In an interview with AllThingsD, Jack Tretton outlined his belief that the Playstation 4 would show the world that console gaming isn’t going anywhere.
“The one thing I think our announcement did was quell any notion that the console was on its way out, which is what people who aren’t really into gaming think is happening.” Tretton is incredibly calm in discussing this, and all in all it’s hard to blame him for that. Sony took to the stage yesterday in open opposition to many of Microsoft’s policies for gaming on the Xbox One. In the span of five minutes Tretton singlehandedly shut down nearly every worry we had over whether or not Sony would follow Microsoft with severe used and second-hand game restrictions.
They fell like dominoes, one after the other. No DRM. No online requirement. You can resell and buy used games. You can trade games with your friends. $399 US. All that allowed Tretton the confidence to say that the console market isn’t dying out.
And of course he’s going to say that – who would undermine their own console like that? But it’s hard to deny that Sony’s presser yesterday breathed a bit of life back into the console market for people who had grown more than a little fearful of the gaming future Microsoft’s Xbox One had started to present to us. Even if the announcement largely addressed issues that basically amounted to ‘we aren’t changing these things from the Playstation 3′, sometimes no change is better than change.
Tretton also used the opportunity to quell any confusion over the Playstation’ 4’s DRM policy that has arisen since yesterday’s announcement saw the Sony audience cheering with genuine delight. During the conference we heard that there would be no restrictions at all regarding used and second-hand games. Talking with Geoff Keighly, Tretton made it sound as if only first party titles would be free of DRM restrictions, that the decision to include DRM for third party games was up to the publishers themselves. He’s since cleared it up, and it’s sort of true, but not in the extreme way we might have feared.
“The easiest way to explain it is — if you understand how it works on PlayStation 3, then that’s the same way it will work on PlayStation 4,” he said. Third party publishers will be able to charge you for the use of the online components of second hand and used games – but only if they want to. It’s not much different from what we have now. Borrow Assassin’s Creed III off a mate? Sure, but you’ll have to pay for a Uplay passport if you want to play online.
So there you have it. It’s really not anything particularly new but, again, when you compare it to Microsoft’s policies (which I’ve heard some people go so far as to define as draconian), in this instance, it’s a bit of a relief to see things stay the same as they were before. Or, at least, incredibly similar.