Sony clamps down on PlayStation game sharing

Close up of PS3 console
Image caption Many people registered consoles of their friends to give them free access to games

UK gamers can no longer play the same copy of a new PlayStation Store game on more than two devices.

On 18 November Sony cut the number of consoles and handheld devices that users can tie to their PlayStation Network (PSN) account from five to two.

The change only applies to games and other content bought via the PlayStation Store after 18 November.

The limits are believed to have been imposed to stop people sharing games with friends.

Sony unveiled the changes via a blog posting in which it said that PS3 users will only be able to use their games on two activated PS3 consoles. Similarly, games for the PlayStation Portable will only be playable on two of the handheld gadgets.

This means that a single PSN account will be able to support a maximum of two consoles and two handhelds.

The electronics firm said it was setting up account management pages for PSN users through which they will be able to decide on which consoles or handhelds their games can be played.

Prior to the 18 November change, up to five different PlayStation consoles could be connected to a PSN account and used to play games. Many gamers used this to activate consoles of their friends effectively giving them free access to games.

Eurogamer news editor Wesley Yin-Poole said the change had not prompted a backlash.

"It's only a problem to those who share downloaded games and have multiple devices in the home, but that's a minority of users," he said. "Most players use a single PlayStation 3 and a single PlayStation Portable, if that."

He said it was a move intended to support the upcoming launch of the PlayStation Vita which will count as one of the activated devices.

The changes apply to gamers based in the UK, Australia, Ireland, New Zealand and the Middle East. However, it is thought the policy will soon be applied to other territories including the key markets of Japan and the US.

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