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What's all this, then? A US patent that Sony first filed back in 2015 has been renewed, and it's already sparked a load of speculation across the web. The patent's wording is rather technical, but the gist of it is that Sony has been investigating the possibility of digital game trading. Supposedly, this could even work with physical games, as the patent mentions "generating" a digital version of a physical title. Yeah, it certainly sounds interesting.

"At a later date, the user (e.g., owner) is free to give away, sell or trade the digital copy to another party in transaction with terms based on, for example, the determined value of the digital copy," the description reads. In other words, users would be free to move digital games onto friends or other players, if they wished.

If this has any kind of practical application, then it could be a huge selling point of the PlayStation Network in the future. The PSN has come a long, long way over the last two console generations, and it currently makes Sony a crazy amount money. It could be that the company is seriously considering expanding the overall scope of the network, and we wouldn't be at all surprised to see Sony push its booming marketplace even more with the PS5.

As is always the case, though, you can't take patents as concrete evidence. We're going to see a lot of this stuff pop up throughout the year as we creep closer to the PS5, but until we actually see patented systems or functionality in action, then it's impossible to tell whether they're actually going to be used.

Still, it's one heck of a juicy patent.

[via patft.uspto.gov, jackofallcontrollers.com]