Would the PlayStation 4 Not Allowing Used Games Do More Harm Than Good for Sony?

The PlayStation 4, codenamed Orbis, has been the subject of many rumors in the last few months. We’ve seen potential hardware specifications, potential job listings and even a game or two rumored to be in development. One rumor in particular got gamers’ attentions in a big way: Sony was planning on blocking used games from the PlayStation 4. Understandably, many gamers were upset at this news, as used games and game rentals have been a staple of the industry since the NES in the 1980’s; we all have at least one fond memory of borrowing that amazing game from our friend’s house or renting that one special game over and over because we couldn’t afford it. To better understand the potential such a change could have, it’s important to look at the viewpoints of all parties: Sony, the other publishers and the gamers.

Would the PlayStation 4 Not Allowing Used Games Do More Harm Than Good for Sony?

Many gamers don’t consider Sony’s perspective on why they would even consider something like this; you’ll hear terms thrown around that Sony is money hungry, greedy or that they don’t care about gamers. However, is this really true? One can argue that Sony attempting to block used games from their console is Sony ensuring that you will still have games to play in the future. It’s no secret that most video game manufacturers, such as Sony, make no money off the sale of a video game system; the profit is made from accessories and their own published games. If a potential gamer buys a Sony system and then only buys used games, Sony is never seeing profit from that customer; with no profit, there is no money to place in game studios or future hardware development. When that happens, studios get shut down and systems get cancelled; imagine a world with no Uncharted 4 or PlayStation 5. So while many gamers deride Sony for even thinking about blocking used games, Sony is merely thinking about their own continued existence. If blocking used games from their system allows Sony to make additional money from their games, which then goes into making new games and hardware, is that really so bad?

In addition, many of the big name video game publishers, such as Epic Games, are staunchly against the used video game market. One can assume that if Sony took such a harsh stance against used games, many developers and publishers, knowing that they would receive extra profit since you’d have to buy their games new, would develop exclusively for the PlayStation 4. If the PlayStation 4 could reach the heights of dominance that the original PlayStation and PlayStation 2 did, is giving up used games such a bad tradeoff?

For many gamers, it is. Used games are a driving force behind the video game industry; stores typically knock a few dollars off a used game, knocking extra money off if you are in a rewards club for that store. For many gamers, trading in their used games and turning around to buy used games is the only way they can continue to enjoy this hobby. In addition, perhaps they love the used game they are playing and pre-order the next game in the series brand new. By taking away used games, you’re suddenly alienating a large part of your potential buying audience; these gamers will have to wait for price drops and sales, if they even buy the game at all. Even when buying a used game, chances are good a customer will buy some downloadable content; when you don’t allow them to buy that used game, they aren’t there to buy your content. While video game publishers and Sony look to protect their initial profits by forcing gamers to buy new, they won’t then see the profits from gamers with used games buying downloadable content; in a worst case scenario, these gamers will stop being gamers or move to a different system that is less restrictive. This is far damaging to Sony and publishers than any potential profit lost when a gamer buys a game used instead of new.

PlayStation 4 banning pre-owned gamesThis does not even account for rental chains, such as GameFly, or used game stores, such as GameStop, as renting and selling used games is a major part of each store’s business model. Since most games do not have demos, many gamers rent before they buy; taking away rentals would cause gamers to not even give these games they are on the fence about a look. However, GameFly and GameStop have lately been integrating themselves deeply into digital distribution; even if used games were to disappear, these stores are ensuring they will still be around in the future.

However, this issue is not so black and white; one additional rumor that is circulating states that used games may require some form of an “Online Pass” to function. An “Online Pass,” in most recently released games, is necessary to play multiplayer or unlock bonus features. The “Online Pass” is given to those customers who buy the game new; used gamers have to pay $10 to $15 to unlock these features when they buy the game used. If the PlayStation 4 decided to use an online pass system for used games, you could expect to pay $10 to $15 to “unlock” the game on your system and play it. While technically this would still allow used games, the cost of unlocking them would negate any potential savings; you might as well buy the game new.

