A liberal attitude to used games and now no region-locking: the PlayStation 4 is shaping up to be the console of choice for the freedom-obsessed gamer. The PS4 won’t come with any regional locking, Sony’s Brad Douglas confirmed at E3, meaning greater flexibility in where you buy your games.
It’s perhaps not surprising that Sony took the unlocked approach. The PS3 was not region-locked, and though publishers were able to optionally add regional limits to their games, only one actually chose to do so.
The Xbox One also leaves regional-locking up to developers, though there’s uncertainty around how likely it is to be implemented. Nonetheless, the Xbox One is beginning to look considerably more draconian in its policies than the PS4, after Microsoft and Sony’s press conferences on the first day of E3.
Where Microsoft will demand a web connection every 24 hours in order to validate games, Sony has confirmed it will have no such restrictions on disc-based titles. Similarly, loaning disc-based PS4 games will be a case of simply handing them over, Sony has said, rather than the Xbox One’s complex, DRM-encrusted system.
Given the concerns around this generation of consoles and the limits manufacturers and publishers might place on games, Sony’s approach is a welcome one. Whether it’s enough to make the PS4 the winner of this particular round of hardware remains to be seen, however.