back to article Sony: all new PS3 titles will require PSN Pass for online play

Sony has officially extended its tax on gamers who buy secondhand PlayStation titles, confirming that all future Sony games with network functionality will be mediated through an online pass system. The company told Destructoid that the PSN Pass system will be incorporated into all upcoming Sony Computer Entertainment PS3 …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Second hand sales laws?

    Are there any laws prohibiting tampering with a products' advertised and sold features after the sale? Much like a company cannot advertise a feature its product does not have, does that extend to second hand sales?

    1. Mike Richards Silver badge

      They could probably work it that opening the package constitutes accepting a non-transferable licence between the original purchaser and Sony. The second-hand purchaser will have no such contract and will have to buy a new one.

      But it's one hell of a Sony tax for the privilege of buying one of their 'hmmm this console really isn't anything as good as they promised all those years ago' games. Like a lot of peoples' PS3s, mine has been relegated to the role of an okay Blu-Ray player.

    2. auburnman

      They're not tampering with features of the product sold, they are restricting access to the separate online service to their customers. People who buy second hand are not their customers (unless they buy an online pass.)

      I used to be fine with second hand sales, but the aggressive way high street stores are pushing them nowadays is taking the piss. You can't compete with someone selling your own product at a lower price unless you give the brand new version something unique.

      Sony obviously do have to tread carefully though, with their recent PR fiascos the last thing they need is passes not working or being 40 character alphanumerics that are an arse to type in. But if it's not too much of a hassle for *their* paying customers (well, them and the games developers) I can't see this being an issue. I buy my games new unless I kind of want it but I suspect it's going to be crap (e.g. anything by Treyarch) in which case I pick it up bargain bin some months down the line.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        @ auburnman

        "they are restricting access to the separate online service to their customers."

        You'd have a point if you could seperate out and buy just the on-line or off-line parts of the "service" as you call it.

    3. sisk Silver badge

      I don't think that would apply here. They're letting us know up front that the games in question are going to have this 'online play tax'. If they tried to apply it retroactively to older game they might run afoul of some laws, but I'm not certain of that.

    4. asdf Silver badge

      and the market speaks

      All this crap is why Sony went from dominating console sales to a me too also ran 3rd place in one generation. The PS3 will finish in third place this generation and if Sony doesn't get their crap together they will be the next Sega next generation. And this coming from a PS3 owner.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Trouble ahead

    It's almost like they are asking for trouble. I wonder if this is just a penetration test beta program?

  3. SuperTim

    Hurrah for Sony....

    Give them a big clap and a cheer! We all love them don't we boys and girls.

    I hope that they somehow prevent me from doing anything else I was previously promised when I bought my PS3, because it is all too functional for me, what with me merely being an end user and with no chance of ever being able to get some kind of compensation.

    I was hoping that they would institute some kind of music limiting service that no longer allows you to play your own MP3's, but I may have to wait until the PS4 is out before I am prevented from doing that.

    Has anyone got any spare nails? I need them for the Sony Coffin I am building, and I have got through about 5lbs of them!

  4. <spez>

    same on the xbox

    its exactly the same with the latest game I bought for the xbox, "cough" Space Marine had a unique code in the box, that i used and if anyone wanted to progress in the online mulitplayer would need to fork out $10 if they havent the code.

    and thats on a system where you have to pay!

    1. VaalDonkie

      Noticed the same thing for the first time with Final Fantasy XIII on the XBox too.

      1. CD001

        Damn - that's harsh. Just as I was thinking that one of the few things the PS3 has over the XBoX is that it doesn't require a subscription to play online...

  5. tommy060289

    Its getting to a point where we are not allowed to own anything:(

    Your now buying products where you are not free to do as you like with. You've purchased the product you should be allowed to send it on if you like. IT YOURS. With things like this you can sell it on but its not the product you bought therefore drastically devaluing it to another person.

    Its one of the reasons I still buy Albums on CD and don't download games on demand. Singles and cheap iPhone games are one thing but when your buying full price games and album, why shouldn't you be able to sell them on?

    1. Blank Reg

      You don't own the online service

      They aren't restricting use of the game offline, that would be wrong. But they are restricting access to the online service to those that have paid for it.

      One thing that everyone seems to overlook is that video games are in a unique position. Unlike books, movies etc. there can be an ongoing cost for the company that sells the game due to online play, yet there is no ongoing revenue. The more you play the game online the more it costs them.

      The online pass is a pretty good way to handle this. It would be even better if the games were sold at a discount and the online pass were sold separately. That way those that never want to play online wouldn't have to pay for it.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Its getting to a point where we are not allowed to own anything:(

      you do realize that you can still sale your game 2nd hand? this right have not been taken away from you. The single player campaign is not effected by the online-pass in any way or form. In fact, they are implementing the online-pass _because_ they don't want to stop you from selling your game 2nd hand!

