Jack Tretton Says Third Parties Can Dictate Their Own DRM Policies On PS4 [Updated]

UPDATE: Thankfully we have a few new sources which have clarified the original statement outlined in the post below, that 3rd parties could use any DRM they fancied on the PlayStation 4.

Polygon were able to quickly lay our worries to rest, and that we’d be going no further than the current status quo on PS3, with online passes. Sony’s PR clarified with this statement:

“Similar to PS3, we will not dictate the online used game strategy (the ability to play used games online) of its publishing partners. As announced last night, PS4 will not have any gating restrictions for used disc-based games. When a gamer buys a PS4 disc they have right to use that copy of the game, so they can trade-in the game at retail, sell it to another person, lend it to a friend, or keep it forever.”

Sony will not use online passes with their PlayStation 4 titles, which was the core of what Jack Tretton was trying to say.

Further to this, Gamasutra spoke to Scott Rohde, software product development head at Sony Worldwide Studios America, who went a step further and indicated that Sony will be pushing third parties, but not necessarily forcing them to drop their own online pass strategies.

“We’ve already come right out and said we’re not going to allow online pass. And the word “allow” is key there. Specifically with online, with PS+ requiring a charge to play online, we would not want any publisher [to charge.]

“In general, we’re all businesses. Sony or Microsoft is never going to be able to tell EA or Activision exactly what they can do. What we like to say at PlayStation is that we set the precedent.”

It’s certainly worth heading over to Polygon and Gamasutra both, and getting the context for these statements.

What follows is our original post, but rest easy knowing that Sony are pushing in the direction consumers want.

– teflon

Although Sony’s press conference yesterday reinforced the notion that the PlayStation 4’s DRM policies would echo those of the current generation, Jack Tretton has this morning added that if third parties wish to implement their own DRM methods, Sony won’t stand in their way.

“We create the platform,” he said, speaking on GameTrailers, “we’ve certainly stated that our first-party games are not going to be doing that, but we welcome publishers and their business models to our platform.”

“There’s gonna be free-to-play,” Tretton added, “there’s gonna be every potential business model on there, and again, that’s up to their relationship with the consumer, what do they think is going to put them in the best fit.”

“We’re not going to dictate that, we’re gonna give them a platform to publish on.”

Tretton added that they won’t “control, dictate, mandate or implement” DRM, but will simply let those decisions be answered by third parties.

Yesterday Sony said that the PS4 won’t require frequent internet checks (like the Xbox One) and will happily allow gamers to sell and lend their physical games.



  1. Exactly the same as the PS3 then.

    • Why is the news I dont understand? Why? WHY? Why is everyone posting it?

      Someone tell me? Does not compute..

      Things that do not change are not news. Fiona Bruce doesn’t start the 10 o’Clock bulletin with “A tree in sheffield today was exactly the same as it was yesterday. Crowds gathered to admire just how indetical it was to yesterday.”

      My head hurts. Im going home. The same home as i did last night. Someone post that please. It’s news.


      Maybe in need sleep.

      • Tuffcub’s got a point. Lol But then you are keeping us informed which is good. It’s pretty much what I suspected.
        Anyway, about that tree…

      • Where abouts in Sheffield is this tree i may have to go and check it out. ;)

    • Yep, Sony just confirmed this. Here’s the link if you want to update the post Alex: http://www.gamefront.com/sony-third-party-drm-refers-to-playing-used-games-online-only/

  2. Pretty much what I expected.

    • Same here, got to keep third party developers happy.

  3. Be interesting to see if the mechanisms that require you to be online to play digital Tomb Raider… or Bionic Commando come to retail discs then.

    EA’s dropping of passes across the board was potentially for a reason.

    • The ‘must be online’ to play the digital version of Tomb Raider wasn’t true, that particular piece of text was left in the description by mistake.

  4. This makes EA very happy.

    • Yup

      Drop activations of online portions of the game… and launch activations of the whole game

      • Not necessarily…. With Xbox one the whole activation malarkey is handled by Microsofts azure services, and is implemented by Microsoft for the publishers to use…. For PS4 these same publishers will have to handle it all themselves again just for PS4 – I wonder which ones could really be arsed doing that

      • I think EA will. They didn’t drop online passes for the good of the customer. They have a not very well hidden partnership with MS. I’m guessing they were hoping PS4 would go the same route as Xone but as it hasn’t they will still enforce a form of fee.

      • @blarty

        Except for Activision, they all already do – Sony, EA, Ubisoft, Warner Bros etc

    • It puts EA in an interesting position. They’ve been playing the “please like us we’re nice really” card this week. But that’s because all their greed and desire to get their pound of flesh over and over again has been hidden behind the MS cluster-f*ck. Up rocks Sony and says, hey, we want it all DRM free, it’s up to publishers to impose whatever business model they feel fit, and EA suddenly find themselves back to being the bad guys with their on-line passes.

      It’s a stroke of genius from Sony and a move I only dared to dream about. They’ve called EA’s bluff. No bad press for Sony (despite what the X-Box centric US press is attempting to spin here).

