Sony patents tech to block used games

According to gofreak, a NeoGAF member, Sony has researched and patented new technology that could be implemented to block used games. The patent (application number 20130007892 for an “Electronic Content Processing System” and “Use Apparatus”application) was filed on 9 December 2012 by Sony Computer Entertainment Japan, and will work by linking individual game discs to a user’s account without requiring a network connection. This means that any future attempt to use this disc on another user’s console won’t work. The patent explains that games will come with contactless RF “tags” that your console reads. When a disc is first used, the disc ID and player ID will be stored on the tag and every time the disc is used in future, the tag will check if the two ID’s match up and, if not, then the disc won’t work.

The filing does not mention any specific system for its use. However, past speculation suggested Sony was interested in curbing second-hand sales with the PlayStation 4.


“A game playing system includes a use permission tag provided for use in a game disk for a user of a game, a disk drive, and a reproduction device for reproducing the game,” reads a line from the patent’s abstract. “The disk drive reads out a disk ID from the game disk. When the game is to be played, the reproduction device conveys the disk ID and a player ID to the use permission tag. The use permission tag stores the terms of use of the game and determines whether a combination of the disk ID and the player ID conveyed from the reproduction device fulfills the terms of use or not.”




“In such a scheme where the electronic content is bought and sold in the second-hand markets or the like, the sales proceeds resulting therefrom are not redistributed to the developers,” reads a line from the filing. “Also, since the users who have purchased the second-hand items are somehow no longer potential buyers of the content, the developers would lose their profits otherwise gained in the first place.”

Sony said this patent would effectively “suppress” the second-hand game market if it ever comes to fruition. This technology would also be applicable to other forms of electronic content, including images and music.

The used-game market has been a contentious issue, with some noted developers making clear their stance against secondhand sales and some others taking more free and more gamer stances.

I can tell Sony right away that this course is folly and if implemented, this tech will be catastrophic for Sony’s already not too happy console(s).

How do you think next-gen consoles should go about handling the second-hand market?






One response to “Sony patents tech to block used games

  1. Pingback: Sony’s 2nd Hand Game Patent: Ten year rumour or Future Reality? | Gamers Therapy·

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