top of page

Old Sony Policy Still States It Is Illegal To Sell Physical PS5 Games

Updated: Dec 18, 2023

UPDATE at the bottom of this article.

In the ever-evolving landscape of video game ownership and digital rights, an intriguing aspect of Sony's policy has recently resurfaced. A clause found within Sony's Software Usage Terms, specifically Chapter 7 titled 'Resale,' explicitly states:

"You must not resell either disc-based games or digital games, unless expressly authorised by us and, if the publisher is another company, additionally by the publisher."

While this statement might raise eyebrows today, it's crucial to understand its origins, implications, and current relevance, especially in light of its introduction over a decade ago.

The Origin of the Policy:

This policy, found under section 7.1 of PlayStation’s Terms of Service, is not a recent development. It was formulated around the time of the PlayStation 4's release, sparking discussions and concerns among the gaming community. The clause was part of a broader attempt to regulate the burgeoning digital marketplace and address issues concerning digital rights management (DRM) and game ownership.

The Initial Reaction and Sony's Stance:

Back when this policy was updated for the PlayStation 4, there was significant buzz in the gaming circles. However, Shuhei Yoshida, then a prominent figure at PlayStation, clarified that consumers could still sell or share their physical PS4 games, despite the wording in the Terms of Service.

This clarification was crucial in quelling the fears of many gamers who were concerned about their rights and abilities to resell physical game copies.

Impact and Enforcement:

Despite its existence in the terms, this clause has rarely been enforced in any significant manner. The resale of physical disc-based games continues largely unhindered, with a thriving second-hand market for PlayStation games. This lack of enforcement raises questions about the intent and practicality of such a clause in the digital age, where physical and digital media coexist in complex ways.

The Current Scenario:

Fast forward to the present, the gaming industry has witnessed a seismic shift towards digital distribution, cloud gaming, and subscription-based models. In this context, the clause under scrutiny seems somewhat archaic and out of touch with current trends. However, it remains a pertinent reminder of the ongoing debates about digital ownership and the rights of consumers in an increasingly digital world. Some news sources jumped the gun a bit on the reporting, as some Twitter users pointed out this statement dates back all the way to the original PS1...

The Future of Digital Rights in Gaming:

As we look ahead, the conversation around digital rights and game ownership is only going to get more complex. Companies like Sony will need to continually adapt their policies to reflect the changing landscape of gaming, balancing corporate interests with consumer rights and expectations.

While Sony's decade-old policy on the resale of disc-based games remains a part of their legal framework, its practical impact and relevance have diminished over time. It serves as an interesting historical footnote in the ongoing dialogue about digital rights and the evolution of the gaming industry. As the market continues to evolve, so too will the policies and terms that govern our interaction with digital content.

For a deeper understanding of Sony's Software Usage Terms, particularly regarding the outdated and un-updated resale policy, visit their official site here.

UPDATE: IGN has confirmed this legal information is also captured in Xbox ToS, so it is not just limited to Sony:

~Smash Additional Sources/Thanks: Insider Gaming, RGT 85

38 views0 comments


bottom of page