GameStop is safe (for now): PlayStation 4 won't block used games

Feb. 21, 2013 | by James Bickers

The multi-billion-dollar video game industry is currently between generations — that is, most of the major hardware manufacturers haven't put out a new machine in several years and it's time for some upgrades. Nintendo recently unveiled its next-gen Wii U, but gamers and retailers alike have been waiting for news from both Microsoft and Sony about when their new consoles would hit the shelves.

All eyes were on Sony last night as the company unveiled details on its next big launch, the PlayStation 4. And GameStop investors and employees were no doubt waiting to hear whether recent rumors were true that the machine would block the use of used games by forever tying software to the hardware that first used it — something that would obviously decimate the GameStop business model, which sees nearly half of its profits coming from used games.

Those folks can exhale now, because Sony Worldwide Studios boss Shuhei Yoshid told Eurogamer today that used games will work just fine on the new system:

"Yes. That's the general expectation by consumers," said Yoshida. "They purchase physical form, they want to use it everywhere, right? So that's my expectation."

So if someone buys a PlayStation 4 game, I asked, you're not going to stop them reselling it?

"Aaaah," was Yoshida's initial answer, but seemingly only because he'd forgotten his line. "So what was our official answer to our internal question?" he asked his Japanese PR advisor. The advisor stepped in but didn't seem to answer clearly, at least to my ears. Yoshida then took control again firmly:

"So, used games can play on PS4. How is that?"

I said I thought that was fine.

The rumors seemed likely, given that Sony recently patented a process that ties a game disc to a specific unit. No word yet on whether the successor to Microsoft's Xbox 360, code-named Durango, will support used games.

Topics: Customer Experience , Specialty Stores

James Bickers / James Bickers is the senior editor of Retail Customer Experience, and also manages webinars for Networld Media Group. He has more than 20 years experience as a journalist and innovative content strategist, with publication credits in national, international and regional publications.
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