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Did Sony confirm DRM on PS4 after all? Not quite!

1:53 PM on 06.11.2013 // Jim Sterling

PS4 retains all the policies PS3 had, basically

[Update: Sony has outright confirmed my initial interpretation. As reported by GameFront, Sony has stated that Tretton's use of the term "DRM" referred only to playing used games online. Essentially, they're talking about letting publishers use online passes, and no other kind of restrictions.

This also sounds like Sony is scrapping its own online passes, which makes sense if PS Plus is the new online standard.]

It sounds like the perfect story. One night, Sony soaks in rapturous applause from the audience after coming out strong in favor of the customer, demolishing Microsoft's Xbox One policies. The next morning, in the cold light of day, it's exposed as a liar. 

If only that were true. 

Stories are circulating about an interview Jack Tretton did today with GameTrailers, in which he allegedly confirmed DRM would be allowed on the PlayStation 4 after all. Most outlets are running with the story of Tretton confirming DRM is "up to third parties," bringing the PS4 more in line with the Xbox One than we thought. However, what Tretton said really didn't deviate from Sony's existing policies.

Basically ... no need to panic yet. 

"The DRM decision is going to have to be answered by the third parties, it's not something we're going to control, or dictate, or mandate, or implement," said Tretton, essentially describing the system already in place for the PlayStation 3. 

Right now, on the PS3, publishers can choose to input online passes, or could theoretically toss in multiplayer features that require legitimate copies to work. Publishers can also choose whether or not to region-lock their discs -- most choose not to. Tretton is basically confirming all of that is still possible. 

The major difference between PS4 and Xbox One, of course, is that Sony hasn't made it easier for corporations to control the behavior of their customers, because the PS4 doesn't tie your copies to your accounts, or initiate checks to scrub traded game data off your system. Basically, Microsoft designed the Xbox One to make it as easy as flipping a switch to eradicate any possibility of sharing your games, while Sony is maintaining its policy of this current generation. 

While some outlets are already claiming Sony's gone back on its word, I'm yet to see that. All I see is Sony keeping things how they were, and making it easier for us to identify which individual publishers are going to be total dicks about this. Sony, apparently, won't be one of them -- first party games are said to not use DRM, full stop. 

Now, it's possible that Tretton could, in a day or so, tell us all that PS4 is laden with SecuROM and games will burn into dust upon being taken into a GameStop. Until then, though, I don't think this situation is what people are making it out to be.

Jim Sterling, Former Reviews Editor
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Destructoid reviews editor, responsible for running and maintaining the cutting edge videogame critique that people ignore because all they want to see are the scores at the end. Also a regular f... more   |   staff directory

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