Sony To Go Back To Serial Codes For PS3 Games?

by Adam Biessener on Jan 21, 2011 at 05:43 AM

A rumor has popped up saying that Sony is scared enough of a recent PS3 security leak that it is planning to require serial code inputs for all future PS3 titles. Apparently it's 1991 again.

The hack in question is the recent publishing of the PS3's root keys, which can be used to get access to the inner workings of the PS3. While undoubtedly a setback in Sony's ongoing struggle against piracy, the PS3 had hardly proven unhackable previous to the root key discovery.

The rumored scheme would require gamers to input a serial number like PC CD-keys of old and verify them with Sony's authentication servers. The codes would allow five activations, sharply limiting each game's resale value.

While Sony certainly has the right to do what it can to limit piracy and protect its intellectual property, saddling legitimate consumers with a pain-in-the-ass code input that also restricts the end-user's ability to give away or resell their games is pretty *** unfriendly to gamers.

Anyone who follows the industry knows of the piracy-related struggles that PC developers have suffered through since the medium's inception. Digital rights management schemes have come and gone, rarely un-cracked for more than a few months at a time, and piracy has continued. Pissing off consumers, on the other hand, has never to my knowledge been a winning business strategy for anyone.

I'm hoping that this rumor ends up being just that. Introducing new annoyances for legitimate consumers without adding any value is not the way to combat piracy – it's a way to drive gamers to other platforms that don't irritate them. And I'm pretty sure there's another console out there directly competing (and clearly outselling) the PlayStation 3 that Sony would be wise not to give away any advantages to.

On second thought, if Sony wants to print code wheels that you have to use to decipher hidden messages in game manuals in order to play the game, I'm cool with that. Those were sweet.

We've reached out to Sony for comment.