Chances are good nothing will come of this rumor; this same rumor appeared before the unveiling of the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 and, as you know, those systems allow used games. However, for gamers that buy a large quantity of used games, even if this rumor does not come to pass your used games are not safe; as more games are released in a digital format, it may only be a matter of time before used games are eliminated simply due to the advancement of technology.

Article by - Joshua Phillips

March 21st 2013 Update -- What Is Sony's Stance On Used Games?

Even though the company has officially announced the PlayStation 4, Sony has not yet come out and revealed what it will do with used games. While statements made by company representatives make it likely the PS4 can play used games, it is unclear in what capacity.

Sony vice president of Worldwide Studios Michael Denny stated to CVG "It's a massively important issue and I understand why it's one that keeps coming up and will keep coming up, because people want to know what the exact stance is. In relation to points like that, of course we're mindful of what the game development community wants and what the wider industry issues are with those things. I think in good time that will become clearer."

He went on to add ""It's not something that I feel I have any further announcement or comment to make on, other than to acknowledge with you that it's a massively important issue and of course we are going to do the right thing."

Sony president of Worldwide Studios Shuhei Yoshida also had a statement on the matter, claiming "When you purchase the disc-based games on PS4, it should work on any hardware. So that's what I'm saying."

We'll keep you updated with any breaking news of this story!

Update by - Joshua Phillips
Insert Date: 3/21/2013

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No Used Games

What a load of bollocks, stopping the use of used games. all i can say is try it Sony, and see where it gets you. Most people will move to xbox. then sony will be at a loss with profits. Ban used games, never heard anything so stupid in my life.

Time Limit?

Perhaps they could restrict the usage of a 'used' copy during the duration in which a new one is available? I understand the importance of their maintaining their income (one used game can substitute for dozens of new ones as it cycles through the market), but once they are no longer selling the game new (or it has been out for several months, since digital copies may be perpetually available), it might be appropriate to unlock the game. That way, the used game market remains, but new releases aren't available used for several months. This would drive customers to buy it new, thanks to hype and the need to (for multiplayer games) get started early. Honestly, this and the possible lack of backwards compatibility are both worrying. The decline in console game popularity (due to PC games and mobile devices) is not going to be stopped by keeping us from older games and old favorites from past generations.

Up the Drain

Even though the gaming industry in and around 2015/17 is going to be one of the biggest industries in the world; an industry bigger than anything seen since the age of Movies... Sony is actually even slightly going to consider this? When Sony also have a large part of the Movie Industry already in their bag? They can only do this if their game console is aimed at a "buyers' tier" at least at the level of a 2012 mid-range PC in the "799" range. That would make complete sense. 15 Million+ budget games can't be pre-owned and sold off anymore; I completely understand that. But stopping "console gamers" from used games with a "299" console? No one is expecting "Battlefield 3 PC Ultra" graphics at that price. Yeah, that's really going to go down well with anyone with an IQ over 85. There's a saying; and it fits in with Sony's current profile: "It's better to be going down the drain, than up it."

used games

All we have to do is not buy online that will help with this I agree eventually it all will be digital but not if we stop wel loose jobs stored will close I mean think about it buying online is what's killing this country self check out lines I mean come on use your heads let's not destroy this economy anymore companys do this to make more profit yes but if there taking the jobs from the customers ultimately were all loosing I blame this economy on online purchases

What if you buy a rubbish game?

We've all done it before, bought a new game costing £40 quid only to find it's crap! At least you can get some money back on trade in. I think after 2 or 3 duff games people will be more sceptical at trying new IP's and games by newer developers, innovation will die a slow death!

I still have a playstation 1,

I still have a playstation 1, 2 playstation 2's, amd 2 playstation 3's. If they do that, i won't have a playstation 4.

