On Used PlayStation 3 Games

It’s been rumored for a while that Sony’s upcoming PlayStation 3 console won’t be able to play previously played or rented games–that once a user activated a game on his console it wouldn’t work on another. No lending a game to a friend, no taking a game to a friend’s house, no reselling a game once finished.

Or not just rumors, if this article is to be believed:

High street games shops have been told by Sony that there will be no PS3 pre-owned sections in their stores as it will be illegal for customers to sell any next-gen PlayStation games that they’ve bought, retail sources have revealed to GamesRadar.

It seems that Sony is planning to adopt a licensing system that will mean gamers won’t own the PS3 titles that they’ve paid money for. Instead, they will only be purchasing the licence to play the game and that the software itself will still be Sony property – meaning that the disc won’t be the customer’s to sell.

How could such a scheme even work? Activation keys? A required Internet connection? And what if your system broke or was stolen? Replace the system, and suddenly you’d have to rebuy all your games, as they wouldn’t work in the new system as they’d already have been activated for the old system. Madness, surely.

I’ll still call the idea of prohibiting the use of used games on the PlayStation 3 a rumor. Not unfounded, but still on shaky ground. The article’s sources are anonymous–could be a guy in the mailroom, for all we know. There are simply too many impracticalities in the scheme. Sony may not need retail partners for the PlayStation 3 launch, but there’s no reason to antagonize them by inhibiting the very business they depend upon.

In a few more months we’ll know.

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