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SOCOM becomes first PSP game to require online activation

Pre-owned copies will require $20 voucher to unlock features

SOCOM: US Navy SEALS Fireteam Bravo 3 has become the first PSP game to require online activation in order to unlock all of its features.

The Sony game, released in the US on Tuesday, came with a voucher code that had to be redeemed online in order to unlock online play.

As well as deterring piracy - which Sony has stated as the primary reason for the move - it will also undoubtedly discourage pre-owned sales, since those buying a used copy of the game will need to purchase the voucher at a cost of $20 if they want to play online.

Speaking to IGN, SCEA director of hardware marketing John Koller said that Sony was in the process of investigating and trialling anti-piracy opportunities, but he couldn't say if online activation would be introduced for all future PSP releases.

"Today's consumers are more tech savvy and better connected to the internet than ever before. Piracy continues to be an issue of concern for the PSP platform. SOCOM: U.S. Navy SEALs Fireteam Bravo 3 is a trial run for a new initiative we are exploring for the platform," said Koller.

"We will continue to explore this as an opportunity for the platform going forward, but we have no announcements to make on future iterations at this time."

Piracy remained an issue on the PSP platform, admitted Koller, although he said that the introduction of the PSPgo and the subsequent increase in legally downloaded titles had helped minimise that impact.

"No one will dispute that piracy has a negative impact on software sales. We're continuing to take proactive steps in the fight against piracy and believe this new initiative will be of benefit to the gaming industry," he added.

The move follows EA's introduction of 'Project Ten Dollar', where premium DLC is included as a free download for those buying a new copy of a game, but those buying a second-hand copy are forced to pay for it.

Mass Effect 2 and Dragon Age: Origins both implemented the feature across their various patforms.

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Kath Brice