Not content to get all of the controversy regarding PlayStation 3 out in the open during E3 06 - see our story regarding the sky-high price; the motion-sensitive, non-rumbling controller; and the differences between the two PS3 models - Sony apparently saved some for later.
Our UK companion site recently posted an article outlining a claim that certain UK retailers have been informed that they will be unable to sell used PlayStation 3 games.
Sony does indeed have the patented ability to create PS3 games that must be registered the first time they're inserted into your PS3, and could then only play on that specific PS3. This would obviously both severely hinder game piracy and also torpedo used game sales.
However, this rumor is apparently just that: a rumor. Despite contacting several industry insiders, neither GamesRadar US or its other companion site, www.next-gen.biz, could seem to verify the UK retailer's story. NextGen's take on the scene can be found here, complete with quotes from various of industry insiders sounding bewildered and incredulous.
Sony's US office could neither allay nor confirm our fears. Kimberly Otzman, senior manager of corporate communications, offered, "We can't comment on rumors or speculation. We plan on announcing the [launch] lineup as we get closer to the launch in November. We haven't made any announcement on used game sales."
For our part, GamesRadar US contacted over a dozen industry insiders, and none have yet heard of such a plan. Many ceded that a system which locked a disc to a console (and which Sony has a patent on, incidentally) could be a useful tool to combat piracy, and that many publishers and developers would welcome the extinction of used game sales, which they view as little more than legalized piracy.
However, those same insiders also agreed that such a plan would enrage both retailers - many of which rely heavily on the sales of used games for income - and game-buying consumers themselves.
Finally, Jennie Kong, UK PR Manager at SCEE told the UK newspaper The Guardian that "this is false speculation and that PlayStation 3 software will not be copy protected to a single machine but will be playable on any PlayStation 3 console."
So that's that. Sony, as it turns out, isn't doing everything they possibly can to send consumers running to 360, Wii, PC and basically any console other than a PS3.
May 24, 2006