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Submitted by TheGamerDood 626d ago | article

Examining Sony's Internet-free method for blocking used game sales

A newly published patent application filed by Sony outlines a content protection system that would use small RFID chips embedded on game discs to prevent used games from being played on its systems, all without requiring an online connection. Filed in September and still awaiting approval from the US Patent Office, the patent application for an "electronic content processing system, electronic content processing method, package of electronic content, and use permission apparatus" describes a system "that reliably restricts the use of electronic content dealt in the second-hand markets."

Used game sales continue to be a major concern for many big-name publishers and developers, who see the practice as a drain on the revenue they earn from selling new software. Sony's patent explicitly points out that suppressing the used game market will "[support] the redistribution of part of proceeds from sales of the electronic content to the developers." (PS3, Sony)

SlavisH2  +   626d ago
The only way sony could get away with this is if new game prices drop. If new games on ps4 were 39.99 but blocked used games. I think alot of people would support them plus revenue would still go up! People buy used because new game prices are to high!
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JoGam  +   626d ago
That's not the only reason why people buy used games sir.
ABizzel1  +   626d ago
I completely understand both sides.

For the gamer it sucks as far as sharing and buying games from other people. But this is more so a stab at Gamestop than it is to hurt gamers. Gamestop makes billions each year, and the majority of those sales come from their used games of which the developers & publishers see none of.

Now take that $1 billion, and say 100 good games came out and they split that billions even. That's $1,000,000 per studio. Now let's use the same setup, but a realistic number such as 20 great games in 1 year that's $50,000,000 those studios are missing out on. That's a lot of money and that $50,000,000 could have easily funded a year's worth of DLC for the game and a good portion of funding for the sequel.

It's no wonder Sony and highly likely MS are doing this, and I'm sure the 3rd party developers and publishers are on their backs about this as well as their stock holders. No company wants to lose money and the used game market is the biggest culprit of stealing from their business.

My guess is there'll be a limit on the amount of times you can use that disc on multiple systems, before it locks to those consoles (maybe 3 - 5 times like PSN use to do). The majority of households have 1 console, and it's extremely rare for families to have more than 5. If they did do something like this would you be satisfied with the results.

It's also a way to get people to go digital only, and leave behind physical media which again saves billions (if the PS3 didn't need a Blu Ray, it could have been sold for $399 easy day 1, and there's no need to buy billions of Blu Ray disc to copy games to for developers).

I don't agree with the way they're going about it, but I can't blame them. If someone's stealing from me, and I can find a way to stop them I would.

Gamestop games are $55 for recently released used games ($50 if you have a membership). And with online games having Online passes now, you might as well buy the game new. The only time used is worth it is on older games, or the rare Buy 2 get 1 free sale. That being said new games need to work on their pricing as well. After 3 month drop that price from $60 to $40. After another 3 months drop it from $40 to $30. After a year drop it from $30 to $20 (aka greatest hits) and sale a GOTY edition with all the DLC for $40. Games that are over 2 year old shouldn't still be $40. And buying digital copies of games should save you a few bucks instantly. Those are better options than trying to prevent used games completely if that's the goal of this patent.
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nukeitall  +   625d ago
I can't stand behind this sort of scheme to block used game sales.

If that was the case, I personally would have no issues supporting piracy instead.

@ABizzel1:

"I don't agree with the way they're going about it, but I can't blame them. If someone's stealing from me, and I can find a way to stop them I would."

Used games is not stealing in any way or form. Reselling a legally obtained copy of a game is my right. That is why we have the "first sale doctrine" that ensures that the copyright holder gets their *FAIR* share of the sale, and no more.

Copyright holders shouldn't enjoy an additional profit from second hand sales or force consumers to only buy new.

If any console manufacturer did that, I would not buy their system and advocate piracy on their system. They truly deserve to fail! That is just going way too far.
knowyourstuff  +   625d ago
If they block used game sales I'll either pirate them or not buy a PS4, plain and simple.
harrisk954  +   625d ago
@JoGam
Ummm... why buy used games if not for the price? Lord knows that you don't save much money on a newer used game (at least not at Game Stop), but people still like the $5 (give or take) savings. Personally, that is the reason I shop on Amazon -- new games are often times less expensive than used games on Amazon!

