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PlayStation (Games) Sony Games

Final Fight Brings Restrictive DRM To the PS3 240

Channard writes "As reported by Joystiq, the PS3/PlayStation Network version of Final Fight Double Impact features a rather restrictive piece of digital rights management. In order to launch the game, you have to be logged into the PlayStation Network and if you're not, the game refuses to launch. This could be written off as a bug of some kind except for the fact that the error message that crops up tells you to sign in, suggesting Sony/Capcom intentionally included this 'feature.' Granted, you do have to log into the PlayStation Network to buy the title but as one commentator pointed out, logging in once does not mean you'll be logged in all the time. Curiously, the 360 version has no such restrictions, so you can play the game whether you're online or offline. But annoying as this feature may be, there may be method in Sony's madness. "
Channard continues, "The key difference between buying titles on the 360's Marketplace and Sony's PlayStation Store is that buying a title from the Marketplace only usually entitles you to play that title on a single console. A PlayStation Network account, on the other hand, can be used to license up to five consoles, meaning any title purchased from that account can be played on five different consoles. And these consoles can be de-authorized and re-authorized at will, allowing gamers to switch licenses around. This has led to a practice known as PSN game sharing, whereby gamers can purchase a title together, thereby paying a fifth of the cost of the game, and still allowing anyone to play the game on their console. Whether this has had any direct impact upon Sony or Capcom's apparent decision to implement this forced sign-in system is unknown. [Though an email from a Capcom employee seems to confirm this.] But Final Fight is the first title to feature this system — it'd be interesting to know whether this was done at Sony or Capcom's request."
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Final Fight Brings Restrictive DRM To the PS3

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  • by assemblerex ( 1275164 ) * on Friday April 23, 2010 @03:40AM (#31952042)
    simple as that. Only by refusing to buy DRM laden product will we win.
  • by lowlymarine ( 1172723 ) on Friday April 23, 2010 @03:49AM (#31952090)
    In a perfect society, yes. But these idiots will see low sales and say "SEE? PIRATE'S SAPPIN MAH SALES!" And then they'll use that to justify even more restrictive DRM in future launches.
  • Re:Alternatives? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by leuk_he ( 194174 ) on Friday April 23, 2010 @03:52AM (#31952112) Homepage Journal

    Worse: if they decide this the resell value of your ps3 will decrease.

    Let me give sony an other idea: only allow blue rays disk to play if a title has a release in blueray and dvd.
    -Blueray give better screen qulaity.
    -They can sell the titles all over again.
    -DVD "security" is broken. it is not an effective DRM.

  • by Taco Cowboy ( 5327 ) on Friday April 23, 2010 @04:00AM (#31952180) Journal

    In a perfect society, yes. But these idiots will see low sales and say "SEE? PIRATE'S SAPPIN MAH SALES!" And then they'll use that to justify even more restrictive DRM in future launches.

    So ... in a totally imperfect society, that game with an even more restrictive DRM will see its sale tanked even more, and they will yell "SEE? EVEN MORE PIRATES'S SAPPIN MAH SALES!" ... rinse ... repeat ... until there is a game no one would buy.

    And the company kaput. Killed by "phantom pirates".

  • by zebslash ( 1107957 ) on Friday April 23, 2010 @04:14AM (#31952248)

    Well, that did work for MP3, didn't it ? After some time, consumers made interoperability between mp3 players prevail and vendors finally sold DRM-free mp3 music.

  • by syousef ( 465911 ) on Friday April 23, 2010 @04:14AM (#31952256) Journal

    These companies need to get it through their rotten skulls that we aren't all always connected to the Internet. Many, many people go through periods where they don't have a net connection at all. All these greedy fools are doing is shooting themselves in the foot by reducing their customer base. A customer only has to buy a small number of titles that don't work for them, for whatever reason, to conclude that all the games are junk and that they're better off to pirate or go without.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 23, 2010 @04:46AM (#31952434)

    Likely not easily. I bet a whole ton more people are working on figuring out how to crack PS3 Store games now that they did this though. Funny how that works...

  • Thank you Sony (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Aceticon ( 140883 ) on Friday April 23, 2010 @04:49AM (#31952458)

    You keep reafirming my 10 year old commitment to never buy a Sony product again.

  • Re:Thank you Sony (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 23, 2010 @05:04AM (#31952514)

    It appears that being "idealistic dumbasses" that value freedom over everything else is pragmatically the best choice in the long run.

