Sony’s PlayStation 4: No restrictions on used games, no mandatory online requirements

2 Posted by - June 11, 2013 - News, Opinion

It only does everything Microsoft’s Xbox One doesn’t.

Sony held its annual press conference at the Electronic Entertainment Expo last night, and the main message rang out clear: The upcoming PlayStation 4 console won’t impose restrictions or mandate customer behavior the way Microsoft’s competing Xbox One will.

The Xbox One requires customers to have an internet connection to play their games — the console won’t launch the software without a daily check-in — and, at minimum, severely hampers users from lending, borrowing, renting or selling game discs. The processes and requirements around the Xbox One’s systems still aren’t entirely clear thanks to several confusing and conflicting releases from Microsoft’s PR department.

Gamers and the gaming industry alike largely expected Sony to follow suit, responding to publisher and developer concerns of pirated games rather than consumer concerns.

Instead, Jack Tretton, President and CEO of Sony Computer Entertainment of America, clarified Sony’s position on the matter roughly 80 minutes into his conference.

“In addition to creating an amazing library of new titles on PlayStation 4, we’re equally focused on what gamers want most without imposing restrictions or devaluing their PS4 purchases,” said Tretton. “PS4 won’t impose any new restrictions.”

The crowd went ballistic, drowning Tretton out as a graphic behind him read, “PS4 supports used games.” The sustained applause lasted longer than any earned by the show’s game reveals.

“I guess that’s a good thing,” said Tretton.

He then elaborated further. “We believe in the model that people embrace today and continue to demand. When a gamer buys a PS4 disc, they have the rights to that copy game. They can trade in the game at retail, sell it to another person, lend it to a friend, or keep it forever.”

And it a direct shot at the Xbox One, Tretton added one last piece of information. “PlayStation 4 discs don’t need to be connected online to play,” he said. “Or for any type of authentication. And it won’t stop working if you haven’t authenticated within 24 hours.”

Each addition also got a long, enthusiastic reaction from the crowd.

In the space of a few minutes, Tretton, Sony, and the PlayStation 4 completely dismantled the Xbox One approach by taking a customer-centric approach to their hardware. Instead of dictating terms and conditions to their customers, they listened. Instead of a confusing hash of rules — some of which have yet to be fully explained — PlayStation conforms to customer behaviors, not the other way around.

And just to add a cheeky finisher to the subject, Sony released this video later that night;