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Sony Patents Pre-Owned Game Blocking Technology

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Posted on January 3, 2013 AT 04:28am

Sony Computer Entertainment has filed a patent for technology designed to combat pre-owned game sales. The patent (via NeoGAF) describes NFC-style technology that tags individual game copies with information, such as if they have been played on another console or account. The system then checks these tags before starting the game and could potentially block titles that have been purchased second-hand.

The full patent can be found below:

“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.”

This patent falls in line with previous rumors which state that the PlayStation 4 will refuse to play pre-owned games. Of course this also leads to the usual questions that come up every time this subject is raised, for example, what happens if the console dies? Would you need to buy a new copy of every game you own for them to play?

Do you agree with blocking used games? Share your thoughts below.

Matthew Bennett, Associate Editor
Matthew Bennett has only been covering the gaming world for a short while, but he’s eager to make his mark. An ability to go many hours without sleep and a quick wit make him ideal for his role as associate editor at EGMNOW.com. He often thinks back to the days when the very idea of this career seemed like nothing but an impossible dream. Follow him on Twitter @mattyjb89. Meet the rest of the crew.

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