Think Twice about Buying a PlayStation: How Getting Hacked Made My PSN Content Useless

James Bruce 29-11-2013

I’m a strong advocate for digital purchases, and I really don’t have objections about DRM: I’m not trying to cheat anyone, and I understand I need to authenticate devices. I’ll even accept “always online” DRM as long as it actually works (I’m talking to you, SimCity SimCity 2013 - The Tale Of a Terrible Launch & a Terrific Game [MUO Gaming] SimCity was one of the first PC games I ever played when it was first released in 1989 - I was just 7 at the time. You'll understand then why this game holds a particularly... Read More ). I think borrowing games is only marginally better than pirating, and I would never buy used games unless they were out of print. It irks me when a digital version of a game can’t be bought cheaper than a physical copy, but I do it anyway because discs can be scratched or stolen. I believe in the digital download revolution: buying a game online is simply more convenient and I know that no matter what happens, I’ll always be able to access the content – or so I thought.


Last week, I got locked out of my PlayStation Network account for 6 months. My year subscription to PlayStation Plus, and the free games contained within 5 Awesome Games That Make PlayStation Plus Worth The Price [MUO Gaming] I recently wrote an article about the biggest rip offs in the history of video games. In it, I was quick to point out that Microsoft charges $60 a year for a service that simply... Read More , is now worthless, as are all the other online purchases in my account.

My story begins sometime around the American launch of the PlayStation 4 Should You Buy A Next Generation Game Console At Launch? Read More . I hadn’t turned my PlayStation on for about a week having been bowled over in work – I needed a break. I’d bought the new Call of Duty, and while it isn’t exactly the best sequel ever, it’s what I turn to for a bit of R&R. Don’t judge me!

Only, it wouldn’t launch. The error message was that the content wasn’t authorized for this device.


I double checked that I was in fact signed in, and followed instructions to activate the console from My Account. I was greeted by an ominous error that 2 consoles were already activated – I would need to deactivate those first.



I could de-activate with physical access to these other consoles; which I don’t have of course, because I only own one PS3 and that was the one I was trying to authorize.

Now it was getting a little disturbing. I rationalized though: I owned a PlayStation or two before in Japan, perhaps with the launch of the PS4 there were some new restrictions in place and maybe, just maybe, those were still active and this had conspired to take me over some limit. Fair enough – I checked online, and there seemed to be some way to deactivate every console on your account. I’ve done the same for iTunes purchases many times – I’ve got a few Macs, iPhones and iPads after all – I’d just never considered someone might have more than one of the same games console.

Three PlayStations authorized on my account, none of which are mine.


After fumbling through the mess of different PlayStation sites and support portals trying to find this global deactivation option, I apparently couldn’t. “You have deactivated your devices recently and cannot use this feature at this time”. I called support, desperate for answers. I walked through security details and they confirmed that yes, the deactivation of all devices procedure had recently been done, and it appeared to be suspicious activity. Someone would look into the matter and get back to me as soon as possible.


I waited 4 days, unable to access anything. I called again and was told that having been investigated, it appeared that either the account had been compromised or I was lying, and had in fact signed in at a friends house – but that if I had been hacked, it would be my fault for having not been secure enough anyway. There was absolutely nothing they could do for me. I could no longer access my content that I had paid for, on my one and only PlayStation console. Because I’d purchased Call of Duty digitally through the PlayStation store, I couldn’t even play it offline: it just wouldn’t launch at all. My only option was to wait 6 months until the ability to deactivate devices was re-enabled. The wait period is apparently “to prevent game sharing.”

I get why you have restrictions, Sony. Sharing games between friends – which you could do anyway if you had a physical copy – just shouldn’t apply to digital purchases. Maybe I would stretch to letting families share content, but only under the same IP address. But here’s the point: I haven’t been sharing games, and if there is anything I can do to prove that, I would gladly help your investigations. I’m happy to lock my games to ONE system and completely disable any possibility of game sharing now and forever – but I can’t even do that.


The real kicker is that Sony themselves are no stranger to being hacked, having been responsible for the single biggest data leak in history. As an end consumer I should clearly know better. There would be no sympathy for me.

Getting hacked sucks: dealing with the aftermath of that with a company like Sony is like rubbing salt in wounds, pouring in sulphuric acid, then jumping into a pit of abnormally spiky cacti. I’ve embraced the digital gaming revolution because I believed in it – thank you Sony for opening my eyes and shattering that belief.

Now it’s your turn everyone: feel free to say “I told you so – DRM sucks.” I deserve it. But you might want to think twice about buying that shiny new Playstation this Christmas.

