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."

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SlavisH21967d ago (Edited 1967d 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!

JoGam1967d ago

That's not the only reason why people buy used games sir.

ABizzel11966d ago (Edited 1966d 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.

nukeitall1966d 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.


"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.

knowyourstuff1966d ago

If they block used game sales I'll either pirate them or not buy a PS4, plain and simple.

harrisk9541966d ago (Edited 1966d ago )

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.

harrisk9541966d ago

Great... a Disagree... Still no answer as to what factors other than price influence used game purchases.

admiralvic1966d 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%)

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Blaze9291967d 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.

sithsylar1967d 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_Mega1966d 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.

Heisenburger1966d 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.

harrisk9541966d ago

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!

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admiralvic1967d ago (Edited 1967d 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.

Redrum0591967d ago (Edited 1967d 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.

Knight_Crawler1967d 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

sarshelyam1967d 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).

ThanatosDMC1966d 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.

SilentNegotiator1967d ago (Edited 1967d 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.

shutUpAndTakeMyMoney1966d ago (Edited 1966d ago )



1966d ago
+ Show (5) more repliesLast reply 1966d ago

If this is true the ps4 will not get a dime of my money.

tachy0n1966d ago

or you can wait and hack it to take revenge on $ony.....

sashimi1966d 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$!

slaton241966d 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


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.

CDzNutts1967d 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."


MidnytRain1967d ago (Edited 1967d 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?!"

SethAFitzgerald1967d 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.

Megaton1967d 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.

GribbleGrunger1967d 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)

Hingle_Mcringleberry1966d ago

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!!