Since the PlayStation 3 launched, console owners were allowed to download and install their PlayStation Network (PSN) games on up to five consoles. Now Sony has decided to reduce the number of consoles from five down to two, effective November 18, 2011.
The decision to limit the number of consoles PSN games can be downloaded and installed to from five to two is likely in response to people taking advantage of this system to share games with friends and family. A group of people who trusted one another could get together and register their PSN accounts on each others systems. Then, the group could share games that only one person purchased by taking advantage of the former five console download feature.
The new limitation will take effect on November 18 and it will include the PS3, the PSP, and the PS Vita when it launches. That means a PSP game can only be installed on two PSPs, a Vita game on two Vitas, and a PS3 game on up to two PS3s. Customers will be able to deactivate consoles via Sony customer service on the web.
Sony is claiming they are changing this restriction to “protect the rights of content providers.” As is to be expected, console owners are already expressing their displeasure in the new measure, accusing the company of instituting unfair DRM. Some people are also concerned about what would happen if they had multiple lost or broken devices and if this would impact their ability to access previously purchased content in the future.
On one hand, being upset about unfair DRM seems a bit silly in this case. Sony is willing to let you install the content you purchase on up to two systems simultaneously, which is something Microsoft doesn’t really allow with the Xbox 360. That system requires your profile be transfered to the second device, and that the device be connected to the internet to verify the license before playing. That effectively means you can’t play an XBLA game on two Xbox 360s in one house at the same time. Nintendo actually binds purchased content to the console itself and doesn’t even provide a way to move games from one Wii to another without sending the system in to them.
On the other hand, I can understand being upset about having limited control over content you have purchased. Game sharing on the PSN is kind of equivalent to lending a game out to a friend which is something that has been going on for as long as cartridges have existed. The flip side to that argument is both you and your friend couldn’t be playing the game at the same time which you can do on PS3 currently.
We’ll have to see how issues like broken or stolen consoles work out under this new restriction. I personally own two PS3s (don’t ask) so it’s nice that I can at least have my games installed to both locations at the same time still. I never went anywhere near the five console limit before. How do you feel about having the number of consoles you can download/install content to limited by Sony?