Andrew House Claims Sony “Had No Intention Of Changing” Their DRM Model For PS4

Sony’s Andrew House, speaking to The Guardian, has claimed that Sony had no intention of adding any kind of restrictive DRM to the PlayStation 4, and always intended to keep it the same as it has been for three generations.

“Dating from about our February event, there had been questions about what our online policy would be,” said House. “And I have to say that we were slightly perplexed, because we had no intention of changing from a model that I think has served us really well for several platform life-cycles.”

“And then, of course, it was really the actions of others, and the reaction coming from consumers, which led to more speculation. So we felt that with E3… it was a really good opportunity to set the record straight. But there weren’t any changes that we’d been considering.”

House adds that there hadn’t been any publishers he was aware of lobbying to get Sony to change the model. “And we didn’t feel any sense that we needed to respond to any external pressure.”

“I think there’s a very careful balance to strike,” he said, speaking about second hand games. “We’re a game publisher ourselves, so there’s a certain argument for us that there should be something of a model for content-creators to participate in second sales.”

“Having said that, however, the consumer sees ownership as a very key benefit when purchasing a physical product. And the flipside of the argument is that retailers will tell you that the vast majority of trade-in value gets immediately repurposed into new purchases of games, and those people in turn generate word of mouth and create more interest.”

Microsoft originally planned to have all kinds of always-on DRM in their Xbox One, but famously reverted back a couple of weeks ago.



  1. Interesting to hear there was no real pressure for them to change the model. I would have at least expected EA to be pushing for more DRM, especially in light of them removing online passes (because they thought Microsoft would do the job for them).

    Glad to hear they didn’t change to compete though and it supports the argument that many of us have always made that trade ins fund new game sales.

  2. I love the transparent, consumer friendly Sony, more & more, with each & every press release.

    • Same here, fella. Talk about going into a new purchase with our eyes wide open (or at least not stuck shut from sleepy-eyes!). :-)

    • Edit… I love the *new Sony, since the first PS4 press conference.

  3. Go Sony, just keep it plain and simple.

  4. Even articles like this are tainted with words like “claimed”

    Sony have never done anything bad by gamers, what makes people think anything would change? PlayStation has always got it 100 percent spot on.

    • That’s not strictly true. They had a silly launch price on the PS3 and that’s something they recognised as prohibitive for the initial uptake. They’ve also been honest about the architecture on the current beastie and that it has hindered games development for 3rd parties. This, in turn, means that we don’t get such a good product.

      For me, it’s the fact that they’re listening and keeping dialogue open. It means that little ol’ me feels looked after which is quite something when you realise the size of an operation like a global release of a gaming console.

      • I agree, I initially had very little interest in the PS4 after the reveal. It has been Sony’s transparent, matter of fact PR since the E3 conference that has me counting down the days to November.

        A company that learns from its mistakes and reacts to feedback from its customer base has a bright future.

    • PSN hack being covered up as maintenance, not forcing trophies to be mandatory, releasing games like Fallout New Vegas- when its obvious they’re broken, removing other OS, charging for online play, online passes- especially online passes; Sony games still have them when EA doesn’t that doesn’t make sense. even their constant down time for maintenance seems to fall into peak usage hours. releasing bad firmware, YLoD, but the biggest thing they do wrong is wait. They never take immediate action or give a firm decision. Look at their PS4 DRM policy, “it won’t change, but we won’t prevent others from changing it”. They try to walk this fine line between business and consumer loyally, like they’re trying to be that cool boss everybody likes but nobody respects. Instead of walking the line they just stand there waiting for one side to present itself as the winner and then like a politician they relseae some statement that says how much they cared.

      • I think while you make a few good points, your harsh on the overall point your making. Every console makes mistakes-it happens. What your expecting is perfection and that is never ever guaranteed. So I think your facts need to be checked again…

      • I’m not saying theres a perfect console, just thay Sony are far from 100%, or never abused their customers- but to be fair no company is 100% perfect. I wasn’t trying to be harsh ( I left that for my comment below) :)

    • “PlayStation has always got it 100 percent spot on.”

      Oh crumbs no. No.

  5. After reading the article over on the Guardian website, I just wanted to paste this here. It sounds so instrumentally important I felt that maybe we should all read it, simply because it’s one of the clearest messages about what’s happened that I’ve read so far.

    “What you saw coming from gamers is not just, in my view, the views of the vocal minority. It became an expression of a little bit of concern bubbling up around the subject of what ownership means in an age of digital content overall. We and other entertainment industry players need to be very conscious of that and very careful. Bringing it back to the fundamentals again, we need to be fair and to think of the consumer experience first.”

    Spot on, Andrew House. Global companies can no longer rely on fragmented feedback and isolated voices shouting to no one. The internet gives us a voice (for better or for worse) and it’s times like this when the momentum was so incredible that Microsoft had to do a U-turn on their initial policies.

