The PlayStation 4 won't have any DRM restrictions for Sony's first-party games, but third-party publishers will dictate their own DRM policies when releasing games on the platform, Sony America CEO Jack Tretton just said on GameTrailers.
"Well, I mean, we create the platform, we've certainly stated that our first-party games are not going to be doing that, but we welcome publishers and their business models to our platform," Tretton said. "There's gonna be free-to-play, there's gonna be every potential business model on there, and again, that's up to their relationship with the consumer, what do they think is going to put them in the best fit. We're not going to dictate that, we're gonna give them a platform to publish on.
"The DRM decision is going to have to be answered by the third parties, it's not something we're going to control, or dictate, or mandate, or implement," Tretton added.
This policy sounds similar to what exists on PlayStation 3 today — for example, EA notably implemented an Online Pass system as a method for limiting online access to secondhand purchasers. Publishers also have similar freedom on PCs, where consumers can choose to support games whose DRM policies they find appropriate.
Tretton received a standing ovation at yesterday's Sony E3 press conference after announcing that gamers would be able to share their games as they wished without worrying about licenses or 24-hour checks — policies adopted by the Xbox One that have proven fairly unpopular for Microsoft's platform. Today's comments seem to walk that announcement back somewhat, giving third-party publishers leverage to use their own copy protections on the platform; though the PS4 still won't have platform-wide restrictions like the aforementioned daily online checks.
We've reached out to Sony to clarify exactly what kinds of policies publishers will be able to implement on the PS4.
Update: Sony responded to our query, reiterating that all disc-based games will be able to be traded and resold at the owner's discretion, regardless of whether it's first or third party.
"Similar to PS3, we will not dictate the online used game strategy (the ability to play used games online) of its publishing partners," a Sony representative told Polygon. "As announced last night, PS4 will not have any gating restrictions for used disc-based games. When a gamer buys a PS4 disc they have right to use that copy of the game, so they can trade-in the game at retail, sell it to another person, lend it to a friend, or keep it forever."
The Sony representative also confirmed that the Online Pass program used in some Sony first-party games on PS3 would not be used at all for its titles on PS4.