The party is officially over for cost-conscious “game sharers”. Sony has just announced changes to their PlayStation Network usage policies regarding how many unique PS3 consoles can make use of purchased content. Effective November 18th, each individual PSN account may only utilize purchased content on two activated systems, a decrease from the current limit of five systems. The only positive note is that purchases made prior to the 18th are not retroactively affected.
Up until now, it had become fairly commonplace for a group of five like-minded gamers to share one account and split the costs of downloadable games and add-ons. This announcement doesn’t come as any huge shock to me because the existing policy always seemed surprisingly lenient to begin with. While I’m certainly not a fan of having Digital Rights Management schemes become even more restrictive, the move certainly makes sense from a business perspective.
Sony also announced that they will give PSN account holders the ability to deactivate systems via the web, which will be crucial for anyone who has had a console give out on them in the past or anyone who has previously made a habit of sharing accounts. It’s worth noting, that this feature has existed for some time on Sony’s lesser-known Qriocity website.
I would imagine that Sony hopes that the more restrictive policy will bolster sales numbers, since they’ve essentially put an end to “game sharing”. However, I wouldn’t be surprised if it actually had a slightly negative impact on sales, at least in the short term. If some customers have grown accustomed to only paying one-fifth of the price of downloadable items, they’re likely to simply make fewer purchases when faced with having to now pay full price.
Source: PlayStation Blog