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Sony and used games

The gaming community has recently been put into a tailspin about the news emanating from Neogaf that Sony recently filed a patent protecting NFC based technology used to manage content on a physical disc. With people hypothesising that this is Sony's push to quash the used game market, the response has been overwhelmingly negative, despite being based on pure speculation as to the use of the patented technology. GameStop, America's largest dedicated video game retailer, saw its stock battered on the markets fuelled by rumours it was going to lose its used game business with the next generation.

Everyone, including GameSpot's over anxious shareholders, has jumped the gun in concluding that used game sales will be targeted by Sony's wrath, and here's why.

Firstly, Jack Tretton, CEO of SCE America, has come out as being undeniably against the blocking of used game sales. Some of the business decisions made by Sony over the last decade have been questionable at best, but alienating your core userbase at a time when you need them most would be a nail in the coffin of the struggling conglomerate, and they know it.

Secondly, this is simply a patent registration. Companies like Sony have huge R&D departments, who constantly create and innovate in more than just new screen technologies or data storage. Yes, they invent things like NFC DRM, and literally thousands of such inventions don't get real world implementation, but are extremely valuable intellectual property none the less. In short, we don't even know if this technology will be used in Playstation if at all.

Thirdly, believe it or not, Sony would not go out of its way to dramatically damage it huge supply chain partners by taking away half their business. This isn't a case of 'what Sony giveth, Sony taketh away'. Instead, it's a mutual relationship that relies on support of retailers. The counter is, of course, that GameStop and others can't afford to lose Playstation, sans used game sales or not. But as someone who knows retail, I can tell you that this is not how retail relationships work. You don't purposely damage one of your biggest distribution channels- it would hurt sales far too much.

Finally, and most importantly, people are only speculating as to what this patented technology will actually be used to do. Yes, it could theoretically be used to block used game sales by tying the disc to one system or PSN account. It could also be used as a means of managing extra game content, or blocking only parts of a game, such as online play, like is done already with an online pass. There are a myriad of uses for this technology that many, including myself, have not even considered.

The point is, we're all angering ourselves over something that at this stage, is pure, unconfirmed, speculation. Instead, we should wait, and let Sony confirm whether or not the next Playstation will utilise this technology and how.

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SilentNegotiator1871d ago (Edited 1871d ago )

I wrote a fairly similar piece, but you posted 30 minutes before me. Oh well, we both have our speculation on the matter. Great minds think alike :) +1 approval

thorstein1870d ago

Except SONY came out and said they aren't blocking used games for the PS4.

sashimi1870d ago

But sites can't get hits with that kind of story so meh.

rainslacker1870d ago (Edited 1870d ago )

Did they officially comment on this patent or idea of not blocking 2nd hand games. I know people like the sensational, but I'm having a hard time finding that article. Closest thing I've seen is Jack Tretton saying he sees the benefit of that market, but he isn't the end all be all of Sony. Everything else is analysts or opinion pieces.

I'm genuinely curious, because I'd like to use that to quash fan boy idiocy that will inevitably comes from all this down the line.

To be honest with you, I'm not even positive that publishers would like a complete removal of the 2nd hand market. They talk about it negatively, but they do know the market, and they have to know that used games can be beneficial. It could be more just to dissuade people from buying 2nd hand. They also know that the 2nd hand market can lead to sales of other content long after they've stopped receiving income from the original distribution (On-line passes, DLC). It's not unlike giving away a game free on PS+, it's like free marketing, and gaining another customer.

thorstein1867d ago (Edited 1867d ago )

Not to be rude but a simple search of used games found this article 2nd on the list of articles. Of course, the opposite is true as well: Can you provide an official MS or SONY statement confirming that they WILL block used games. SONY and MS both have patents that they never intend to bring to fruition. Owning a patent doesn't precipitate its implementation.

rainslacker1867d ago

A simple search turned up a lot of articles like this, but my question was did Sony officially say they wouldn't block used games, as you asserted. This article is an opinion piece, with no official comment except to mention what I did about Jack Tretton's views on used games.

I don't believe Sony would go through with this technology, and would like an official comment to be able to quote when people make a big deal about it.

thorstein1865d ago

All right, fair point. Can you find me an article that has an official MS or Sony statement regarding used games in next gen consoles?

rainslacker1865d ago

No I can't. Never said I could. I prefer to wait until that announcement comes before condemning a company because of it. It would be one thing I would not support in any fashion.

I was just curious if Sony had made an official comment, because a lot of people were acting like it was fact. I was more interested in a way to respond to people playing the fanboy card.

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