    Just read that Andrew House (head of SCE) is Welsh. *sits quietly proud* Yay!

    • “Just read that Andrew House (head of SCE) is Welsh. *sits quietly proud* Yay!”
      Aha, that explains why Wales isn’t a Tier 3 country in regards to the PS4 release dates. ;)

      • No electricity in our caves, let alone broadband for online stalking of female gamers.

  6. I’m calling bullshit. If they never had any interest in DRM they wouldn’t have been so cryptic in february. (plus the DRM rumors started before the february “reveal”) And afterwards when they were complexed about why anybody would think they would change it, maybe because they joined the online pass club, they wait 4 months to give a still somewhat open ended it won’t change answer? yea, right. It had nothing to do with the MS DRM mess at all.

    I just find it too hard to believe that NOBODY, not a single publisher asked for DRM when most support it and use it. The part about using the same model for 3 generations is also bullshit because I don’t remember buying an online pass for used 1st party PS2 games.

    Sony’s real DRM policy is- whatever publishers want. If Sony won’t prevent DRM, they are supporting DRM.
    Actions speak louder than words, if Sony would ban any form of DRM I might believe them when they say stuff like this, but without the actions to protect their “bold” statements these words are meaningless.

    • Just in relation to your first paragraph. Sony had every reason to be cryptic as there hadn’t been an Xbox One reveal and Sony didn’t want to come out of the gates with every ounce of information all in one evening.

    • Theres no advantage to not announcing it if it was never going to change, especially when everybody is asking. They might not have wanted to reveal everything, but if they were perplexed by everyone asking that would imply Sony never thought about keeping it secret because they didn’t consider it important enough. They just assumed that we assumed it wasn’t going to change, even with all the rumours of always on floating around. If it was such an easy answer to give why did it take 4 months to answer. And why is Sony making such a big deal about it, like the E3 instructions on sharing games.
      Its either something they got lucky with and now they’re talking out of their ass saying stuff like this, or they intentionally waited for the reaction to MS to either counter or copy.

      I guess what I’m getting at is if it wasn’t such a big deal for Sony back in february, how come they turning it into such a big deal now, because IMO its sounds like bandwagon propaganda, especially if Sony isn’t going to control 3rd party DRM policies.

      • There’s always the possibility that they left it ambiguous in Feb, knowing MS were going to shoot themselves in the foot and that their release would be fantastic advertising.

        The PS4 DRM rumours doing the rounds were the exact same as the ones I had heard about the PS3 and they turned out to be bullshit.

      • Sad Panda has it covered. If there were a few industry rumblings that MS were forming a noose to hang themselves with then Sony could’ve easily kept things vague for months knowing that Microsoft might not know Sony’s own policy but take their silence as a possible “yes” with regards to its consumer-unfriendly strategy.

      • “And why is Sony making such a big deal about it…”

        Why are you?

        “…like the E3 instructions on sharing games.”

        That was a funny idea that Adam Boyes came up with while they were at E3. He came up with the idea and they had tons of cameras everywhere so they shot it in a couple of takes and released it on their Youtube channel.
        It’s them having fun.

      • I’m making a big deal about it because Sony is full of shit about DRM policies on the PS4..
        Sony has just told people what they want to hear. They tell consumers that its staying the same. They tell publishers they can do what they want. They then defend their decision to allow publishers to do whatever by saying they won’t involve themselves in publishers business models. They then tell us they won’t allow online passes. They give speeches about “ownership” but they won’t take steps to preserve those opinions. They don’t say you only have the right to own Sony games, or 3rd party games can’t be owned, they’re trying to give the impression that they’re making a stand and they’re not. They jump on their soap boxes saying things people want to hear today without any concern for whats going to happen in the future. They jump on the bandwagon by giving people the impression that they care about youre rights, but they aren’t taking any steps to preserve those rights. They say shit like we we’re never going to change it which is complete hearsay, nobody knows what would have happened if people wanted the Ones ideas, but people are eating this shit up like somewhere theres a stone tablet with Sony commandments they read “Thou must not change” – theyre a fucking business they’re going to change whenever it serves them best to change.
        I apologize if this sounds like an attack or trolling, it not intended to be either.
        But it doesn’t matter what Sony says or does if they’re not going to control the 3rd party games too. Look at how much the DRM practices changed on the PS3 lifecycle. It whent from exactly like the PS2 to online passes, unlock codes and always on DRM, because Sony didn’t care to stop it. When EA announced the online pass people were expecting Sony to step in, but instead they joined up. In five years the PS4 will be riddled with various kinds of DRM, from practices used on the PS1 to always on and what ever publishers can think of next. If Sony isn’t going to limit DRM theres nothing stopping the PS4 turning into what MS wanted for the Xbox. And this is exactly what publishers want, to let Sony lull you into a false sense of security and then in a few years when people are too heavily invested they’ll change policies and hit us with DRM because they know most people will just go along with it like they did on the PC or they way people accepted the online passes because of the belief that its just the way its going to be from now on.
        I just don’t want Sony to wine and dine me, I want a commitment. I want it in the Terms of service that I can sell my game disc. After all if they really believed in ownership the licensing agreement with Sony would say what Sony says in these PR statements. But I guarantee you the 1st party Sony games licensing agreement will still prohibit ownership transferring. Read the PS3s Terms of Service, they state they own almost everything on your PS3 harddrive.
        If they really mean what they say they shouldn’t be afraid to put it on paper, but until they do I’m calling bullshit on anything they say about DRM, otherwise as soon as it serves them they change it. Just like telling people that online gaming would always be free, or they won’t remove the other OS or the PSN was undergoing maintenance. Til this day whenever the PSN goes down unexpectedly and you see that “PSN is undergoing maintenance” message people wonder if its been hacked again.
        Sony made alot of mistakes this gen, some mechanical, some were poor business decisions, but the worst IMO was how they handled the fallout of those mistakes and how they treated their customers. So while I don’t expect anyone to, please excuse me if I want more proof of this “New Sony” than some cheap words from someone in a suit.

