The Sony PlayStation Portable (PSP) has been plagued by piracy since the beginning, and Sony has been unable to do much about it.
However, the most recent anti-piracy attempt is now being criticized by gamers and bloggers who think it crosses the line. In the SOCOM: U.S. Navy SEALs Fireteam Bravo 3 video game, available this week, the retail package contains a PlayStation Network game voucher that stops the game from being played online if not verified.
If the game is purchased used, the new owner can purchase a new voucher code for $20 (half the price of the MSRP of the game, $40).
Game publishers have had a difficult time stifling game piracy, despite testing out many different methods. This is described as a “trial run,” but it could be expanded to other game titles.
Sega tried the same thing with its Little Wing license requirement for all Phantasy Star Portable 2 owners — and said it is willing to use the anti-piracy measures again in the future.
Electronic Arts executives and other companies also have the mentality that all illegal downloads are lost sales, which has been an approach that hasn’t worked. Most gamers understand the need for anti-piracy measures, but become frustrated when the anti-piracy measures interfere with game play.
This is currently a Sony test, but it could be expanded to other future PSP game titles. I’m interested to see if this new method helps prevent video game piracy — and what public feedback will be among gamers.