Image Credits: glass background Via Shutterstock


Related topics: Digital Rights Management, PlayStation.

Affiliate Disclosure: By buying the products we recommend, you help keep the site alive. Read more.

Whatsapp Pinterest

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  1. JaTmin
    January 12, 2019 at 11:09 pm

    Sony sucks. DRM sucks to. You know how many teenagers I've seen playing DRM games that have been hacked? Unbelievable that The developer's producers still pay money to have their games DRM'd.

    I bought a Playstation 2. It's the one that had the "DUST" issue with the laser? The first iteration of PS2. The 2nd iteration of OPS2 had this issue solved. Sony authorized store want me to pay $100.00 (this was lie what 10 years ago?)to "fix" the problem. It was a temporary fix, but they didn't tell you that. All they did was remove the box and swipe a q-tip across the laser with a bit of isopropyl alcohol on it to clean the dust that inadequate ventilation had trapped. It was an engineering defect that was causing this issue.. thats it-it was a simple dusting of the laser lens. It was still under warranty when this happened so I asked the guy, what happens if someone needs a whole unit replaced and it's under warranty what then? He said it's a $100.00. So, I said back to him, I need the laser lens dusted its a $100. That guy needs a whole new unit and its $100 and BOTH units are still under warranty? Why are we paying anything? He had no response for this. I thanked him and left. I You-tubed it and cleaned the lens myself for about 4 years, every two-three months. I also, introduced my children to a "Desktop" for gaming and the consoles slowly, over a period of 5 years or so declined in use in my household because desktop gaming PC's blow away any console always. I also used the opportunity to teach my children that this is a prime example of a company not caring about it's customers and doing things to cover up their own mistakes and making customers pay for things that customers should never have to pay for. NOW, 10-20 years later, my children disdain consoles in all forms(except for Nintendo portables, for some reason the one son still thinks these are great) and ALL Sony products (which was my main goal.) We have NEVER been treated in SUCH A BLATANTLY UNFAIR WAY and lied to about something the way Sony did. I felt ripped off in a bad way and so did my children. The whole family speaks out against all things Sony whenever someone will listen. Hopefully, everyone who is ripped off by this company will eventually speak out like we do and this comp,any can fade away to history - they are, after all an insurance company first and all else second and we ALL know how cheap and unfair and unreasonable insurance companies are.

  2. AngryAtStupidGreedySonyPSN
    December 31, 2016 at 11:47 pm

    Same thing just happened to me, I cannot play any downloaded games that I purchased. I never shared my account details and have no clue why or how it happened. I did delete PlayStation Vue to make more space on my hard drive, that's the only thing that I can think of. I have since changed my credentials in case I was hacked, but there are no suspicious purchases and I had been regularly updating my password. liked buying DLC, but Sony sucks for doing this to so many people! The irony that if want to play a new game then I have to buy a physical copy, and it will probably be a used game too!

  3. Kristof Keppens
    April 11, 2015 at 12:36 pm

    I'd like to comment on this article as well. I just had the exact same experience as the author of this article and several commentators here. I'm locked out of my PS3 because I have to many activated devices, point is, this is my first and only PS3 ( or any playstation ) and never have I used my account to login to another PS.

    My PSN account clearly shows 3 activated devices and I'm unable to deactivate them because this already happened ( unsure by whom ). After 2 phone calls to customer support and 2 emails I'm at the same point where they accuse me of sharing my account and not believing or willing to do anything about the malicious actions taken in my account.

    I'm going to file a complaint via the European customer center and try to contact them again to get this resolved, but all this is proof of very poor customer support and I won't be inclined to buy any other Sony products this way.

  4. Vaughn D. Taylor
    April 1, 2015 at 12:39 am

    For anyone who thinks this story is bogus, or that James was at fault, let me tell you a tale...

    I tried to use my PS3 a couple days ago, and to my surprise it said that I could not because there were other devices activated on my account. So, for the first time since owning the PS3 I logged into my Sony Playstation account online - this was March 28. Low and behold, there were two other devices registered on my account and my device was disabled.

    So then came the tech support (or lack of support) call. Basically, I was accused of sharing my credentials with somebody and that the deactivation of my device and activation of two additional devices was either done by me or somebody else with my credentials on March 24. But as I said, until March 28 I had never logged into my account. I told the "support" tech this and he kept the same accusatory tone with me - either I shared my account info or I was lying about logging in and disabling my one and only PS3 and activating two others. As a result of this action, my device would be disabled for the next 6 months.

