E3 2013: DRM-free PS4 is a PR play – expect similar policies across both consoles, say sources

Several development sources have told us that they expect game publishers to implement similar DRM policies across Xbox One and PS4, despite what has unfolded at E3 this week.

Our contacts described Sony’s conference announcements as a PR play, and revealed that its decision to go DRM-free was made at the very last minute.

Each platform holder’s DRM policy has changed continually over the last few months, they said, though Microsoft’s initial stance was much tougher than its position today. This suggests that the platform holder’s decision to let publishers decide for themselves whether to implement DRM on Xbox One was not part of the original plan.

Ultimately, the developers we spoke to understand the need to protect the revenues made on their work, and expect to see broadly similar DRM restrictions across both PS4 and Xbox One – in one instance, it was suggested that these measures were essential for the console business to survive.

We were also told that final publishing agreements will not be drawn up for at least another month, so the terms of engagement could yet change once more before each console launches at the end of the year.

We have contacted Sony for comment.