But, if not the price, then why wouldn't gamers want to support the developers?? They don't create games for free, you know.

To say that people do not buy used games for the price is intellectually dishonest. What other reasons are there? To support Game Stop??

Seriously, I would love to know.
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harrisk954  +   625d ago
Great... a Disagree... Still no answer as to what factors other than price influence used game purchases.
admiralvic  +   625d ago
@ harrisk954

Rarity, out of print, older, things of this nature...? A lot of games have really small production runs and become extremely hard to find / rare with no signs of a reprint. Prior to Neptunia getting a reprint (I think it got one...), a used copy sold for 60+ dollars on ebay. If games have a low production run / sell out in a retail store and don't go digital... resale is the only way to ever play them. (past piracy, though even thats not 100%)
Blaze929  +   626d ago
the day you tell me I can borrow or let my friends borrow my game is the day I stop gaming. Period. What do they think families all play on one system and buy multiple copies? $59.99 a pop is already hard enough.
Blaze929  +   626d ago
cant*
sithsylar  +   626d ago
100% agree with you and you watch there will be people who love this idea.... I just fear since jrpgs come out in limited quantities games WILL go dead...
Neko_Mega  +   626d ago
Don't know about everyone one, I got me Call Of Duty BO2 Care Package for me and my sister.

But it is true that not everyone can come up with that much money, but that really is the problem for most people. Most of the time they don't know if the game is worth getting or something else.
Heisenburger  +   626d ago
While I wholeheartedly agree with your sentiments regarding used games, I sincerely doubt that you will stop gaming.

At least I hope that you don't.
harrisk954  +   625d ago
@Blaze929
I totally agree. Why video games should have some different classification from other property is beyond me. When I buy any other product (from a car to a house to a toaster), I can resell it because it belongs to me. Next thing they'll tell us is that we can't sell our PS4 or Xbox 720 hardware because we only have limited license to use the consoles. I am sure that there will be litigation if this was attempted and the Courts will have to sort it out.

On another note, it is unlikely that Sony or Microsoft (remember there were stories about the next Xbox having similar used game protection a few months ago). There are often patents filed for that are never used. Tech companies use the patents as leverage to force others to pay them royalties.

Anyway, we shall see!
admiralvic  +   626d ago
Doubt it.

A lot of people forget that many consider the ability to resell a game (didn't like it, lack of time, got it for free with PS Plus, platinumed / won't ever play) as part of the games value. Even if I save $20 dollars on the current MSRP (not that hard with all the deals going around now...), I will be less incline to try a weird game as I will be accepting more risk. I think this will be true for many people and will cause more problems than the actual act of buying used games.
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Redrum059  +   626d ago
Someone had to say it, thank you. Without the ability of buying a used game for a cheaper price or reselling a game if disliked will cause consumers to take less risks on purchasing New IPs . New and innovative franchises will massively decrease while milked franchises will disgustingly increase. Say goodbuy to (insert new IP title) part *1 and say hello to (milked franchise/COD) part *10.
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Knight_Crawler  +   626d ago
So let me get this straight...I should pay $39.99 for a game and not be able to trade it or sell it once i get bored of it -_-

What if my PS4 breaks down, are my games useless or would I have to contact Sony and give them my purchase code so they can update my new PS4 to play the game.

Anyone trying to justify this needs a reality check and get help - It could be MS or Nintendo doing this and my comment will still stand THIS IS MADNESS
sarshelyam  +   626d ago
I highly doubt your games would be useless. Just like the PS3, I would imagine the SEN would allow you to deactivate old systems, and activate new ones...thus transferring licensing rights along with your SEN/PSN Account settings, download list, subscriptions (which include online passes), and more.

Personally, I don't see the issue here. I buy my games new, and those games I do buy pre-owned, I buy for single player purposes only (locking out multiplayer/online passes being the greater focus here it seems).
ThanatosDMC  +   626d ago
It will probably be tied to your account. It'll probably be more like Steam. I cant share any or all my steam games unless i gave it someone.
SilentNegotiator  +   626d ago
I hate the idea (but I'm not worried because I think this will just be another one of a million patents that don't get used, or else the method will just be used for "bonus" content like they do now, but without need of online connection).

