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Sony Patent Uncovered That May Suppress Second-Hand Game Sales

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102w 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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#9 - StanSmith - 102w ago
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Come to think about it, on just about every device isn't the piracy rate about 10%? On the iphone it was about 15% at its peak, now its about 5% or less, closer to 1% now and same with PS3 piracy, I think its really low like 5-10% so what are they really complaining about? All this protection for 5% of users? So they are going to punish 95%?

Told you they are morons. They should try to keep the 95% of users happy and make them want to buy their console and games.

#8 - GrandpaHomer - 102w ago
GrandpaHomer's Avatar
Sony is diging they own grave if they'll ever implement this not realizing that MANY new games sales are financed by people re-seling their recently purchased and completed games. Thake this option away and - no more sales of new games for you Sony. Really BAD business decission if you ask me ...

Also - this could be implemented not only on games but also on music / vide / BDs - Sony own loads of right for all kind of media.

#7 - tilla - 102w ago
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Wouldn't really believe this is actually implemented until Sony actually puts it in the system, settle down people - patents that never get used are filed every day.

#6 - BerserkLeon - 102w ago
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Soooo.. NFC/RFID? I'm pretty sure you can order custom-made tags... and at least a few phones have NFC devices built into them.. read the tag with the phone and order a read-only tag with that information burnt into it?

I'm not sure if that's how it all works but I do know I've got an NFC reader/writer in my phone. unless they heavily modify the tech I don't see it being a useful deterrent.

They should fire/close whatever department has the job of "coming up with ideas to screw over consumers" and just deal with current security.. and use the money they were paying that department with to fund other developments of the new console.. like using high-quality solder and thermal paste instead of the cheap crap in the ps3.

#5 - kalberto - 102w ago
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I'm sure, Sony is planning to release PS3 Slim version 2 & PS3 SuperSlim version 2, with a NEW FIRMWARE because there was a word of "REPRODUCTION DEVICE". And CHANGE the way, of player ID and Disc ID with permission term of use method.

it might be the console has to connect and register once to server Sony, to unlock the feature of the new console and game disc ID term of use.


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