    Firstly, I keep all of my login credentials in my head - these are strong passwords - I'm a web developer and I know better. Second, when I'm telling you in no uncertain terms that I believe my account has been illegally breached, the response should not be to accuse me. I expected something along the lines of, "sorry that happened sir, let's try to get this resolved". And third, 6 months? That doesn't make any sense! In addition to purchasing the device, I have about $750 worth of downloaded games - did they really expect me to accept a sentence of 6 months when I had not done anything wrong? I asked the tech support person, "if you report that your car is stolen, would you find it unreasonable if the police told you that it would be impounded for 6 months due to the theft?" He replied "yes". So if you find that unreasonable, then why don't you see that you're essentially doing the same thing. He didn't answer.

    Flabbergasted, I gave up and decided to call back later when my blood was not boiling. A couple days later (today) I called back. This time, I decided to record the call in the event that I would need to use it in a social media campaign against the company. Of course, I told the tech support person that I was recording the call at the beginning. So, wouldn't you know it but I happened to reach a very reasonable and great tech support person named Joanne. After verifying that I was who I said I was, she had absolutely no problems at all helping me to restore my account. She deactivated the two devices that were not mine and stayed on the line while I reactivated my system. She was great!

    I'm not sure why there's such a disconnect with support at Playstation? But if I can give you any advice, you may want to call about a similar issue at regular business hours. I believe that the first tech support people I spoke with were the after-hours team - jobbed out to a foreign country? I only say this because every person I spoke with in round one had very heavy accents. They may not be empowered with the ability to make educated decisions about the caller on the other end of the line? They may be told to assume that the caller is lying?

  5. Paul
    March 26, 2015 at 6:49 pm

    I cannot even begin to describe how infuriated I am with Sony and EA right now, but I will try!!

    Going back to October 2013 on the ps3 fifa we bought a season ticket and started getting the pack a week as part of the season ticket offer.

    At Christmas 2013 we got a ps4 and fifa and loaded up the same fut account and carried on getting the season ticket weekly packs now on the ps4 until the period of 20 ish weeks ended and stopped using the ps3 at the time of using the ps4.

    Fast forward to October 2014 and I got an email that the season ticket had renewed, fine I thought the packs will be coming 1 a week for 20 ish weeks again.

    I dont play fifa it is my 10 year old son so I just assumed the packs were coming again, at Christmas 2014 I asked if he had been receiving the weekly packs and found out he had not.

    So I thought I would contact EA and get them to sort out whatever the problem was and then we would start receiving the packs again.

    And this is where the nightmare started!

    I contacted EA through live help, telephone, email and attempted to explain that the packs were not arriving.

    And was stonewalled with "You cannot get the season ticket packs on the ps4"

    So I explained the situation that I had been getting them on the ps4 and it had renewed and was now not getting them.

    At this point it was insinuated I was a liar as you cannot get the packs on the ps4, however we had been!

    So I attempted to explain again that I had been having them on the ps4 but they were bought on the ps3 originally and moved over,.

    However all I got was "you cant get them on the ps4" and emails basically saying "we have found you have nothing missing" but I couldn't get to speak to someone who could actually understand the issue as such

    So at this point fair enough if you couldn't have them on the ps4 then I would like my money back, however I was met with "it is an automatic renewal" and also "if you were using the ps3 the packs would be there to have" I just could not get anyone to believe they were appearing on the ps4 so it is not unreasonable for me to expect that when it renews the packs will come through again on the ps4! and because they dont then I should have a refund.

    I tried all ways to get them to understand with no joy.

    So I thought well I will explain the situation to Sony PSN support and was met with "it is an automatic renewal and I should have cancelled it" etc but I didn't cancel it as I was expecting the packs!

    "You need to speak to EA" they said so I explained my efforts to them and how that was why I had resorted to calling Sony, all to no avail, it got passed to a department I could not speak to who sent me an email saying to speak to EA, I responded with what I had tried and had happened and got an email saying "this is the end of the matter and nothing will change" !

    So I went to my card provider and explained the situation and they said as I had not what I had paid for then I could have my money back.

    So I had my money back and now about 2 months ish I cannot sign into PSN, after spending 3 days trying to get it sorted with PSN support they now say it is because my account is in £15.99 debit for the amount I charged back, and I would have to pay it before I could get back in.

    So I explained the issue and you know what they said?

    I have to speak to EA!!!!!!! what a joke this is, so I explained I cannot get EA to listen and he said we cannot help you, asked for a manager... bluntly refused to do so.

    So now I am being held to ransom for my login to pay again for something I have not had to get access to all the games I bought digitally in my PSN account

    I think this is absolutely disgusting and I will not be paying it out of principle and yes I will lose the content and will make sure I get the physical disks in future.

