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Sony rumored to be adding serial keys to PS3
Rumour has it that Sony is looking to the PC games market to help solve its growing piracy problem on the PlayStation 3 - with the introduction of serial keys to its games.
According to 'a very reliable source' quoted by PS3-Sense, Sony is attempting to address the recent revelation that it failed to properly secure the private signing key for its flagship console - leading to clever tinkerers producing third-party firmware that allows unofficial software and illegitimately downloaded games to run on unmodified hardware - by looking to the PC retail market for solutions.
Unlike the PS3, the PC doesn't have a hardware DRM system built in to it - despite attempts by groups like the Trusted Computing Group, formerly the Trusted Computer Platform Alliance, to introduce such a thing - relying instead on software-based DRM and a surprisingly old-fashioned guarantee of a game's uniqueness: a serial key.
Printed on the product's packaging, the key is a unique identifier that promises that the game is the real deal - and usually verifies itself with an online server, preventing the game from running or accessing multiplayer features if the same key is in use elsewhere.
It's a solution that the PC gaming industry has been using for years, but if the rumour that Sony is looking to use it as a bandage for its thoroughly broken PS3 DRM proves true, it could have one major hurdle in its path: unlike a PC, the PS3 has no keyboard.
If this is true, this defeats one of the key aspects of console gaming, the fact that you can just pop in the disc and play, without any DRM or installations. The PS3 already has installs, and now it will have serial keys as well. This will also effectively kill the used game market, as well as the rental market as well (for the PS3 anyway). This will also hurt anyone who wants to play the game offline, as they will need to activate the game before hand. No matter how this goes down, it will be a huge loss for consumers.