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. I can’t see this happening, bad times if it does.

  2. Why don’t they make the PS3 more secure!?
    Why don’t they ban PSN users who play pirate games?!
    Why don’t we go and break the fingers on the hands of the hackers?!

    Everything gets hacked – deal with it Sony – NOW!!!

  3. well if true, dont blame Sony blame Geohotz and his ego.

  4. This could be the end of the days where you take round games to mates houses, and could well be the end of the PS3 tbh. I can’t see sales doing well if this is true.

  5. I have had a PS1, a PS2 and a PS3 (actually, two of each due to the hardware not being up to scratch) and I would leave Sony in an instant if this happened. I’m sure it’s a hilarious bit of rumour-mongering to be honest.

  6. Liking the look of that Tee…

    Think I may have to invest in one of those bad boys…

  7. Price of games is a factor but hackers like GeoHotz do it for kicks – they aren’t interested in playing games. His game is to see what he can break next.

    There must be a way around this sort of thing.

    I like the linking to limited machines like the iPod. I am not interested in taking games around to mates houses.

    Perhaps if there is a unique code that only allows it to be played on one machine at a time this would work. You could kind of unlink the game if taking it to your mates or selling.

    Ebayers and games traders would have to provide a guarantee that they have unlinked the games before selling.

  8. If Sony have Based their playstation business on keeping piracy to zero then they must be either very clever, with something way smarter than this up their sleeve, or a bit naive. I reckon it could be true, it would be like Steam in the way it copes with game disks with codes. Expensive, but not so bad really!

  9. Lending/borrowing and renting video games are all things I partake in, so this would be a real bummer if true.

  10. Can’t see it. Surely if you buy a game it’s your property to do what you want with (within reason). It’s my game, if I wanna play it round 20 different peoples houses on their ps3s I will, I bought the damn thing! That’s like going in a pub, buying a stella, drinking half then going to give the other half to my mate & the barmaid stopping him from drinking it cos he didn’t buy it….
    or snow White buying a granny’s smith apple & only sharing it with 4 of her dwarf mates & telling grumpy, sneezy & sleepy to do one!

    • I’m not sure how that stands TBH. If Sony think they can take the hackers to court for reverse engineering the PS3 and breaking DMCA then I would imagine they could argue the same thing for software as well, in that you pay for the license, not the actual game.

      This has bad idea written all over it but I think it’s just a rumour. Although Assassins Creed on the PC has shown that some companies don’t care, and if you don’t have a net connection then you cant play.

      • Everything goes too far nowadays. As far as im concerned if I buy something it belongs to me. Even the money in my pocket belongs to the bloody queen! Can I say that without being hanged??? I’m now waiting for steve jobs to walk in the bar & take my iPhone off me cos it’s really his property, & whilst on the subject of apple/s I’ll prob now get some farmer walk up to me & take my pint of strongbow off me too!
        It’s simple, if someone walks in a shop wearing an eye patch with a parrot on their shoulder wanting to buy a ps3 game don’t let em!

    • Except differing from a pint & an apple, software is licensed to you, for you to use as agreed in the licence.

      You own the disc, not the code on the disc

      • Oi clever clogs! You had to ruin my little rant didn’t ya?! What have I done to you??? :)

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