    Frustrated and cheesed off doesn't begin to cut it!

    • James Bruce
      March 29, 2015 at 8:11 am

      Thanks for sharing, Paul – that sounds horrendous.

  6. Pieter
    March 26, 2014 at 4:40 pm

    Wish I'd read this before buying a game just now. For some reason, I had 3 consoles activated (I never activated them). I also cannot deactivate: "You have deactivated your devices recently and cannot use this feature at this time.".

    I hate Sony. Worst support call I've ever had to make and it did nothing. Never again will I spend a single penny. To hell with them.

    • James Bruce
      March 29, 2015 at 8:32 am

      Make sure to put your complaint in writing, and get in touch with any consumer protection groups in your country - if I hadn't had a resolution, I would have contacted BBC Watchdog (in the UK). It's amazing how much bad PR makes Sony change their mind about something.

  7. Toby
    January 27, 2014 at 5:44 pm

    Hi James,

    I have had the same issue and been meet with the same stonewall response from Sony. I have placed my grievance in writing but approaching two weeks later have had no response. I am attempting to summon the energy to ring yet again but in the mean time wondered around how long it took for you to receive a response? Thanks

    • James B
      January 28, 2014 at 9:31 am

      Hi Toby. I expect it varies by country, but judging by my old podcast notes of when I was talking about it, it took about 3 weeks.

  8. cormac
    January 22, 2014 at 2:19 pm

    Hi James, thanks for your response.

    IS the head office the address 2207 Bridgepointe Pkwy.
    San Mateo, CA 94404?

    • James B
      January 22, 2014 at 2:21 pm

      Sorry man, I'm in the UK; if you phone support, they should be able to give you the address. It'll be the corporate head office of "Sony Computer Entertainment (SCE)".

  9. cormac
    January 21, 2014 at 3:30 pm

    I have the same issue here. I de-activated all in Nov but didnt change my password. After speaking to Playstation support they say I have to wait 6 months, change my password and deactivate all. I dont believe that they cannot do this feature. They are really unhelpful. I cant access any of my games or purchase anything else, I also have the playstation plus package which is now useful for 6 months. Have to agree with the author here, do not download online from Playstation, the service sucks and they will not lift a finger to help you. The last email I received from them as below said "We are not liable for the number of consoles you have activated since using this feature." I didnt share my details, it sounds like their system is not secure. Terrible service and support

    "Thanks for your e-mail about your Sony Entertainment Network (SEN) account.

    Please be advised that if you have recently used the "Deactivate All" feature on, we are unable to make any changes to this service. As part of our “fair use” policy we currently allow up to two PlayStation 3 systems to be activated on your Sony Entertainment Network (SEN) account. We are not liable for the number of consoles you have activated since using this feature.

    If you have any further queries, please call PlayStation Support on 0844 736 0595, where one of our team will be happy to help you. You’ll find our opening times below, however you might find it easier to speak to our team during our quieter period between 11:00 and 15:00. Calls to PlayStation Support cost 4p per minute from a BT land line however calls from other providers and mobile operators may vary.

    Thank you,

    PlayStation Support"

    • James B
      January 21, 2014 at 5:19 pm

      Writing to head office with a polite but strongly worded letter finally worked for me....

  10. CharlieHorse
    December 27, 2013 at 7:46 pm

    Interesting on a couple points. I was just browsing the web and came across this.
    1. James B responds to many posts. Not too often that happens these days.
    2. James appears to be a blindlocked "DRM elitist" who willingly places himself ina terrible consumer position by accepting to pay full price for services rather than goods. Virtual DRM locked software is not yours.. yes you are paying the same as others who physically purchase the software, but yet you are clearly only 'renting' until such an event as this one takes that rental right away from you. This is why I only buy rock-cheap games on Steam and PSN. If they are taken away from me for some company DRM bullshit accident, it isn't much of a loss. I recognize that I am only paying for the right to play them and that I haven't actually bought them.. unlike physical copies.
    3. Number 2 notwithstanding, people like James have an opinion which purposely avoids a logical understanding of DRM. Downloading 20-40Gb games to rent (ha, used that word again) is a colossal pain in the arse. Infrastucture limitations (speed, caps) are huge stumbling blocks unless you pay large sums to ISP corporations for the right to have lightning fast download services. The cons for DRM downloaded games is as long as your arm and far outweighs any benefits. I mean I can drive 5-10 minutes to Bestbuy or EBGames and get an actual product which I actually own or I can wait a day to download that same peice and hope that I never have a situation like James did where my ability to play it is taken away.