  • by RogueyWon ( 735973 ) on Friday April 23, 2010 @05:06AM (#31952516) Journal

    I wish I had mod points right now, because this is an excellent summary of the current state of play. To my mind, the Nintendo model is the worst/least ethical, due to the require to repurchase content if your console dies (and this does happen - I've had a Wii die on me). However, Sony do now seem to be engaged in a race to the bottom. It's ironic, given MS's usual reputation and the controversy that surrounded the launch of Steam, that these two systems are actually the least offensive of the current DRM systems for the end-user.

    Now if only Valve would finally put their foot down and ban 3rd party DRM from their network, mainstream PC gaming could be in for a serious resurgence.

  • by neumayr ( 819083 ) on Friday April 23, 2010 @05:09AM (#31952540)
    You think they haven't thought of that?
    They only have statistics to go on, like what percentage of the population would buy games at all, what percentage has broadband access, how many of those can or would buy their games, and of those, how many are broadband subscribers.
    Following those stats, it's not hard to see how they would think a large enough amount of their potential customers has net access, especially in this case - it's a download title after all.
    Why anyone would buy any of those in the first place is beyond me...
  • Re:Alternatives? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Captain Hook ( 923766 ) on Friday April 23, 2010 @05:36AM (#31952674)
    What he's saying is; if there is a choice between DVD and Blu-ray for a particular Title, set the PS3 to only play the Blu-Ray version - because the profit margins on Blu-Ray are higher and so are more valuable to a media company like Sony.
  • Oh hey! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by L4t3r4lu5 ( 1216702 ) on Friday April 23, 2010 @06:13AM (#31952844)
    Look! It's a game which requires that you are logged in to PSN to play it, which will require you upgrade your firmware to the latest version which disables the "Other OS" feature!

  • by delinear ( 991444 ) on Friday April 23, 2010 @06:16AM (#31952858)

    Oh, find the DRM restrictive? Don't buy it. Problem solved. I fail to see why that's worth an article

    It's worth the article because I'm pretty sure Sony won't be trumpeting this new "feature" from the rooftops, and if it's not discussed, how will people even know it's happening (until they run up against the restriction, which might not be for a while if they're usually connected). I'm sure you read every last term and condition of every product or service you purchase so that nothing escapes your knowledge, but the average user who has bought games before will just click through the boilerplate (if, indeed, they even include some boilerplate, it doesn't sound like they do from TFA) without realising the terms have changed.

  • by Nadaka ( 224565 ) on Friday April 23, 2010 @08:03AM (#31953340)

    I am pretty sure that there is a huge drive to make is so that it doesn't matter if you have an ATI or NVidia graphics card. I remember the old days where some you needed the exact model of soundblaster and graphics hardware expected by a videogame. Hell, I am very glad that steam and valve titles are on their way to linux at the moment.

  • by Bakkster ( 1529253 ) <Bakkster,man&gmail,com> on Friday April 23, 2010 @08:36AM (#31953604)

    Restrictive, but generally convenient. Even a mildly restrictive DRM is a problem when it noticably causes inconveniences for those using the product legaly. Likewise, the DRM schemes on the consoles are generally less of a hassle than those on the PC, even though they are more restrictive.

    On the 360, your content is licensed to both your gamer tag and the console you download it on. So, anyone can play it on your console, and you can play it on any console you are logged into. The only hassle was when you got the Red Ring and your content was still licensed to the dead console. Now they allow you to transfer your licenses to the new console when it dies. Since it's pretty transparent, it doesn't bother most people who aren't pirates.

    This scheme, on the other hand, is a hassle for many people who did purchase the game legally. Surely you can see the issue. Of course, the blame could partially rest on Sony for letting this loophole be abused for long enough that publishers have to use kludgy DRM to stop it.

  • Re:Alternatives? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Svartalf ( 2997 ) on Friday April 23, 2010 @08:39AM (#31953646) Homepage

    Actually, you've one other option on either...probably the best one overall.

    You can opt out. You're not forced to do anything you didn't sign off on there. If you pay for it, now that the cat's out of the bag it's your own fault, not theirs- and you weren't forced to do anything. If you pirate it, you're giving them ammo to do WORSE things to everyone.

    Isn't it about time people quit doing the "ooh...shiny" or "'s shiny" stuff and stood up to them and let them know that you're not a consumer but a customer and you don't treat customers like this.

