SOCOM PSP to require PSN authentication for online play

In a move to fight piracy, and seemingly in an attempt to cultivate a culture of people who desire to buy their SCEA games new, Sony is bundling a PSN registration voucher for all UMD-based copies of SOCOM: Fireteam Bravo 3.

This afternoon, IGN is reported that this voucher  must be redeemed through PSN if players want to take the fight online in the competitive and cooperative components. Users who download the game via PSN will skip the process, as it happens in the background. On the flipside, people who buy a UMD copy without the voucher will have to front 20 bucks to the publisher in order to get in the online mix.

In a recent interview launching alongside this news, director of hardware and marketing at SCEA, John Koller, shed some light on the decision.

“Today’s consumers are more tech savvy and better connected to the internet than ever before,” Koller told IGN. “Piracy continues to be an issue of concern for the PSP platform. SOCOM: U.S. Navy SEALs Fireteam Bravo 3 is a trial run for a new initiative we are exploring for the platform. We will continue to explore this as an opportunity for the platform going forward, but we have no announcements to make on future iterations at this time.”

EA has been making waves with this registration technique, but it appears as if EA is focusing much more on keeping new games off “used” shelves as opposed to curbing piracy —  something of a bugbear for SCEA in regards to the PSP since the handheld launched.

Dragon Age: Origins launched with an EA Portal that verifies downloadable content. Mass Effect 2 launched with a full-fledged delivery service, Cerberus Network, something closer to what SCEA is doing with SOCOM. People who buy either games “used” will have to shell out additional cash if they plan to enjoy what online offers. For Mass Effect 2, though, it’s access to downloadable content.

As odd as it is, don’t let copy protection ruin your idea of the latest SOCOM on the PSP. It’s a great game. The fluid shooting makes up for the one-nub handicap of the handheld, while the AI and the diverse environments keeps the experience interesting — and that’s not to mention the robust MP components, which is exactly what SCEA is locking out if you steal the game.

SOCOM fights piracy on the PSP [IGN]

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