    • James B
      December 28, 2013 at 9:48 am

      Thanks for stopping by Charlie. With respect, point 3 is a stretch for those of us in a world not dominated by one carrier: I have 60MB/s down, and zero caps - a 20gb game would download far quicker than it would take me to drive to the nearest store. That would apply to most people in the UK too, though I understand America is quite backward with internet services.

      Physical copies also have their issues: I may be "renting" a download, but you're putting your trust in a single DVD - if your child/dog/cleaning spray/DVD drive laser takes a disliking to that disc, you're screwed: I'm not. You don't get a free copy to replace it - so you only "own" that game for the life of the disc.

  11. Frank P
    December 19, 2013 at 1:14 pm

    change your password regularly and if you think a friend or family member might have your details, change it without them knowing.

  12. Anonymous
    December 17, 2013 at 1:01 am

    This same thing happened to me back with the original Wii. I had accidentally left the back window of my house open during a heat wave and went to work. When I came home, I found that someone had hacked into my house. They took my video game discs and the Wii console itself.

    I called Nintendo to ask them to replace the games and the console, and they wouldn't. I even had the serial number for it, and receipt, proving I owned it. The police told me it was MY fault for not being secure enough.

    The games and console I had legally paid for with my own money, I could no longer use or play - my only option was to re-purchase everything, or wait for the police investigation to prove that someone else took everything.

  13. Jack Landquist
    December 14, 2013 at 7:19 am

    Yeah you're right, I apologize for attacking you. I guess what I'm frustrated with is that it seems, to me, that you're emphasizing the value of a lesser virtue (if indeed it can be called such) over the value of a higher virtue. That is, you're giving preference to corporate profit, over the virtue of sharing and community and Freedom. Now, I don't believe in obtaining ANYTHING illegally - games very much included. I have to specify that because I'm not yet convinced that Pirating is actually "stealing". But it IS illegal, so until they legalize it (yea right) I don't do it. And I'll agree that there's some integrity in that.

    However, people have been borrowing and sharing things for a long time, bro. It's part of what makes us a community. And I don't think that borrowing Banjo-Kazooie and Goldeneye from my uncle in 8th grade was, realistically, comparable to pirating. I do think, that it's on about the same level as borrowing books from the library.

    As for not buying used games. Dude, c'mon. This is what happens. A kid buys a game for $60. That physical disc becomes his property (I understand that modern game makers are trying to change this. To hell with them). He plays it for a few years and gets tired of it. He sells it back to the game store - probably for in-game credit. That's fine, it was his, it's his prerogative. The disc then becomes the property of the store. Then some other kid goes to the store. Sees that game in the used-games section, and buys it, and that disc becomes HIS property. Throughout this process, the disc was purchased from the game-maker once. I'm okay with that. Why? Because there's only one disc. It changed hands, but there was only one disc, so it should only have been purchased once. The game store may have sold it twice, and that's good business on them (and I'm not sure how I feel about the ethics of THAT). But the fact remains. If we had to pay the game-maker when we bought used games, they'd basically be selling the same physical product (the disc) twice. That's what they want because, holy hell, they'd make more money. But, to me, that's not ethical.

    There may be an issue with someone buying a game, installing it to their hard drive, then selling the disc back to the game store. That is unethical because they've essentially created a second disc (stored on their hard drive) when only one disc was purchased.

    All this "always on" DRM crap is getting out of hand. Seriously. Let's take the XBox One. I know this has been changed, but this is just an example. They wanted you to have a system that is ALWAYS connected to the internet, AND ALWAYS have a camera (kinect) attached - or the system simply wouldn't work. Meanwhile we hear in the news about NSA spying on gamers. I know I'm sounding paranoid - but what was Microsoft's motivation with that policy? Am I the only one who sees a massive risk to personal freedom and privacy in that? And you'll notice I haven't once defended Sony or Playstation. I don't know enough to say that they're not doing the same thing, just in a more subtle way.

    I don't agree with always on. I don't believe that pirating is as much a problem as game-makers claim it is, but I DO believe that piracy is unethical. I don't believe that borrowing and loaning games, that have been legally purchased, is wrong in any way, and I don't believe that purchasing used games is at all unethical.

    I do believe that giving up Personal Freedom for corporate profit is foolish as hell.

    I don't know if any of this has made any sense. Hopefully it has. I wish that people would stop just giving away their freedom, man, for corporate propaganda.

    • James B
      December 28, 2013 at 9:55 am

      In fairness, the Xbox One DRM also allowed you to share a game with up to 5 designated family members; something you can't do now since they reverted to "physical DRM".

