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Sony Patents Second Hand Sales Suppressing Solution

January 3, 2013 Written by Jesse Meikle

On December 9th, Sony Computer Entertainment Japan filed for a new patent which could effectively eliminate the used games market if implemented in the PlayStation 3′s successor. The patent is the usual nearly incomprehensible technical jargon that you’d expect, but this slightly clearer quote does help illustrate how the technology works:

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.

Essentially, each game will have a special NFC tag to link it to the PS4.

The patent even elaborates on why such a second-hand sale stopping (somewhat anti-consumer) technology is necessary:

The development of electronic content including game applications (APs) is costly and therefore in a content business it is vital to redistribute part of proceeds from sales of the electronic content to the developers. On the other hand, the electronic content is being bought and sold in second-hand markets.

In such a scheme where the electronic content is bought and sold in the second-hand markets or the like, the sales proceeds resulting therefrom are not redistributed to the developers. Also, since the users who have purchased the second-hand items are somehow no longer potential buyers of the content, the developers would lose their profits otherwise gained in the first place.

I buy all of my games new, and this technology wouldn’t bother me if it wasn’t such a hindrance to borrowing or taking a game to a friend’s house. If Sony were to implement a 3-5 day lending policy where you could send disc rights to another PSN ID, then I wouldn’t have a problem with this. But, as it stands, you need to activate your PSN account on a friend’s PS3 (then download the online pass) to even play your game online on a foreign PS3 – this patent would further suppress the local social aspect of gaming.

Are you opposed to the idea of this patent wholeheartedly, or are you open to a second-hand market suspending technology that doesn’t undermine the rights of owners?

[Via]