Can’t Play DiRT 3 Online? Blame Sony’s MIA PlayStation Store

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You just picked up Codemasters’ grit-flinging, gravel-grinding rally racer DiRT 3 for PlayStation 3, and let me guess—you can’t play online or swap YouTube video replays with pals. Bummer.

You’re not alone. It’s because the PS3 version requires a special piece of downloadable code to put its online mode in gear. And since that code’s technically a slice of online store-based DLC, you need access to the PlayStation Store to grab it. But the PlayStation Store’s still on the fritz, despite Sony’s restoration of basic PlayStation Network services.

Long story short, you’re stuff-outta-luck if you pick up the PS3 version with online aspirations, your only alternatives being to grab the Xbox 360 or PC version, or you know, wait. How long? Sony’s last word on the matter was “we’re still targeting restoration of all services by the end of this month.” So with any luck, by the close of Memorial Day Weekend.

For the record, it’s not a matter of flipping switches to remove the DLC gate, claims Codemasters. The DiRT 3 publisher/developer told CVG that “it’s technically not possible, as it’s hard-coded into the game.” Translation: it is technically possible, but if the PS Store’s up in a few more days, it’d take the company notably longer to get a patch ready, approved, and deployed.

DiRT 3 rolled off shelves yesterday to rave reviews. Edge calls it “[a] vast, almost encyclopedic look at the united nations of rally,” VideoGamer says “[it’s] got the looks, the style, the superb sense of speed, and spot-on handling model that blurs the line between sim and arcade,” and Digital Chumps writes “[more] races, more cars, better controls and a huge Gymkhana [obstacle-riddled, timed motorsport courses] presence means that you’re in for a truly great experience.”

DiRT 3‘s DLC activation code is part of Codemasters’ attempt to work around the used games issue. The code’s free for first-time users, but costs $10 for anyone attempting to activate a used copy.

Codemasters isn’t alone in crafting this sort of “you shall not pass” tech. Other recently released games affected by the ongoing PS Store outage include Mortal Kombat (users have to enter a “Kombat Pass” to play online, though Warner Bros. temporarily removed the requirement), L.A. Noire (no pre-order redeemable “bonus case” for you), and pretty much anything by games publishing bigwig Electronic Arts. It’s enough to make you swear off online play entirely.

Or you know, just swear a bunch.