      Anyway, thanks for taking the time to explain. Equating piracy to used games was pretty out of line, I admit. The library example is far better; the only difference being as you mentioned, that the store is profiting twice. With that in mind, it's about asking yourself WHO you want to profit twice from two sales - the people who actually made the game, or the people who put it on a shelf. I'd rather pay the creator. Libraries don't profit, and the reason they're allowed to exist is because the supply is so limited - one or two copies of something at most for the entire community.

      Ultimately, the benefits of not having to fill my house with pieces of non-recyclable and easy to break shiny plastic discs outweigh the downsides of occasionally getting hacked.

      The good news is that I got access back after writing to head office and explaining the situation. I'm still not going to buy a ps4 after their appalling service though - I think I'll just stick to my PC and Oculus Rift for now ;)

  14. Jack Landquist
    December 13, 2013 at 9:58 pm

    "I’ll even accept 'always online' DRM as long as it actually works (I’m talking to you, SimCity). I think borrowing games is only marginally better than pirating, and I would never buy used games unless they were out of print."

    That whole first paragraph smells like crap to me. Are you a Microsoft employee? I suppose we'd better shut down libraries for pirating - er, uh "loaning" - out books... and for FREE at that! Those rascals! And ebay and Amazon ought to be shut down for selling used items - and pawn shops and thrift shops too, on the same principle. Curses upon my grandma for handing down her recipes - surely they weren't REALLY hers - or at least I've never seen the patent on them - and she gave them away for free, to upwards of twenty grandchildren, at least!

    Do you see how your views are rediculous

    • James B
      December 13, 2013 at 10:20 pm

      I'm terribly sorry for having an opinion you disagree with. How dare I?

    • Tao Jones
      December 27, 2013 at 10:44 am

      @James - The thing about wanting to pay full price for games, and accepting that you don't own them, but have only licensed their use, well, that's really the source of significant problems. The callousness you experienced in your recent troubles is one of them.

      I certainly understand the impulse of supporting the things you enjoy and "a fair day's $" etc.
      After all, $60 for 20 hours entertainment is still better value than the movies, any day.

      But, here's the deal. It's actually very simple.
      The more money you pour into an industry, the more greedy, terrible people will attempt to control that industry. Likewise, the more money they make, the more effort they put into squeezing you. It's as reliable as thermodynamics.

      Meanwhile, the people you might want to reward, the abused and harried workers of said industry, are constantly denied any real benefits of their labor. They hope that they can keep their jobs into the next project, or that the metacritic score will be high enough to net them a bonus, but even the development studio sees very little from sales (about 1/4 of the net profits which the publishers make,) much less the main body of their staff.

      So, by propping these publishing companies up with the idea that mandatory full-price sales as a good thing, it only drives the "profit above all else" aesthetic that is turning modern gaming into a something cynical and artless.

      Industry is a tyrant by nature. Feed it well, and you will not have a friend, only a bigger tyrant.

  15. grant sheppard
    December 6, 2013 at 9:23 pm

    James, the gaming industry has changed! For company's like Microsoft and Sony its all about money. They dont care about you as a gamer. All these restrictions they put on the games and all the policy's they throw at us aren't even necessary. All they want is control. Its only gonna get worse, good luck!

  16. FriendlyFACE
    December 5, 2013 at 8:04 pm

    Whoaaaah! I've had a total of 3 PS3's, and my 3rd I got very recently, I did not even have a problem activating my 3rd PS3, even tho my 1st PS3 got the Yellow Light of Death.

    • James B
      December 6, 2013 at 9:08 am

      You can activate 3 no problem. But if someone were to deactivate those from the web, activate their own - then you wouldn't be able to re-activate any of your own again.

  17. Anonymous
    December 5, 2013 at 2:52 am

    The price to pay for better graphics. Terrible online play. Xbox it's the other way around.

  18. peter
    December 2, 2013 at 4:47 am

    Demand DRM free content. Digital downloads that require anything more than a hard drive are for you bitches that get fleeced by your 'content providers' and then get screwed by the hackers too. You deserve evert bit of your misery.

    • James B
      December 2, 2013 at 8:47 am

      A simple "i told you so" would have sufficed!

    • Peter
      December 2, 2013 at 4:16 pm

      Yes, I'm sorry for my attitude! Your talk of system activation, macs, ipads and itunes is really the trinity of all things unholy. You do realize that Apple is the devil?

  19. Chris H
    December 2, 2013 at 1:37 am

    Yup, this is the reason always-on DRM is particularly bad. It's not a philosophical one (well, for for me), but a practical one: Big publishers always seem to mess it up.