      • And back to not revealing the policy Sad Panda does have a point. Its the only good reason to keep it vague. But its a gamble and if people were impressed by the Xboxs policy Sony would have to make some adjustments, or at least be prepared to think about changing it. This scenario would also imply that Sony shouldn’t have been perplexed by the amount of people asking as they knew it was going to be a HUGE selling point.

        It incredibly easy to change a policy, MS could of easily turned the tables and announced a more consumer friendly DRM policy, and put Sony in the hot seat. Thats a big gamble to take, Sony would had to change their current policy to counter. So they would of had to been prepared to losen thing up if MS took this route.

        In both scenarios if youre not going to change no matter what, it doesn’t matter what MS does because your 100% positive you won’t change, the best thing you can hope for is to get lucky that MS does what you think they will. And your policy is the one people want. I think either way one company was destined to change a policy, and the winner gets to say “we weren’t going to change” and the loser doesn’t. IMO Sony just didn’t want to reveal its policy until MS revealed theirs not because of they didn’t want MS to copy them but because Sony wanted to gauge public reaction and then hopefully undrcut MS and appear the winner, while MS has to wipe of the egg on their face, because Sony knew DRM was the hot topic. Which would mean they needed to be flexible with their policy and change it if necessary

  7. This gen certainly is showing us a different side to Sony, one that I think we can all agree on when I say it’s a bloody good side.

    The fact that they really are listening to us, the consumer, it can surely mean that we’ll end up with a better console at the end of the day because it has ‘our’ input going into what we do and don’t like.

    For me, anyway, Sony have really nailed it this gen.

  8. I’m not trolling. What drm was on PS1? Unless you mean copyright protection.

    • DRM didn’t really exist back then, as it’s Digital Rights Management, copyright protection was more or less the same thing (didn’t stop that system’s games being heavily pirated though)

      DRM started with audio CD’s if I remember correctly, and a lot of studios had to take the DRM off them as customers could not play them in normal CD players, and the same with MP3’s people wan’t to buy stuff legally, but don’t want to be told what device they have to use it on. They try all this bullshit to “battle piracy” but it doesn’t do anything, as pirates will always find a way around something, all it does is piss off consumers…as, MS have recently found out.

  9. xdarkmagician I’ve never read such utter bullshit.

    their DRM policy hasn’t changed, it’s the same as the PS3, plus, why the hell would they make a big deal about DRM/always online/no used games when MS had not even announced/revealed their system?

    everything at E3 was due to what MS had shown to be true in the past months leading up to E3, plus you bring up the PS3’s original price, but forget that it was mostly down to the fact it had a brand new technology inside (Blu Ray) and their own various techbits (yeah wow them with your technical knowledge) yeah, it was a ridiculous price, but it had so much unnecessary stuff init, 4 USB’s (ok they were actually useful, the multiple card reader, the PS2 emotion chip (actually no, that was good too) Wi-Fi (the 360 didn’t have that…unless you bought the add) and HDMI port, actually when you look back, it’s quite obvious why it was so expensive, I mean look at what people buy today for that price an Ipad or an Iphone or both.

    but anyway, you’re not going to change your opinion, you were obviously one of those “abused customers” (that was probably the funniest/stupidest comments I read) oh and I love the fact that you casually threw in the “charging for online” as a bad point, when MS have been doing it since the actual XBOX 1, not to be confused with the third XBOX, the XBOX ONE ;) not to mention that you get a LOT of stuff in return.

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