However, the idea that it would doom the ps4 is comical. Look at how many rights we've already given up to corporations in the last decade. Heck, if one system did, it would probably become standard within a generation or two. Go back in time to the early days of online gaming and tell them about how we have online passes, content passes, online DRM, save file DRM, etc.....they would think the industry would be doomed trying those things, too. But here we are, with a game industry bigger than ever and more oppressive than ever.
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@SlavisH2

Yes!!
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DoubleAgent   626d ago | Spam
lfclee  +   625d ago
Who knows?
BLKxSEPTEMBER  +   626d ago
If this is true the ps4 will not get a dime of my money.
tachy0n  +   626d ago
or you can wait and hack it to take revenge on $ony.....
sashimi  +   626d ago
Yes cause that's the reasonable thing to do, not walk away and look at other options. While we're at it, M$ forces XBL gold to play online so i'm going to hack it to take revenge on M$!
slaton24  +   625d ago
microsoft was talking about doing the same thing at the beginning of last year or was rumored to...back in jan i believe...its not just sony planning this
BLKxSEPTEMBER  +   625d ago
Yeah but did ms actually do it? You have a link to this story? And if ms does this with the 720 then they to will not get a dime outta me.
CDzNutts  +   626d ago
Again this makes no sense. So I can NEVER bring any of my discs out of the house to show my friends on THEIR systems?

"Hey buddy can I borrow that game?"
"Nope, sorry, I already played it on my system. You'll have to come over instead."

Dumb.
MidnytRain  +   626d ago
That probably sounds like a good idea to a greedy exec.

"Why should two people get to play it for the price of one?!"
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SethAFitzgerald  +   626d ago
Any support Sony could have potentially gotten from me on this, was lost when I realized it would also block using games on other consoles (AKA at a friend's house.)

Video games are meant to be social entertainment, and if you take away the ability to bring your game to someone else's house, then you take away part of what the games were initially meant for.
Megaton  +   626d ago
Unsurprising move from the company that brought the world rootkits on music CDs and SecuROM to PC gaming. Just another dumb idea in the name of "hey, we might be losing a few bucks, so we're gonna jam you up with a bunch of BS, just in case". These simpleminded tactics hurt revenue by creating consumer resentment, adding to whatever you believe you're losing through used games or piracy.

If they go through with this, all Microsoft has to do is not follow their lead, and Sony's done in the hardware business. They're not standing on strong footing like they were with the PS1 and PS2. This is a really stupid move at a volatile time.
GribbleGrunger  +   626d ago
You know, Sony must realise that the PS1 and the PS2 were helped to a 10 year lifespan BECAUSE of the second hand market. With that in mind, it seems an odd move to make. So ... perhaps the patent is there to prevent the industry going in that direction. While Sony hold this, other console manufacturers would struggle to try it (if the patent is broad enough)
Lol. So SONY are doing this to save the industry from other console makers who might want to do this? Wow bro, really? That is pretty creative, and extremely naive.
Sony care so so much!!
air1  +   626d ago
Stupid if true.. Talk about a waste of money and resources, why not just come up with better incentives to buy digital? Why not just sell the games at a cheaper price online instead of still charging 60 when the middle man has been cut out..

It comes down to greed they hate used games sales but really dont try to compete..
kevnb  +   626d ago
people buying and trading at gamestop are to blame, trading in for peanuts and buying used to save $5.
vega275  +   626d ago
that's not true. I'm sure people buying used games are saving far more than $5 dollars which is chump change.

i would rather send $65 dollars on a new game than get it for $60. if i buy a used game it's usually for $20 dollars and because i have a discount card may get it cheaper than that for older titles.
ginsunuva  +   626d ago
Gamestop's used games are almost always $5 below the retail price. So unless the official price drops, the used one won't either
vega275  +   626d ago
Again why only pay $5 dollars less for a new title when you can get it new. That foesnt make sense unless you that cheap. You buy a used game cheap when its been on the stores shelves for months at a time and get it for $40 or lower. So to claim people are doing to save $5 dollars is idiotic when they can wait s month or two and get it under $40-$50 dollars depending on the game and if you have a gamestop card. Ger it cheaper than that
Xklaw  +   626d ago
when this happens, i will finally mod my console to play free pirated games and give sony and all those other companies that like day one dlc´s and similar practice, the middle finger
SAE  +   626d ago
exactly , either this or stop supporting them , this could be true after the pass code and the lock of vita features , we buy and sell for thousands of years and now sony want to change that , it's just stupid ...

