it might be possible to run the game OS on a modified version of VMware or QEmu and emulate the thing on a mid range or higher PC.

        • DRM does not exist because of piracy. It exists because it takes control from the user and gives it to corporations. Stopping piracy, which was something that ALL DRM schemes failed miserably on doing, was only and excuse and still is.

        • DRM existed because of pirates, and was exacerbated by the second-generation consoles. The spread of piracy on the internet wasn’t focused only on console, but the general spoiled-ness of gamers in progressive generations lead to the increase. The console being an easy purchase that didn’t require maintenance is what attracted the gamer crowd to date as well, as well as the computer prices have bottomed out finally, which means it’s affordable, just several years too late.

          Either way, all console games begin with PCs as it is, so it’s always been a moot point. Consoles existing as a standard is kind of the same as minimum requirements on PC games. The Geforce 8800 GT was used as a standard for years because it was fuckin’ amazing.

          Consoles didn’t really destroy gaming, stupid people did.

        • But there are no restrictions whatsoever on the resale of disc-based games on the PC market. if you purchase your games as a digital download, as we see on Steam these digital download games are less expensive than the disk based media. That accommodates the lack of a resale ability and we see on Steam and other distribution methods this leads to more frequent and more rapid discounting of these games because their online availability makes it easy to continue to offer them for months or years afterwards. if you want to buy a 5 or 6 year old PC game good luck finding it in retail stores new or used but I guarantee you will probably still find it on Steam or another digital download site for 5 to 10 dollars.

        • lolwat

          14:04 obviously is less then 12 years old. DRM methods started on the PC with shit like code wheels and dongles. Hell, even the “always online” stuff was first introduced by the much lauded Steam.

        • CD keys are written on the CD itself, for pirates not to distribute its contents via internet. And games exclusive for PC usually don’t have idiotic DLCs (unless it’s some stupid MMORPGWTFOMG no normal people play).

    • Anonymous says:

      Yeah, be like all the spineless faggots who wait to see if it sells and then bitch when it fails because nobody bought one.

      Early adopters of technology take the risk so you can sit on your fat ass and feel superior.. you’re not.