Following Sony’s action of securing a patent for technology which would prevent the use of second hand games on future consoles, a great number of questions have been asked about their intentions.
The second hand game market is a direct hindrance for game developers, who take no share of the profits from their sales. The argument is that this discourages the larger developers, who spend millions of dollars on creating the biggest blockbuster titles, because such lost funds deduct from their profits.
In response to this, critics have pointed to how second hand markets are present across almost every market in any economy. Second hand DVDs, cars or clothes do not discourage the development of said items, and although potential money is lost to developers it is questionable how much right they have to justify market controls through their own sales. Second hand game sales are hardly comparable to music piracy in terms of money lost.
Sony’s official take on the matter has yet to be confirmed. Shuhei Yoshida, the President of Sony’s Worldwide Studios, stated that “When you purchase the disc-based games for the PS4, that should work on any hardware.” This reveals nothing, despite the presumptions of several gamers, on the intentions for games ‘purchased’ in different contexts. Fergal Gara of Sony UK insisted in an interview with NowGamer that it was a ‘matter of course’ to file such patents for a ‘technology business’ like Sony. With luck, the question will actually be answered definitively before the gamers who pre-order the Playstation 4 find they cannot share their new games with their friends.
Gamers remain anxious about just what will go into each PS4 console. Much was promised on the 20th February, but will the ‘future of gaming’ mean greater restrictions as well as fancier graphics?