  20. A41202813GMAIL
    December 1, 2013 at 8:10 am

    --- Now it’s your turn everyone: feel free to say “I told you so – DRM sucks.” I deserve it. But you might want to think twice about buying that shiny new Playstation this Christmas ---.
    I Did Not Told You So, Because I Do Not Know You, But I Would If I Did.
    There Is A War Out There, And You Are Only A Little Soldier In An Army Of Just 1.
    You Better Change The Way You Think, Or We Will Continue To Read More Stories, Like This One, From You, In The Not So Distant Future.

    • James B
      December 2, 2013 at 8:47 am

      Did you actually press shift for every first letter there, and put dashes where a simple line break would have sufficed? Or do you have some l33+ script that does it automatically for you?

    • A41202813GMAIL
      December 3, 2013 at 6:44 am


      I Should Have Noticed It In The Posts Before Mine.

      Some Sites Do Not Allow Line Breaks, Or Editing, So I Use 3 Consecutive Minus Symbols, When In Doubt.


      Shift Key:

      I Leave The Caps Lock Always On.

      The Initial Capital Is The Result Of A CHROME Extension.


    • James B
      December 3, 2013 at 8:46 am

      Why would you have a chrome extension to capitalise words? What do you believe it achieves, other than making people instantly dismiss anything you say?

    • A41202813GMAIL
      December 4, 2013 at 5:51 am

      Not Quite.

      In Fact, It Is The Other Way Around.

      Some People Can See Beyond The Aesthetics.

      The Others Are So Fixed In The Frame, That They Ignore The Picture All Together, And Instantly Start Insulting Me, Instead Of Challenging What It Is Being Said.

      It Is My Very Personal Way Of Immediately Distinguish Who "I" Should Dismiss.

      Hey, I Got 2 Replies From You, Did I Not ?


  21. OC
    December 1, 2013 at 12:13 am

    Happened to me two weeks ago, made a huge number of calls, demanded this be escalated to head office for investigation.

    I described it as being akin to Credit Card fraud and identity theft and that it should be taken seriously.

    Sony have now de-authorised one of the rogue consoles on my account so my PS3 & 4 are now able to access PSN.

    They can do this, do not give up pushing for a solution! They did it for me.

    Very very doubtful I will be making digital purchases again through psn though.

    • James B
      December 2, 2013 at 8:48 am

      Encouraging words, thanks OC. I'll wait to hear back from head office first, hopefully they will be able to sort things out.

  22. Tiny
    November 30, 2013 at 3:56 pm

    Every time I read a story like this, I pat myself on the back. After Sony put a rootkit on my computer in 2005, I have refused to purchase anything from them. This company continues to prove that I made a wise decision.

  23. Binky
    November 30, 2013 at 12:32 pm

    A bit of a rant, as some one who is involved in Security I can see both sides of this argument, Sony on their part should have a way to recover misappropriated accounts, but setting up identity after the event is near impossible... On the other side of the coin, personal passwords and identities are (provided the tools are available) the responsibility of the user, and allowing identity theft through slack or unfortunate circumstance is not Sony's issue.

    An independant federated alternative - registered along side the PlayStation authentication may be one solution, but all providers face the same issues... not just Sony.

  24. Webizen Prime
    November 30, 2013 at 3:23 am

    ---"I really don’t have objections about DRM"
    ---"I’ll even accept “always online” DRM"
    ---"I think borrowing games is only marginally better than pirating"
    ---"I would never buy used games unless they were out of print."
    Those above are the reasons why big companies can screw you over. You let them take a little of your rights and they will take them all.
    Online will NEVER be better than physical as servers will ALWAYS crash. That's why you're wrong when you think that you'll "always be able to access the content."
    Hope you reevaluate your position on DRM and online content.
    Concerned Webizen

    • James B
      November 30, 2013 at 8:22 am

      I think what really takes the piss is the viral ad campaign Sony launched to mock Microsofts game sharing restrictions:

      Ah, Sony - the gamers choice.

  25. Will
    November 29, 2013 at 11:53 pm

    This is why consoles SUCK. PC FTW!

    • Scott Hedrick
      November 30, 2013 at 4:36 am

      There are a lot of games that I would like to play, but since they don't come in PC, I won't play them. If I cannot 1. make a backup copy of my digital downloads to a USB device or burn it to disk AND 2. install it on a new system using the same code, then I am not interested in digital downloads. I flush my system once or twice a year and have to reinstall everything. If I have to wade through DRM crap, then I am not going to play the game. I wanted to play Spore, I came THIS close to preordering it, and I am glad I didn't. Under Spore's DRM, I might get a year's play out of it, and then be screwed forever. Not interested in anything Maxis or Will Wright does now. They have permanently lost a customer until each and every copy of Spore has been physically replaced with a copy without DRM. I'll play the old copies of SimCity (I liked the original one best) and other Sim games I have made more than 6 years ago, but I'm not interested in any of their new stuff. BTW- PC *is* a platform. That is the fundamental error in the "PC vs platform" argument, combining all of the dedicated platforms into one number and comparing that to the PC. Treat the PC as just another platform and the comparisons change.