i know some poeple dont want the vita because it's tooo complicated , i think about the limitation more then playing , im afraid i will do the same if ps4 used the same policy ..
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TheRealHeisenberg  +   626d ago
I currently have two PS3s and two 360s and I'm trying to convince the wife to let me get a third PS3. Yes, I don't like moving consoles from one TV to another. I love the fact that I can use my games on any of their respective systems. I most likely will not be getting a PS4 if this would prevent me from having a similar setup with that system.
KrisButtar  +   626d ago
i own 3 ps3's, not sure if you know this but you can only have 2 activated at 1 time, for me that means that my ps+ games cant be played on 1 of the systems along with some of my downloaded games purchased digital cause you can only have them on 2 machines

on topic i 100% agree with what your saying about the ps4 and my friends and i borrow games back and forth all the time, and we all own more than 1 ps3, i think it would hurt hardware sales
meatnormous  +   626d ago
I have 3 also and its a pain if I want to play a game in the basement if the wife is using the tv in the living room. The only 2 systems activated at one time sucks.
profgerbik  +   626d ago
So people would rather have companies closing down left and right because of how it is now isn't working? Or was really thought out? I can straight up tell you myself I haven't bought a new game in years other than a few for my Vita.

So yes it's just me but I am not the only one and it's obvious how much this is actually affecting developers, they aren't making nearly as much money because before people wanted to buy new games.

I understand prices for games are too high but why don't you look at the economy as a whole? If people had better paying jobs they wouldn't mind spending more on games but everything in this world becomes more expensive while jobs end up paying us less and less. I can't stand how everyone focuses on petty crap like this when it isn't the source of the problem.

Many people can't get jobs that pay well, it isn't Sony's faults, Nintendo's fault or even Microsoft's. I can only blame people for putting up with this shit and taking it up the ass without ever fighting for more.

What is dumb to me is that no one is making money anymore from gaming, what is dumb is that studios are closing all over, good studios because they are literally making no money from the games they create and sell.

What is dumb is people are so self centered they would rather fill their own personal needs than see a company be able to succeed. It is a huge problem, maybe not for you since you aren't the studios being shut down, you aren't the companies who have to support these developers and seeing no return in revenue, so why would you care.

One thing I hate about humanity. They are so quick to judge but they never want to understand anything. It isn't hard to understand why they are doing this and I promise you if any of you were in their position right now you would be doing the exact same thing when you see Gamestop/Ebgames is making more money off the games being made than the actual developers of these games themselves.
profgerbik  +   626d ago
I could careless, I am glad they are doing this, hopefully it helps gaming for the better and people feel more secure developing games for platforms now. I am absolutely fed up how gaming has become.

Developers are so scared to release this or that on that system or this system simply because they are afraid they won't make any money. So now Sony actually does something about that and actually possibly insures a better future for developers and every ones get's butt hurt?

Oh no I can't trade games with my friends, I can't make money off my games.. Give me a break, they don't give you shit for games anymore anyway.. Fuck they won't even give you cash for games anymore.. So what the hell are you whining for? You are getting a crappy in store credit. I remember when you got cold hard cash and weren't forced to throw that money right back into some game stores bank account.

Sure an in store credit sounds great but the only people it's helping is the damn store. They are getting the money back they just gave while still selling your used games for real cash, not credits.

This will be better for gaming as a whole, developers won't be so afraid now to lose investments they have put work into.

Bravo Sony, Bravo for actually caring. Bravo for actually taking a stand and actually trying to do something different. I mean it's just like money period, look how much problems exist in this world due to a simple piece of green paper but no, no one can think of a better system for people to live their lives with?

No it all has to do with greed, people don't care about a better future, people don't care about others living equally people want to be the best, they want to make sure no one else can, they only want what they want.. I hate Society.

