While the Xbox One conference brought about a reveal of the console and many positive aspects about it, it also brought to light the negative aspects: in particular, the console's digital rights management, or DRM, scheme. Before the Xbox One reveal, it was rumored that the Xbox One would need to always be online and would completely restrict used games: a similar rumor we saw for the PlayStation 4. Now that Xbox One DRM information is out, how will it affect Sony and the PlayStation 4?
Let's start by talking a look at what we know about the Xbox One's DRM scheme and the rumors surrounding it:
• Sources indicate that the Xbox One may charge up to a $53 dollar fee to “reactivate” a used game, essentially causing the resale value on the game to be zero. It would no longer be cost effective for the player or a retail chain to resell a used game.
• Publishers will automatically get a cut of every used game on the Xbox One, meaning that in the rare scenario then that someone does relicense a used game, part of that money goes back to the publisher. Currently, the publisher makes nothing from a used sale.
• Microsoft has stated that the above scenario was not false, but was only one “potential scenario” and that they were not ready to talk about what they were going to do.
As a result of the used game market seemingly collapsing, stock in GameStop fell by 15% the day these rumors were announced. However, there was one shining light in the darkness: Sony had previously confirmed that it would not impose DRM on its games and, while the option for publishers to do so was there, they would not be using it.
Keep in mind though, this was a few months ago, and it looks like publishers may have the upper hand and force Sony into using similar DRM as the Xbox One. Journalist Geoff Keighley has noted that, thanks to inside sources, publishers are heavily pushing for the Xbox One to implement this draconian form of DRM which will in turn force Sony to use it as well. Why would Sony back down from its previous statement? If you were a game publisher and you knew that an Xbox One version of a game would require all users to purchase it new and that you'll still get money for a used copy, while the PlayStation 4 version had no such protection, it's a given you're developing solely for the Xbox One.
Sony has everything to lose and, quite honestly, nothing to gain. Sure, the players will be happy if Sony doesn't adopt this DRM but when there is no games to play, it's a given many of these anti-DRM supporters will grab an Xbox One just to get their video game fix. Microsoft has put Sony in a bad position: accept the DRM and strain relations with gamers or reject it and strain relations with publishers.
In online video show Bonus round, Keighley described the scenario Sony faces:
"Sony, I think, has been seen as this kind of white knight so far that's not going to restrict used games," Keighley stated. "Based on some of the things I'm hearing, I don't think that's entirely true because I can't see publishers allowing one system to do one thing and one [to] do another."
It's a lose / lose scenario and the biggest loser of all is the consumer.
However, a group of gamers have started a Twitter movement to get Sony's attention regarding the DRM by using the hashtags #PS4NoDRM and #PS4USEDGAMES. So far, the movement has worked, getting the attention of CEO Kaz Hirai:
Sony has seen your #PS4NoDrM hashtag and took note. We now have absolutely no intention to release Dr Mario on PS4
— CEO Kaz Hirai (@KazHiraiCEO) May 27, 2013
How do you feel about DRM? Let us know in the comments below!
Looks like your efforts have paid off! Sony announced at E3 2013 that the PlayStation 4 will be DRM free and will not feature any of the restrictions found on the Xbox One! This is a victory for Sony gamers everywhere!
Article by - Joshua Phillips
Insert Date: 5/29/2013