    • lambchop
      November 30, 2013 at 7:07 am

      yeah, because p.c's cant get hacked lol

    • James B
      November 30, 2013 at 8:19 am

      Most PC gamers use Steam - the only difference is that their DRM doesn't suck with dumbass timeouts on activating PCs.

  26. Matthew H
    November 29, 2013 at 11:37 pm

    Bloody hell. I'm sorry you went through that James.

    I'm seeing a trend here though. Sony /really/ sucks when it comes to incident response. Really, really sucks. They failed you, with your hacked PSN subscription. They failed to respond adequately to the Sony BMG rootkit fiasco of the 90s, and they failed to respond adequately to the PSN hack.

    • James B
      November 30, 2013 at 6:45 pm

      I dont understand their arbitrary device deactivation timeout thing. No other DRM I know of does that. Limit a game to be activated on one device at any time - simples, no sharing.

  27. Zhong J
    November 29, 2013 at 10:18 pm

    Is this prevalent to the PS4? You're saying that the DRM which restricts any third system from accessing your content, will be enforced in the console?

    • James B
      November 30, 2013 at 8:18 am

      Yes, PS4 or PSVita - it wouldn't matter. The device limit has been reached, and I can't authorise even a new console until the de-activation timeout has elapsed.

    • Zhong J
      November 30, 2013 at 5:22 pm

      How about the Xbox one? They once put a region locked on the system where you cannot share games with your friends and always "online" to play games, as a way for them to check on you.

    • James B
      November 30, 2013 at 6:43 pm

      I don't actually mind an "always online" thing, especially when most of the games I play are online anyway. To be honest, I've always had great customer from Xbox. And steam for that matter.

    • Alex
      December 26, 2013 at 10:41 am

      @Zhong J
      That's not true. They did have always online for a while, but removed it before the console was even launched due to consumer complaint. The region lock was wrong, and they actually offered a 'family' group, where you could add 5 people into a family, and any person from that family could play a game owned by any other person at a time. They encouraged game sharing, but when they had to remove their DRM settings because of the public, they had to remove that ability, so now it's just your standard disc system. (which, by the way, is region free).

  28. Lee
    November 29, 2013 at 9:45 pm

    Wait. Sony is saying it's YOUR fault for getting hacked? What the hell? They can't expect everyone who makes a PSN account to know what a good password is, and even if you make a super secure password, there are REALLY clever people who could get a keylogger onto nearly anyone's PC. It should never be the users fault for an account breach. This coming from a big company like Sony makes me angry.

    • James B
      November 30, 2013 at 8:17 am

      Their implication was mainly that I'd actually de-authorised my own content in order to give games to a friend, and I just didn't understand I couldn't do that.

  29. HappySpaceInvader
    November 29, 2013 at 8:02 pm

    If you phone PSN Support, they deactivate the consoles for you. I did this recently. No need to wait 6 months, LOL.

    • James B
      November 29, 2013 at 8:25 pm

      I did that twice, as mentioned in the article, and spoke to a manager. They do NOT do this.

    • CD
      November 30, 2013 at 12:47 am

      They do "do that", please refer to that little thing called "social engineering".
      CD (formerly managed "support managers")

    • James B
      November 30, 2013 at 8:16 am

      They don't do that unless you can prove your console was taken for exchange. Unless no less than 3 support agents and a manager were all lying to me.

    • Eric
      December 23, 2013 at 11:23 pm

      Author of this post is a troll or a complete idiot. It took me less then 5 mins of searching to find out that to deactivate a console all you have to do is call.

    • James B
      December 24, 2013 at 11:24 am

      Not if someone has done a full deactivation recently of ALL consoles on your account. Otherwise yes, of course they can. Read the article before commenting.

    • spili78
      January 16, 2014 at 10:10 am

      Guys, the same thing happened to me last week. I am now unable to use the recently purchased games until the beginning of July. Reading James`s post is like a deja vu for me! Sony support is firm in the posiion that they cannot do anything to help me
      and that is my fault that someone hacked my credentials (which can be the only possibility because I never used my credentials in a different console than mine or shared them with anybody)