  5. That’s fair enough, I enjoy the first party games more than most 3rd party ones anyway :)

  6. This is the same as PS3… as long as it only applies to day 1 DLC and Multiplayer. If the PS4 allows it to be linked to disc or even just to the single player core of games, it’s a point somewhere further – but not the whole way – towards the XB1.

    Most pertinently, it’s not as clear as last night’s big talk and we now have to wait (and trust, to some extent) on what third parties decide to do with what the PS4 allows them. I’m still very optimistic about Sony’s approach but believing that their statements at their stage show last night would apply to anyone but their own publishing wing is naive or blinkered.

    Their choice is fairly clear cut – allow 3rd parties to publish what they want, how they want or risk losing them as publishing partners. Nothing should be taken for granted at this point.

    Sony is generally making the right noises but there’s still a way to go before the whole issue is going to be clear…

    • Sony during keynote:
      “PlayStation 4 disc games don’t need to be connected online to be play, or any type of authentication.”

      Sony aftershow:
      “The DRM decision is going to have to be in the hands of the third parties”

      Both statements can’t be true, unless you replace ‘PlayStation 4 disc games…’ with ‘Sony published PlayStation 4 discs’.

      • This could cause a backlash on Sony, if it turns out they lied or misled during their presentation…

      • What can they do though? If a publisher wants to code a game so that it has to check in online to get to the menu that’s entirely up to them.

        This is no different to how it stands currently. During the GT interview though Tretton was talking in a derogatory manner about it, saying this is how we want to treat our customers…publishers are welcome to treat their consumers however they wish to.

        The key problem for publishers though is that it is not system-wide, meaning that if the publisher wants to do anything like this they have to shoe-horn in their own terms of service pre-purchase, unlike the Xbox One where the terms of service are integrated across the system and the player has agreed to this for all games before they’ve even bought it.

      • I agree thereis little Sony can do, I just think the statement was potentially misleading.

        I already own PS3 games that require an Internet connection (admittedly PSN titles), so I guess nothing new…

  7. I don’t want to sound negative, I am really excited for the PS4. But what I think will happen is more and more games will be designed as “online experiences”.
    A number of games have been announced that heavily push towards online play, Destiny, The Division, The Crew, Titanfall and Drive Club to name a few.
    Also, Sony seem to be very keen to encourage “Free to play”
    Obviously, all such games will require an internet connection to play, and I’d be surprised if there isn’t some kind of sign up/authentication process.
    I can see more and more games adopting this kind of model during the next generation, where online is much more of a key roll instead of the traditonal single player game with seperate online modes.
    I hope I am wrong with this, but while the PS4 doesn’t require an internet connection or authentication, the games themselves may well end up requiring them.

  8. Good thing EA doesn’t have too many games that interest me. Maybe Mirror’s Edge 2 but are we even sure it is not an Xbox One exclusive?
    Hopefully publishers follow Sony’s lead. If the Xbox One bombs as hard as I expect it to (anti consumer, 499€, no real TV features outside of the USA, Kinect requirement) publishers might want to rethink their strategy. Maybe it’s not a good idea to piss off their customers.

  9. This is exactly how it should be though…. Sony will not be a middleman to licensing practice. This is no change fro what is happening on PS3 as Tretton himself said last night, if a publisher decides to put online passes or sales restrictions on their games then they are quite within their rights to do so and the infrastructure, consequences and consumer backlash are the publishers to deal with. Sony has said, rightly so, that it will not be part of a management system on its platform for third party game licensing regulation.

    Sony didnt lie, as far as they’re concerned the system won’t block used game discs, will not detect used game discs etc…. What individual publishers do though is up to them, as much as Sony can’t dictate to its customers what licensing terms should be deemed as acceptable or valid on its platform, likewise it cannot dictate to publishers.

  10. So basically not much different from PS3 then. Although I can practically guarantee that EA will have something up their sleeves after dropping online passes as they’re money grabbing bastards.

    • EA will either bring back online passes for PS4 or they’ll stop being multiplatform. I’ve said this a couple of times now that if third party publishers come together they could destroy PS4 by being exclusive to xbox one. They will probably get the install base over a couple of years and the drm they want.

      • only if people let them.

        if gamers stood together to stand up for what’s best for them instead of blindly going along with the publishers because they tell us they’re in charge, then there’s nothing the publishers could do.

        far too many gamers think they’re beholden to the publishers, but it’s the other way round.
        i’ve been saying for years, we don’t have to accept their decisions, that we have the power in this dynamic.

        too many people say, “there’s nothing i can do”.

        but there is.
        the first thing is to realise how important they are.
        not only as part of a group, but also individually.
        just remember who controls what you buy.

        every group is made up of many individuals, if they all realised their own power, just think what they could do.

        the publishers couldn’t push us around then could they?

        just imagine a games industry where the game buying public is considered to be the most important part of the business.

        those who say it already is, uh, no, at least not by the publishers anyway.
        some developers, maybe, but not the publishers, they’ve shown we come in a long way behind their profit margin and their managers bonuses.

      • Well said Hazelam. I couldn’t have put it better myself. ;)

      • I hope so. I believe I’ve stood up to online passes by never buying them and I reckon Sony realise their existence only diminishes a multiplayer online portion of a game to be less populated in my opinion.

Comments are now closed for this post.