      It is the access to the multi-player part that the online-pass is trying to address. The argument is; people are using the servers even though the developer didn't receive a single cent from them! This, of course, won't be a problem is the 2nd hand market didn't start until 3 months from the release of the game.

      You see, games make most of their money from pre-orders and the first few weeks of release; very few games are exception to this rule. The 2nd hand market became a problem when it started to compete with new games in the 1st few days of the game release! There is no way for a new game to compete against a 2nd hand game since both match each other in every way.... except the price. The solution, online pass to get some money from the _online_ players who didn't buy a new copy.

      to sum it up for you, there is a difference between you not being able to resell the item in your hand and reselling the access right to the server!

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        "The argument is; people are using the servers even though the developer didn't receive a single cent from them!"

        No, they received the money from the original purchaser who NO LONGER HAS ACCESS!!!! Will they refund him the cost of the online access as he is no longer using the service? didn't think so

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The good news of course

    Is that this means the PS3 will continue to get the best games and the best platform exclusives, because the developers actually get revenue for it's product...

    El-Reg, stop with the fanboy baiting.....

  7. Annihilator


    "Other publishers, including EA, THQ, Codemasters and Warner, have also used an online pass system in their games too."

    You're forgetting that Steam extends this abuse of statutory rights too. Girlfriend recently bought Civ 5 (physically, in a shop and everything) and had to activate it on Steam. She was then unable to sell it on eBay when she subsequently discovered it was a shit game.

    I've still not been able to explain to her satisfaction why she can't sell a game that she bought. I understand her confusion.

    And Sony wonder why people are so keen to try and circumvent DRM switches??

    1. CD001

      Selling PC games?

      I'm not saying it's right but you've pretty much not been able to sell PC games back to stores (Gamestop et al) since noCD(DVD) type cracks/rips have been able to port the whole kaboodle onto PC HDDs for years - most games companies have given up on on-the-disk protection on the PC because it doesn't work; they get much more draconian about it (*coughs Ubisoft*)... and as these draconian measures go, Steam is one of the lesser evils.

      She might not be able to sell Civ5 but she might be able to gift it to a Steam friend maybe (in exchange for the first round of drinks up the pub or something)? Assuming, of course, she knows anyone that would like it.

      1. Annihilator


        You can't gift a game to a Steam friend, otherwise this is how she'd have sold it (remember, I said eBay, so she would technically know the buyer and be able to gift it to them).

        The only alternative she had was to hand over her entire Steam account, which she was tempted to do given it's the only game registered.

  8. radical mit2

    so now

    so let me understand, if i and my three kids want to play i need to purchase four copies?!

    wow.... that a bit of a downer

    1. MJI Silver badge

      No it is per PS3 and the account it was set up with

      Just like any other DLC.

      After a YLOD when I had to delete all game data just to transfer accounts and gamesave, I just redownloaded everything off the download list.

      BTW anyone tried reballing RSXs yet?

      1. Annihilator

        Multiple accounts

        The point the OP was making is that you can have multiple accounts on one PS3. I have one, my fiancée has one, each with our own PSN ID. The implication from this story is that only one of us would be able to register the online element of future games.

        1. MJI Silver badge

          Applies to the console

          And also the original account, so quite varied

        2. Blank Reg


          Every account on the PS3 can access the online so this has little impact except that second hand copies of such games should be cheaper.

    2. Chris Harrison

      Surely not

      unless you've got 4 PS3!

      1. MJI Silver badge

        That is a phone call to Sony isn't it?

        I thought it was 6 PS3s

        Oh well - you have 4!!!!

        Might need more than one copy of a game anyway!

  9. Anonymous Coward

    Payment required shock!

    Yes, folks, Sony doesn't want to provide you with a service for no charge! How unreasonable of them.

    I don't understand why so many gamers don't grasp the simple concept that if they buy a game off another gamer the producer of that game doesn't get a penny out of the deal.

    1. Dante

      yup think of the damage caused by second hand books, used cars, second hand furniture, etc.

      1. MJI Silver badge

        Second hand

        Of course a second hand book doesn't require resources from the publisher, second hand car, you still have to buy your spares and servicing parts.

        1. Dante

          Are the game publishers running the game servers?

        2. Da Weezil

          and much less than half of those parts would be manufacturers, so no real comparison there either. My Peugeot has brake-pads from Lucas and a clutch from Borg and Beck, both of whom make the parts for the manufacturers but are sold via factors with a lot less premium than those coming in a box with a logo to match the one on the tailgate.

          The spares and servicing analogy doesn't hold water

    2. ScottAS2

      I'll bite

      I think gamers are perfectly aware of that - they just don't see why the game producer should earn anything from a second-hand sale. If publishers aren't covering the cost of online services with the initial price, more fool them.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "I don't understand why so many people don't grasp the simple concept that if they buy a <*> off another person the producer of that <*> doesn't get a penny out of the deal."