So again Bravo Sony, things are screwed up and you finally actually did something about it. Maybe we will see more games across all platforms now, just maybe we will see better games altogether now that they know they can actually make money off them. How things used to be, sure it may be different because as always people abuse whatever they can, then they want to complain when shit like this happens.

I can't complain I was one of the people who bought nothing but used games and I could actually afford new ones it really wasn't the problem, the problem was if I see a game for cheaper used, I am simply going to buy it.
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sithsylar  +   626d ago
You are missing the massive point that sticks out like dog balls. Do you really think they make enough new games that will stop the need of second hand market???? You are only hurting yourself by liking this idea.... damn sheepeople.
knifefight  +   626d ago
"I could careless"

What does this even mean? Do you mean "I am careless," because if that's the case, you should be more careful. The world is a dangerous place. Yesterday I was careless and almost hit a cyclist with my car.

Or do you mean "I could care less," which doesn't match the rest of your post, because it means you care?

I'm sorry, but the meaning of your post is unclear.
GribbleGrunger  +   626d ago
LOL. I think he meant 'He could not care less.' Eh, but you know that you terrible person.
TheRealHeisenberg  +   626d ago
Wow, you certainly have some strong feelings on the matter. I have not bought many used games and I have not sold any of them so it won't affect me really. I do however own multiple PS3s and 360s. I like the convenience of just taking a disk room to room vice taking a console room to room. I should be allowed to have that flexibilty in my own house with the systems I purchased.

I understand that these companies need and should be able to make a profit from their games but I hope it is not carried out in a fashion that would limit me in my own home.
rainslacker  +   626d ago
Most money made on a games release is in the first month of sale. Within that first month of sale, finding many of those games on the 2nd hand market isn't as easy as it would seem, particularly for less popular titles. There's a reason GameStop offers more money for new releases...it's supply vs. demand.

If a game doesn't sell well in it's first month, then it's rarely due to the 2nd hand market. It does effect long term sales of the product...ie. over the course of the next year...but in the same vein, those people trading in are often using that credit to purchase new games.

Publishers may not like the 2nd hand market, and obviously they are doing things to recoup money from that market (DLC, on-line passes, etc), but they aren't so ignorant to believe that their profit margins are greatly affected by that market. At times it can even be beneficial to them.

Cutting out the 2nd hand market would have immediate and long term negative ramifications to the gaming industry. I'm all for supporting a developer, but at the same time I don't believe that these same developers or publishers I support should remove our choices as consumers. Nor do I believe that we should just lay down and take it on behalf of the developers.

Here's a crazy thought. Instead of blaming the 2nd hand market, why don't publishers make games that people want to keep.
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zebramocha  +   626d ago
And you know that for a fact that second hand purchase help the gaming industry,and how can they make a game some one wants to keep?because people are different,I would imagine a task like that would impossible to accomplish.
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rainslacker  +   626d ago
No I never stated it was a fact, only that at times it can be beneficial to them. I don't know this as a fact any more than you know for a fact that it is harmful

If your going to respond at least offer a counter-argument instead of trying to discredit my argument by implying I'm ignorant.

As far as making a game people want to keep. Obviously people are different, and some people just aren't going to keep games past their initial play through. But a counter-argument could be, how many of those people would purchase the game new, knowing that they would be stuck with it forever. Or how many of those people that would have traded it in for a new game now can't, so they don't purchase a new game.

In answer to that, it's unknown, and purely speculative, along with all the other scenarios that people come up with. And that's the problem. People are going to cherry-pick these arguments and discuss them without agreeing that there are pros and cons to each side. For the most part I prefer to err on the side of the consumer, as I am one.

If companies want to implement something like this, then it's on them to provide evidence to support why it's beneficial to us, or overly hurtful to them, and prove that it's worth my money. What they'll find by not doing so and then implementing it, is a huge consumer backlash, that will harm them far more than the actual locking-out of games would cause.
zebramocha  +   626d ago
@rain I didn't try to discredit you or assume you were ignorant but your wording came of as fact instead of being suggestive in nature, which is why I ask you that question.
KrisButtar  +   626d ago
you make some very good points, i myself when buying games always buy new unless i cant find it new and i always wait for sales for a lot of games.

by not letting me borrow/lend a game is wrong and in my eyes and cost them sales as i borrowed far cry 2, loved it so i pre-ordered far cry 3, same as with demon souls to dark souls.