Epic Fail

If Sony attempts this ridiculous process it would be an Epic Fail for Sony! I just want to know -1) How will they stop people from buying used games, not going to happen -2) What happens when you buy a game bad/over hyped game and want to return it? what happens when you buy a game use it for one day then take it over your friend's house who has the same system, will that be considered used? -3)WHY ARE THEY WORRIED ANYWAY since a game comes out New and they get the original 1st profit? When a game is Resold Sony has no control over the profits The fact that they are even considering such an ridiculous idea means they want to corner the market/dominate the competition, but by committing such a crime to the Sony Playstation fans they will fail on an Epic level!

I just wanted to point out

I just wanted to point out that Sony still makes profit off of pre-owned (aka used) games and that it would take a lot of work on their end to remove used game availability.


Hello everyone im from ireland and as you know the situation here is awful heart out to you after sandy I am a die hard fan of tomb raider and have every game from there series the first game was made in 1980 and the graphics were terrible but thats not what its about its all about the entertainment you get from the game . I couldnt care less about the size of my ps3 if it was as big as a 40 inch tv so long as I didnt have to get it repaired for an overloaded fan or damaged optical drive every for months and by the way sony . Fyi. We the consumers might have jobs in dvd stores wherecond hand games are sokd and with the devastation you bring to our game sales by locking used games might lose our jobs and then you would cripple the marketand by doing so cripple yourselveswe th consumer are the pillars that support your company your jobs and your profit. Whoever heard of,a farmer selling potatoes to a guy who wanted bananas. Sel us what we want. Survey us treat us well and you may notlose us

Sony Please Don't Be Stupid

Think about the damage you will do to your industry in the gameing industry to many ppl.rely on used games its how we decide wether or not we want your game n whether or not we want to spend more on the game by buying your dlc 4 that game I completely agree with you chargeing $10 for the online pass that's pretty fair in my opinion. Also we all.appreciate you selling the ps4 at a reasonable price considering 95% of the player base is.either middle or lower class ppl but by you raising the price from the normal $60 as the rumors claim you are planing to do will b a big mistake n banning used games will.destroy the ps4 b4 it has a chance of lifting off n your company will sell.no more than about 5.000-10.000 if your lucky don't b money hungry its understandable why this company feels the need to do this but b nsmart about this by doing any of these rumors your basically screwing yourselves to fail horrible(evil laugh ;-) )I dare you Rondo.any of these dumb ideas n watch what happens you will either have to change the prioritys or say goodbye to the gameing community which might happen anyway if Microsoft decided to do free online so its your choice b smart or give upsoniys

Release date...

Just so you all know the release date is December 2013... Need to put the trolls and rumors to rest. IT IS DEC 2013, I Know this because I work at Sony. As for specs, No clue.


My brother and I both have a 360 and we share our games, we can't afford to buy 2 copies of every game that comes out that we want to play. There are rumors of microsoft doing the same thing and if that the case neither of us will be buying a 720. If sony does it also then we wont be switching over. I just hope that at least one of the two will wise up and not do this, because whoever does will see a drop in sales big time, and whoever doesn't the sales will increase.

see its all greed

I stopped buying ps1/2/3/4 or xboxs for simple reason what they ask for in money for the system to start with u can build a pc that will out run it in all parts as it will have better ram better prosser and better video and plus u can run tv andstream shop and use inter net to order more stuff on a PC PS all video games are made on a PC so stop buying there crap and get a pc with good v card and go have fun online

ps4 bye

so far the ps4 and new xbox does not have my full attention so i have the gear for pc gaming that is where i will have to go sony and microsoft is making a mistake not backwards compatible or used games at least the wii u transfers your stuff from the wii could pc gaming be the future and the console wars come to a end time will tell game on

PC Gaming

I'm done with console gaming-too expensive. Hopefully this will spur PC gaming titles. I would rather spend my money on dual graphic cards.

self destruction

with the majority of gamers it seems selling the games we've finished to afford the newer titles has become a way of life as has selling the titles we dont like or want anymore and with this sort of idea sony might as well kiss the ps 4 goodbye before they even begin. it is nothing short of stupidity to expect to control such a market