Tuesday, January 08, 2013

New Sony Patents Could Kill Used Games Market

The ability to buy and sale your used games has often come under fire. But never before has it faced the challenge it might soon see from Sony and a new patent that would seemingly block a gamers ability to re-sale their games.

According to reports at GameSpot.com Sony has submitted and application for an "Electronic Content Processing System" that would tie individual game discs to one user account. The original article cites reports posted by a NeoGAF user, detailing patent application number 20130007892 for an "Electronic Content Processing System" and "Use Apparatus" would associate individual game discs with matched user accounts.

A game playing system includes a use permission tag provided for use in a game disk for a user of a game, a disk drive, and a reproduction device for reproducing the game. The disk drive reads out a disk ID from the game disk. When the game is to be played, the reproduction device conveys the disk ID and a player ID to the use permission tag. The use permission tag stores the terms of use of the game and determines whether a combination of the disk ID and the player ID conveyed from the reproduction device fulfills the terms of use or not.

In essence games would carry a unique use tag and would need to be matched to a single console. Any use ID tied to another user's account could potentially be rejected by the online tracking system. The system works, according to the document, by attaching contactless RF "tags" to each game, which can be read without a network connection.

In the patent filing, Sony said in a content business like the games industry, it is "vital" to redistribute a portion of the proceeds from sales to developers, who do not see a dime from secondhand sales. Sony said though the secondhand market may expose new gamers to a particular title, in the long run, this does not benefit developers. Sony said this patent would effectively "suppress" the secondhand game market if it ever comes to fruition. This technology would also be applicable to other forms of electronic content, including images and music.

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