Gamestop/Ebgames are a problem but this way hurts the gamers, would there be a way for Gamestop/Ebgames to pick up the tab somehow.
ALLWRONG  +   626d ago
This is why the F2P (free to play) model looks more and more sexy. I would rather have some of the game than a complete lockout.
XBBONED   626d ago | Spam
Allowen  +   626d ago
All publishers of non digital media are loosing a lot cash to stores such GameStop that sells used games and don t pay a single penny back to the devs.

What Sony is trying to do is to help the devs that are loosing (or not winning) cash each day.
This is almost a legal piracy to resell games where many stores are getting rich with this metod.

Again, it is not Sony doing this by the sake of doing it so they win more money.... it is a DEMAND from the developers that are getting robbed in a side from piracy and now as well by this " legal" piracy as I would call it for now.
Veneno  +   626d ago
If this happens as well as no backward compatibility Sony officially has become major dickheads.
USEYOURFIST  +   626d ago
This will not be on the ps4 in the way people are thinking, it would be comercial suicide!! if anything it will be just for the bonus content!....that being said if im wrong and sony do this i will be very suprised and will not be buying a ps4.
kainslayer  +   626d ago
c4eva,kakaroto,kmeaw, and all the other hackers that escape my mind right now will have a blast cracking it cheers!!!!
grassyknoll  +   626d ago
I how this us never used. It's not just used game sales anyway; There would be no rentals, you would be unable to take games to friend & families houses & what if you console breaks down. The reality is many people sell their old games to buy new ones too. This system would be far more damaging to a console than the used market ever could be.
black911  +   626d ago
Everything has to do with money. I only buy used because its cheap. But my guess is this is all leading to digital Downloads only and the extinction Disc.
TheKayle  +   626d ago
not a prob most of ps3 users have the console hacked...so...
dragonyght  +   626d ago
you guys are uproar about this. than what happen when has gone completely digital
lastnameiodfogewiuh   626d ago | Spam
MYSTERIO360  +   626d ago
I totally understand the need for corporations like Sony to block used games. Im sure this will increase the number of subscribers to rental game services if they're able get a license to unblock their games. I think this method would work better if subscription providers worked out a deal with game development studios to share the money made.

If all this doesn't happen i imagine this would be a great incentive for people to upgrade to PS+ with a monthly vote on game titles.
DivineAssault  +   625d ago
i buy used games to try them out & see if i want to keep them or not.. I dont mind paying full price for a good game.. But if the game sucks & i cant take it back or trade it in for very much, i wont be too happy
Mikey Mike  +   625d ago
You guys realize if this technology comes to the PS4, then SONY just won the next console war. Developers will leave the competition in droves because the used game market has essentially killed developers profits. It's all about the Benjamins.
Raoh  +   625d ago
Has arstechnica or anyone here investigated this for Microsoft?

http://kotaku.com/5879202/s...

January 2012
Notice how that rumour doesn't have a patent filed by Microsoft to support it?
Raoh  +   624d ago
True, but outside of this sony patent, sony has been rumored to be doing this since before the announcement of the PS3.

And each time the media goes ape crap over sony doing this but goes mum on the rumor of microsoft doing it.
MasterCornholio  +   625d ago
All 3 manufacturers have some sort of patent that works against used games. I hope that Microsoft, Sony and Nintendo dont ever use them.
mochachino  +   625d ago
Getting rid of used games will decrease new game sales. I almost never buy a new game without trading in a old one. A lot of games just aren't worth keeping. If I can't sell trade in PS4 I'll end up buying less games, or I'll just get a system that allows me for a used games market.
annus  +   625d ago
It's funny seeing people say how terrible people who download games for free are, yet bitch when Sony tries to combat this as well as actually make it so they and the devs get some of the money instead of all of it going to a retail store and not helping Sony at all.
crackforgangstas  +   625d ago
Lol, all the hot stories are about this patent nonsense...
zimain  +   621d ago
What about game rental services?

How will this affect the likes of lovefilm and Blockbuster (if they still exist)?????

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