News Article

Sony Patent Plots an End to Used Game Sales

Posted by Sammy Barker

Like it or lump it

Before you dive off the deep end, it’s worth noting that Sony patents a lot of things, but very few of them turn out to be genuine products. As such, a new document outlining anti-used game technology may just be another of the platform holder’s experiments. At least, we hope so.

The patent – filed by Sony Computer Entertainment Japan on 12th September – describes a potential scenario where games could be tracked by a contactless tag. Once placed inside a machine, they would be automatically associated with that system, essentially blocking used game sales. It’s unclear what would happen if the console needed to be replaced.

The full document goes into the specifics of the method in a lot more detail. You can peruse that through here. Despite the filing, though, we’d be surprised if the manufacturer implemented this kind of technology into its next machine. For starters, it would find itself at a serious competitive disadvantage if Microsoft didn’t decide to do the same. It’s also worth noting that SCEA president Jack Tretton is reportedly against anti-used game measures.

Either way, we’ll probably need to wait until the next PlayStation console actually arrives before we know how it’s going to deal with used games. Would you skip the system if it couldn’t play pre-owned titles? Let us know in the comments section below.


User Comments (20)



Epic said:

So I can't lend games to my friends and they cant lend games to me.........
If this is true I may nto get a PS4 unless they release a los of really awesome exclusives (Ratchet and Clank, Uncharted etc...).




'Fire & Brimstone-raining from the sky!'
'. . . cats & dogs, living together . . .'
'Total pandemonium!'

This would be a monumentally bad move. Even if MS does the same.
I'm sure Sony and MS realise how many gamers would be pushed to Ninty if this were incorporated in to their respective new machines. I've no interest in a WiiU, I'm not even sure if I'll want a PS4, but if I end up with a 'must buy new stuff' feeling then I'd definitely not be buying a console with such a restriction in place- rather, look to what I didn't have, like a 360 and whatever exclusives I missed.

Used games and trades are a massive part of my gaming history. They allow many people, myself included, to experienced the big titles they've missed, no longer in high demand for a great price or trade.

That said, the price of the next bunch of consoles at launch will no doubt go a long way to grab you a respectable gaming PC set up, that will play just as nicely in your living room as a console.
There have been plenty articles of late regarding the 'return' of PC gaming- as if it ever went away. But with Valve eyeing up the console space- Steam 'consoles' could sweep right in and pull the rug from under Sony and MS.



Gemuarto said:

I think they must let people to sell digital games instead of this... or let them to rent games digitally...



NathanUC said:

It's likely Sony has no intention at all to use this but instead are patenting it so that if they or anyone else wanted to offer such a feature, it'd be owned by Sony.

Personally, it wouldn't bother me with a few stipulations. They discs should register to the PSN account, not the physical hardware, have SOME way to be unlocked, work without internet, not completely ban second hand copies (how about adding those fancy ads in game for used copies. They have a patent on that too). I'm not sure how I stand on used games. I know very very rarely buy them because I feel the money should go to the developers OR from P2P (not P2B).





The EU recently passed law to nullify such action- and apparently force the ability to be able to sell your license to digital content. So it's not likely that it's going in to production. I would think it could be useful to Sony as a tracking feature though. See what games end up in different hands in geographical locations etc.

Used games are important to me.

Take the Uncharted series for example. mostly passed me by until I played through golden Abyss. I bought the PSN version of Drake's Fortune and plan to buy Among Thieves once I'm done with Z.O.E HD. At retail, Uncharted 2 is still around £14. That's fine for me, but you can get a used copy for £6. That's a big difference for a lot of people these days and a great help to allow people (rightly or wrongly) to still spend on their hobby.



Knux said:

I would immediately refuse to buy a PS4 or any other console for that matter if this happens. You start taking away my rights as a gamer on how I purchase my games, you don't get my money.

And the ironic thing would be if Sony did this, then Nintendo would have a huge advantage because they at least have the common sense to allow you to buy used games for your Wii U.



Squiggle55 said:

I usually buy new anyways, but I still wouldn't buy a ps4 if they did that. Unless they implement digital rentals.



charlesnarles said:

Computer discs are limited to 10 systems already, so wouldn't they just be protecting against making $0 when someone new plays it? "Share, but be reasonable" kinda thing? I'm sure it wouldn't do well if you only get one shot. Pokemon even changed TMs to be reusable for crying out loud



Flashman said:

No chance I would buy a PS4 if they blocked used games! Saying that I probably won't buy a PS4 anyway no matter how much it costs or how powerful it is!!

I can still feel the sting of buying a VITA!



hamispink said:

It wouldn't really effect me per se, but for the rare time that I buy used games, or sell my old games, this would suck. I'm in the camp that I doubt it would happen, but if Sony were to implement this, I wouldn't be buying a PS4 anytime soon. Not because I need used games, but because the console would fail and I'd be buying the next dreamcast.



odd69 said:

i buy new only so this wouldnt effect me, the only downside is the wait for price drops. You will be left behind, and always will be playing catch up.Im fine with that.



Stuffgamer1 said:

@Paranoimia: I was reading along, just waiting for somebody to point that out. I figure it's the surest sign that Sony won't use this patent either. They may not always make the smartest business decisions, but I refuse to believe they're THAT stupid.



Dambuster said:

@flashman, "sting of buying the vita" what getting the best hand held on the market, with some fantastic games ...... I hate it when I get stung like that!



Jaz007 said:

I really doubt Sony would do this, if PS4 did there would be no PS5. I also would boycott PS4 until this got removed.



rjejr said:

Why does everybody always talk about "used games" but nobody ever talks about "rentals"? Between Redbox and Gamefly there isnt much I need to buy.



Flashman said:

@Dambuster yes that's exactly it I am feeling the sting of buying the most powerful handheld console to be ever made!

Or maybe it's that I am regretting spending my hard earned money on a portable console that is failing to sell and looks like its gonna end up going end up in an early grave!

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