      * - jumper / car / book / film / ...

      Why is it different for games then?

      That is the nature of selling items you own to other people...

    4. Loyal Commenter Silver badge

      Oddly enough

      If I buy a second-hand car, I don't expect the manufacturer of the car to get a cut.

      In this case, I think it is fair that they buyer of the second-hand game should be able to re-register it with their system, depriving the original buyer of the ability to play it online with the same code. Surely, without the physical media, the original purchaser wouldn't be able to do this anyway?

      1. MJI Silver badge

        To Oddly enough

        Cars still require parts Vauxhall still make money off me despite my car being 10 years old.

        Too bad water pumps have gone up through the roof recently in price.

      2. Blank Reg

        Oddly enough that comparison is wrong

        It doesn't cost the car manufacturer anything when you drive your car. But it does cost the game developer something when you play your game online, it's a huge difference.

        1. P. Lee Silver badge

          re: Oddly enough that comparison is wrong

          No it isn't. There is no difference between the new purchaser using resource on the game server and the original purchaser using resources on the game server. There isn't an increase in the number of copies of the game out there.

          The golden rule of PC (Steam) gaming is don't buy new. Also, PC games are cheaper to start with.

          I generally do the video/game comparison. How many hours am I likely to get out of it and how much joy vs renting a video. Also buying games during the steam sales gets you them for pennies.

          I broke my rule for black-ops and regretted it. It's rubbish compared to hl2 which I got for peanuts a few months earlier.

    5. Dazed and Confused Silver badge

      @Robert Long 1

      Of course the producer of the game gets paid. They have the right of first sale. For many gamers they expect to recoup the reasonable trade-in value of their played games to fund the purchase of new ones. If they couldn't sell on the games they've bought and are now bored with, they wouldn't buy so many new games in the first place.

      Stopping this is short term thinking. They will loose new sales are a result and so their over all revenue will go down and not up.

      You don't think their customers are suddenly going to get given more pay/pocket money/birthday presents to compensate. The games market is just as built on trade ins as the car industry, go and stand in any games shop on a Saturday and watch the lines of people coming in with a bag full of old titles and some cash to fund the latest game. Most of those sales will disappear if they can't do it.

      Talking to friends with older kids it seems that as they get older the churn gets faster, the games producers are getting nearly all the trade-in value of selling on old games. Try asking in your local games shop what the difference is between selling them a used game for cash and trading in against a new title and you'll see why very few games aren't traded in for new ones.

      So yes the games producers do get paid.

      Sell on old games is how they do get paid.

    6. Anonymous Coward

      Because all the idiots that dont understand it

      are 12yr old Xbox fanboys. They think everything is free, everyone works for free, everything should be downloaded for free.

      When they grow up and join the working world (which is unlikely in the case of an Xbox owner), they will realize that people need to get paid for their products, and that freeloading thru life is not really an option.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Quick! Push more of our users onto Xbox!

    This won't make much difference to me, I've already stopped buying PS3 games entirely after the security breach. I'm just keeping it as a blueray player atm.

    But in general, expect to see a lot of people switching to Xbox rather than continue putting up with Sony (unless Microsoft starts doing it too, of course)

    1. MJI Silver badge

      Seems they already are

      See above

      Also paying for online on top.

    2. Chris Harrison

      and the downside ...

      is that as a gamer the arms race between Sony/Microsoft/Nintendo is actually a GOOD things. As an XBox owner I want sony to bring it on and force microsoft to bring out the best games they can!

      1. MJI Silver badge

        Chris Harrison

        And it the same way for PS3 owners, we want it pushed, and who are the winners - gamers.

    3. Spikehead

      Seems this process is on xbox too. EA have this in their new titles on both formats.

    4. VaalDonkie

      I mentioned further up that Final Fantasy XIII has the same trickery on XBox.

    5. IPatentedItSoIOwnIt

      Difference is...

      As far I know only 3rd party publishers are charging you the second hand tax on XBox. I don't think Microsoft published games like Gears 3 or Forza 4 are trying to fuck you for every last penny

    6. Daniel B.
      Thumb Down

      Bad substitute

      MS pimps off their users by charging for online play, overcharging for HDDs and locking out third-party HDDs (Sony lets you stick any HDD on your PS3). If you really want to stick it to the man ... switch your PS3 for a PC, not an Xbox.

  11. The Fuzzy Wotnot


    As the players leave in droves it might finally kill off the abomination that is Sony gaming division once and for all!

    1. MJI Silver badge


      Nintendo - no real online

      MS - pay for online, and also the odd online pass

      Only PC left

      Why would this hurt Sony?

  12. P Zero

    That's alright

    I won't buy any new games anyway because I'm not updating my firmware.


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