Sony has altered the usage policies for its PlayStation Network, cutting down the number of different PlayStation devices a downloadable product can be activated on following purchase. Originally, one could activate downloaded PSN content on a total of five PS3 and PSP devices. As of November 18, PS3 content will only be allowed to be activated on two PS3 devices, and PSP content will only be allowed to be activated on two PSP devices.
Sony noted that this policy change affects all PSP devices, including the PSPgo. They also revealed a new PSN account management web site, which will allow users to manage via computer the PlayStation devices attached to their PSN account.
Analysis: I don’t really see this being a huge issue, except perhaps for parents who have more than two kids with PSPs or something. I personally don’t know anyone with more than two PSPs, and definitely don’t know anyone with more than one PlayStation 3, so I imagine this won’t upset users too much unless they’ve been sharing their PSN content with quite a few people. I’m pretty sure that’s what Sony is trying to prevent here anyway. Even then, it’ll be pretty easy to manage your activations through the computer and all previously downloaded content can stay.
What will suck is that you won’t be able to go to a friend’s house and download content onto his/her PS3s without having to later deactivate his/her PS3 if you want to do the same thing on a different friend’s PS3. While this is an inconvenience, I’m not sure it would be something to get terribly upset over. One could argue that this will increase piracy, and that’s certainly possible. Game sharing is pretty popular and I can see how losing that ability, at least for future purchases, would be frustrating.
The PSN account management will be the big key to making this work, so I hope they get that set up soon. If your PSP or PS3 breaks and you need a new one, or if you’re staying at someone’s for a while, it would be obnoxious to not be able to deal with the issue without having access to the device itself. I’m kind of surprised it took them this long to have access to something like this; iTunes and XBox Live both have had similar management systems for years.
The one question I do have is this: does this mean there will be a decrease in PSN content prices? I’ve heard complaints that they tend to be high, and part of the reason may be because of the game sharing thing. Honestly, though, I doubt it. Sony is probably just going to change the policy and leave it at that.