Sony To Introduce Online Serial Code Checks?

A precursor: there’s nothing to suggest this might happen outside of a news story on a Dutch website that surfaced a day or two back.  They’re blasting it as an ‘exclusive’ and the rumour has been bubbling around the web since, so it’s worthy of discussion.

Here’s the rub: according to the report, all future PS3 game disks are to carry a special, unique one-time code and players will need to activate that code into the PlayStation 3 itself, or via a dedicated form on the PlayStation Network.


This, as you’d expect, would lock the game to that console, or to that user.  And, therefore, disable copies of that game from working elsewhere as the PS3 will be doing little checks to ensure that the disk matches the profile, and will (in theory at least) prevent the game from booting.

Of course, this could massively affect the secondhand market, and would perhaps block out legitimate buyers who don’t have access to Sony’s online services.  DRM’s always a bone of contention, but this perhaps is the strictest we’ve ever heard of for a console.

The source suggests that each game (or, rather, each code) can be used up to five times, a little like Apple’s App Store, although it’s worth stressing that this has had no official word from Sony since the news first appeared, so treat everything with a healthy (or not) pinch of salt.

What do you think?



  1. Can’t see it working, doesn’t even come across as feasible.

    • HELLO REAL WORLD CAllING. You ‘Can’t see it working’, all it is is a 1 time use code. it’s easy to impliment, In every game box there is a code, the person that buy’s that game NEW inputs that code, once that code is used it is disabled, then plays his game as much as he wants. if the original buyer then takes his game somewhere to use as part exchange for example and then that place sells it on as pre owned,it gets bought and because the 1st person has already used the code for that copy of the game then he needs a code for the game to work(he’ll probably have to pay for it via PSN or XBL). Why won’t it work, it’s feasible without a doubt and the likes of EA and Activision are looking into ways to make the pre owned market a thing of the past. I can’t see a reason for it not to work because of the online aspect of almost every game that is released now and is a major selling factor that is used in advertising campaigns for those games aswell.

      • Check your attitude son.
        I’m pretty sure the point is that this would be a massive pain in the arse, not to mention prohibitive for people who are not online. This would seriously make me reconsider my console choice.

      • It would mean that if I wanted to take my game and play it in my friend’s ps3, in his house, it would not work. And that seems a shortsighted thing to do.

      • 3shirts…. hahaha! Old enough to call someone “son”. Feel old? Good! :-)

      • It wont work for 1 simple reason, people have a choice.

        the gaming industry is slowly but surely shooting itself in the foot and they can only push people so far before they push back or give up (bassically make a fuss or stop buying)

        The way I see it, Gaming is cheap entertainment for people who (maybe) cant afford to do other exciting things like sky diving ect, so what happens when people can no longer afford or its not financially “worth it”? they move on and find other forms of entertainment.
        and this is why I think the gaming industry will fail, but thats only my opinion based on my situation.

  2. There is one really sensible thing that could come from that – the ability to legally install and play games from the HDD. Though the 5 times thing sort of negates that from happening as you could buy a game, install it and sell it on. The second hand market would go crazy lol

  3. If true, it’s the first nail in the coffin for the PS3. It would be a huge issue. Not being able to take games to a friends house, or even play it on another PS3 in the same house.

    For the strength of gaming and enjoyment of gamers worldwide, I hope this is nothing more than a vicious rumour.

    • Exactly. My mates and I often collaborate on which games to get, so we can play them together at different locations.

    • Seconded, I really hope this doesn’t come to pass.

    • I don’t think I would ever buy a PS3 game again. I’m actually being serious. I’ve already gone that way with games on Steam that have an activation limit. I didn’t buy Spore, Crysis, Crysis Warhead and Anno 1707, all of which I reallly wanted to buy.

      Seriously Sony, try me.

    • this would also stop people from renting games as well,there are too many cons compared to pros,there is no way Sony would shoot themselves in the foot this way,in my opinion it is not gonna happen

  4. It would create massive problems for retail and online game stores…..
    Massive problems being profit…

  5. I think this is all bollocks. How they’d be able to put this into effect without screwing up their userbase, I don’t know.

  6. Stupid if true.

    • It’s a good idea in theory, which will help against piracy, but as nofi says it could cause a lot of problems.

      • Long term it wouldnt help with piracy though, look at games that people pirate for pc, the hackers can implement fake codes and/or work past them with ease,
        so this will only p**s off genuine buyers and stop the second hand market in its tracks (which i think would have legal ramifications anyway (fairtrade wise))

  7. Nope, don’t like this! Hopefully just a rumour…

  8. Doesn’t sound like it will ever really work mainly for two reasons

    1) What if your playing offline or don’t have cces to an internet connection

    2) It would kill the second hand market, a lot of people rely o being able to trade in thier once there done with it to buy another

  9. If one console on the market has restrictive DRM I have to say the future doesn’t look bright

    The only way this would even have a slight chance of being popular would be if the games were reduced in price to be the same as PC games, so starting out at £29.99 before dropping like a stone to next to nothing at the earliest opportunity.

    Wonder if there al ulterior motive to Sony bringing Steamworks to the PS3 over & above the availability of Portal2, or is that too much of a conspiracy theory?

    Another thing, PS3’s aren’t sold with compulsory online access and last I heard only upto 70% of PS3 consoles had been connected, where does this leave the other 30% of the ~40m customers, not even sony would piss off 13m customers – would they?

    • don’t say such things, Deadwelsh might here you!!!

  10. Don’t think this will happen. What would happen to the likes of LoveFilm and other game rental services?

    • well lovefilm don’t just do games, the clue is in the name ;)

      • What, they film love?

      • He did say “and other game rental services”. There are many companies that are dedicated game rentals. This would take a chunk of customers away from them and, if the other consoles followed suit, shut them down altogether.

    • these services aren’t making people buy games so why would it mater to Sony MS NIN.

Comments are now closed for this post.