  • by mcgrew ( 92797 ) * on Friday April 23, 2010 @08:41AM (#31953682) Homepage Journal

    That's not what happened in the late '80s (or was it early '90s?) when gamers started getting pissed about the DRM at the time, which was nowhere near as restrictive. Back then, piracy was from sneakernet and BBSes and DRM was stuff like extra holes in the floppies, but the industry still cried "pirates are killing out business!"

    Gamers ignored their whining and ignored games with DRM. The DRM went away -- until a new generation of gamers willing to put up with corporate bullshit came along.

    DRM is one reason it's been a long time since I've bought a game. Piracy won't kil your company, but DRM can.

  • Re:Thank you Sony (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Svartalf ( 2997 ) on Friday April 23, 2010 @08:47AM (#31953752) Homepage

    Ah... The big deal there is...if there's nothing you want offered, was there anything really lost by sticking to your principles?

    I'd say entirely too many compromise on their desires and principles too easily these days. It's good to be able bend like a reed or willow in the wind, but if you're too flexible, too often, you get nothing but beat all to hell- just like the rest.

  • by rxan ( 1424721 ) on Friday April 23, 2010 @11:09AM (#31955702)

    Unless you're OK with the DRM scheme. Requiring to have the disc/cartridge in the system while playing the game _IS_ a DRM scheme. Yet you were OK with that with the NES, SNES, Saturn, ..., PC, PS3, XBOX360.

    My point is that people are on a misguided tirade against DRM. When really what they want is to play a game without DRM getting in their way.

    DRM isn't wrong, it's just implemented in a way that hurts consumers most of the time. The sooner that customers realize DRM is OK, and the sooner that publishers realize that DRM can hurt consumers -- that's when we'll meet that nice and comfy middleground.

  • by MobileTatsu-NJG ( 946591 ) on Friday April 23, 2010 @12:05PM (#31956552)

    Requiring to have the disc/cartridge in the system while playing the game _IS_ a DRM scheme.

    You're thinking of just plain old copy protection, and you're still wrong. On almost all the systems you mentioned, the physical media was a technical requirment to play the game, not a matter of company policy. It's not like everybody was sitting around going "why do I have to have a cartridge to play may SNES?"

    My point is that people are on a misguided tirade against DRM. When really what they want is to play a game without DRM getting in their way.

    The only misguided bit I've seen is calling DRM and copy protection the same thing. It's not, but since DRM is being used so much now the difference usually isn't big enough to ause a confusing conversation. (I wouldn't have even brought it up if you hadn't mentioned 20 year old systems. :P)

    Anyway, to get back to what you said, your point is both right and useless. There really is no such thing as DRM that doesn't get in your way for the simple reason that customers have different ideas from the publisher. If it didn't get in the way, there'd be no point to it!

    The sooner that customers realize DRM is OK, and the sooner that publishers realize that DRM can hurt consumers -- that's when we'll meet that nice and comfy middleground.

    Think about why copy protection started turning to DRM in the first place. Your dream will never happen. It's not just because these businesses think all their customers are waiting to turn into thieves, it's because they want to kill the used video game market, too. There is no middle ground. They need to take a deep breath, look around, and calm down. Internet ubiquity has risen in the last 10 years, so has the video game market. Their fears are unjustified.

  • by MobileTatsu-NJG ( 946591 ) on Friday April 23, 2010 @01:22PM (#31957574)

    I'm seeing a lot of semantics in your post and little reason. DRM, copy protection, call it what you like, the purpose is the same.

    No, it's not. In fact, it's at odds with the rest of what you posted. I would encourage you to go look up the difference between DRM and copy protection. It's a fascinating read, though longer than I'm interested in posting here amongst people who'd rather argue than discuss. I'll give you the short version, though: The key difference is that with copy protection you can sell your game to somebody else.

    I have to have my disc in my drive to play a game despite it being installed. The disc doesn't spin except on app start up.

    DRM is what they use so you can do things like download games from Steam. Spore is another example. When you install Spore, you don't need the disc anymore. You also have limits on how many times they're installed, you need their permission to install, and good luck selling it to somebody else.

    So, no, copy protection and DRM are not the same. In fact, you proved it with your own post.

...there can be no public or private virtue unless the foundation of action is the practice of truth. - George Jacob Holyoake