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Sony patents anti-second hand games tech

January 7, 2013 • Gadgets and Gaming

Technology giant Sony’s PlayStation division announced that they have patented technology that would allow them to block second-hand games from being played on a device. The technology aims to reduce the number of second-hand game sales, which would force players to buy new titles instead of seeking a cheaper option or borrowing titles from friends.

Sony’s PlayStation division announced that they have patented technology that would allow them to block second-hand games (image: Sony)

According to the patent document filed by Sony Computer Entertainment Japan, the patent will make use of NFC-like technology. “When the game is to be played, the reproduction device conveys the disc 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 disc ID and the player ID conveyed from the reproduction device fulfils the terms of use or not.”

However, a console will have to be connected to the Internet in order to work effectively. “Where the reproduction device [console] is not connected to the Internet, use of the content cannot be controlled,” the patent document stated.

Currently, most games make use of a passcode or Online Pass to grant users access to online content, but this is not good enough for Sony. “Users may communicate to share the password between them and therefore the second-hand sales and purchases cannot be eliminated reliably.”

In the patent documentation, Sony highlighted again that the technology has been designed to curb the practice of second-hand game sales. “As a result [of the patented idea], the dealing of electronic content in second-hand markets is suppressed, which in turn supports the redistribution of part of proceeds from sales of the electronic content to the developers.”

Sony also hinted that the technology could be branched out to incorporate other content “such as an office suite, images, and music content”. But users need not fear, there are no current plans to implement it into existing consoles.

Charlie Fripp – Consumer Tech editor

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One Response to Sony patents anti-second hand games tech

  1. Walter Ludolf says:

    as far as I know buying and selling games is allowed in most countries. does sony makethe laws now?

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