Sony Attacks PSP Pirates, Hurts Used Game Owners

By  |  Thursday, February 18, 2010 at 4:25 pm

Sony’s PSP has a piracy problem. The company has complained about it, game developers fret over it and the download-only PSP Go exists partly because of it. But Sony’s newest scheme to prevent PSP piracy takes things too far, punishing players who’ve done nothing wrong.

IGN reports that SOCOM: U.S. Navy SEALs Fireteam Bravo 3, out this week, won’t play online without a voucher code that’s included with the game. If you buy the game used, you’ll need another voucher, which costs $20 on its own. I also wonder whether people whose PSPs are lost or stolen will have to pay another $20 to restore SOCOM’s online play.

The game costs $40 new, so until the used version costs half that, you won’t save any money on a used copy if you intend to play online. GameStop currently lists used copies of SOCOM 3 at $33, so it doesn’t seem that the extra expense for multiplayer is driving down used prices.

What Sony is doing isn’t novel. Electronic Arts chief executive John Riccitiello is fond of saying he views illegal downloads as potential sales, in that people may decide they like the game enough to purchase some downloadable content. Sony’s approach is more sinister, effectively withholding a portion of the game from people who are technically paying for the whole thing.

I’m no pirate, which is why it pains me to see legitimate buyers become collateral damage in the piracy war. Sony’s director of hardware marketing, John Koller, won’t say whether the company will use this anti-piracy tactic in other games. It’s a trial run, he told IGN. Hopefully, the experiment is short-lived.

 
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5 Comments For This Post

  1. Bouke Timbermont Says:

    |The way I see it, DRM ONLY hurts honest customers: take Assassins Creed 2 for example: The SINGLE PLAYER game requires a non-stop internet connection! If your connection is out for some time (and we all know this happens from time to time, whether your Wifi signal is weak or your ISP has a problem) the game pause and you can choose to wait till the connection re-establishes or quit.
    This will ONLY hurt honest customers, since pirates will just release a cracked version.

    Same happened with Spore, Bioshock and many others: paying customers were being ripped of by being able to only install the game a few times (so no PC switching for them!) while pirates had no trouble at all playing it.

    The fact these kind of customer-scr*wing things now start happening in the console market too is NOT a good sign.

  2. Bouke Timbermont Says:

    Just FYI: link to a Toms Hardware article about the Assassins Creed 2 DRM:
    http://www.tomshardware.com/news/assassin-s-creed-DRM-ubisoft-piracy,9699.html#xtor=RSS-181\this is really getting out of hand!

  3. Jared Newman Says:

    @Bouke

    Yup, we covered that here, too:

    http://technologizer.com/2010/01/27/ubisoft-to-pc-gamers-you-must-play-online/

  4. That Free TV Site Says:

    They are only shooting themselves in the foot here i believe. I know i wont pay extra if i lose my psp. Hand-helds suck anyways

  5. Today's Top Products Says:

    Hey, this is a really great article…. Good work.

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