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Sony Patent Uncovered That May Suppress Second-Hand Game Sales


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91w ago - Previously it was rumored that Sony was planning to combat PS3 piracy with Blu-ray disc serial keys, and today gofreak uncovered a [Register or Login to view links] ([Register or Login to view links]) which may suppress second-hand game sales on PS4 as well.

Below are the details, to quote: So I believe this is interesting in light of a prior rumor about Sony limiting second hand game sales on PS4. Sony has been working on new technology for limiting used game sales, and has applied for a patent. The patent was filed 09/12/2012 by SCEJ.

Perhaps this work is where the rumor came from. Or perhaps it independently corroborates the rumor. Anyway, here's some of the relevant detail:

"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.

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."

It works by supplying a contactless RF tag with each copy of a game (NFC?), which can (independent of a network connection), remember if a game has been tied to a different machine or user account previously. The system checks with the tag before playing the game.

I suppose I should say that this doesn't mean PS4 will, for sure, restrict second hand games. This would not be the first time Sony registered patents in this area and then did nothing with the tech. In fact I remember a patent fueling rumors prior to PS3's launch. The decision would be a business one, not one based on technical feasibility. This system would be relatively expensive to implement vs network-DRM. Although it could have the double effect of limiting piracy - at least until pirates could hack or reproduce the 'rf tag' system.




The last official comment we had from someone at Sony was Jack Tretton's "'for the record, I'm totally opposed to blocking used games." - but maybe people would be better reassured by a comment from SCEJ...

So with those qualifications out of the way, have at it Since it's causing some confusion, the application refers to a system that can tie a game to your user ID (i.e. your account), or a machine ID via the RF tag. For people wondering what would happen if your console died etc.




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Comments 19 Comments - Go to Forum Thread »

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HeyManHRU's Avatar
#14 - HeyManHRU - 90w ago
I saw this on Reddit yesterday and I really wasn't surprised Sony did something like this. If Microsoft does the same thing though, it will be pretty bad for gamers.

BerserkLeon's Avatar
#13 - BerserkLeon - 90w ago
I don't think the patent mentions anything about an online database, so if such a thing as a ps4 CFW surfaces, I'm sure one would be able to simply forgo the licensing process.

Before that wouldn't we simply need to collect a bunch of keys to determine what was used to generate them, and then generate another (preferably much farther down the production line) key

antuss's Avatar
#12 - antuss - 90w ago
Goodbye PS4, the next gen is gonna be xbox720 and Steambox/PC. The writing is on the wall.

PSPSwampy's Avatar
#11 - PSPSwampy - 90w ago
R.I.P. Playstation brand - you will be sadly missed (maybe that should be "will not")

No more sony products for me, will be moving to another Tv/audio hardware manufacturer and will not be getting a PS4 but will instead spend the $600+ on multiple purchases of the open systems like the Ouya and that console on a stick - or maybe just give up on consoles all together (might be time to upgrade my PC instead!)

Sad days

ricopico's Avatar
#10 - ricopico - 91w ago
Right, but when the RFID tag contains a 256, or even 512 bit code using a key generation method only known to Sony it will be almost impossible to generate an unused code to write to the custom RFID chip (which I imagine will be using some kind of online database to manage times installed etc)

HOWEVER, I would imagine it being fairly easy to take a trip to a game store, read the RFID in the unsold box and write it directly to your blank RFID media. Shame that using this method is less like piracy and more like stealing.

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