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Sony to block used games on the PS4?

3 min read


Way back in March last year we posted a rumour about Sony planning to block used game sales on the PS4, while that rumour was met with widespread condemnation it hasn’t stopped Sony from pressing ahead with it.

While Sony aren’t officially commenting on this rumour at this time the sleuths over at Neogaf have just uncovered this patent which Sony filed for

According to the present embodiment, realized is the electronic content processing system that reliably restricts the use of electronic content dealt in the second-hand markets. As a result, the dealing of electronic content in the second-hand markets is suppressed, which in turn supports the redistribution of part of proceeds from sales of the electronic content to the developers. Though in the following description a game application (AP) is exemplified as the electronic content, the present embodiment is similarly applicable to various kinds of electronic content such as an office suite, images, and music content.

The part which makes me believe that Sony is going to make this a reality is in this next section

By employing the game playing system 1000 according to the present embodiment, the use permission tag 220 together with the game disk 210 is supplied to the user, and the use permission tag 220 actively determines the use permit/rejection of electronic content. Thereby, the use of game AP stored in the game disk 210 can be restricted as appropriate according to the attribute of a reproduction device. Consider, for example, a case where used is a game package 200 distributed in the second-hand market. Then the ID of reproduction device for the game disk 210 differs from the legitimate use device ID stored in the use permission tag 220, so that the game disk can be reproduced in a mode which is predetermined for those bought and sold in the second-hand market. Also, for example, a content key may be supplied to the reproduction device 130 and the encrypted game AP may be decrypted using the content key only if the reproduction device ID matches a legitimate use device ID. Hence, use of game APs bought and sold in the second-hand market can be eliminated.

The bold part means that the game doesn’t necessarily have to be blocked but rather it will work in a trial mode for a while and then ask you to upgrade to the full version.

This way Sony can say it is up to the developers how much of a trial play is allowed or not and they can then claim innocence by stating they are just empowering developers and not limiting choice directly.

I’d like to think that this sort of plan would fail miserably at the first hurdle but just think about online codes in this generation. Everyone insisted it was wrong and yet I can’t remember the last game I got that didn’t have an online code in it.

The general public is very forgiving to gentle changes and if the PS4 releases with this technology and then it only gets activated after a year all the Sony fanboys will back it up without issue. I mean this is how PC games now work and no one complains about that.

However this will only really work long term if Microsoft jump on the same bandwagon but thankfully the WIi U is already released so if Microsoft do make the jump at least we have one HD console where we can still trade second hand games.

Oh and to answer the inevitable questions, it doesn’t require an Internet connection as it uses a chip on the disc. The chip will store either the console ID or the user account so that if your console dies you should still be good to go.

And yes if they are storing it on a chip I’m 100% sure someone will figure out how to wipe that data and start a mini business out of doing just that.

Last Updated: January 4, 2013

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