Sony files patent to block the use of used games

It’s no surprise that the games industry is cracking down on the sale and usage of used games, considering publishing companies make no money off any of those sales. However, with the new upcoming Xbox rumoured to be announced this year, and with the PlayStation 4 experience the same treatment, we’re lead to believe that used games will not work on the next generation of consoles.

The patent document (pictured above) has been outed from Sony’s manufacturing team and here’s how it works; when a game is executed on the system it will call for an “Electronic Content Processing System” which is believed to be an online signature that verifies that the game is new or used, after this process is completed the system will “Use Apparatus” to deny the use of second hand titles.

We know that each game is given a unique ID, which is then processed within the disk drive and the optical drive carrying the disk. From there, the console will be able to track whether that ID has checked in on any other consoles. From what we can see, once the game is inserted or downloaded for the first time, it transfers a block of data once to the hard drive; this process cannot be replicated or redone meaning once it’s done that game is locked to the system it was executed on first.

We know game retailer profits will suffer due to the lack of used-game sales, especially considering Gamestop stocks fell sharply after this news. The real question is, how do we feel about this and will other console makers do the same? We believe used game sales and usage may come to an end, because the hassle of buying and playing used games whether online or offline is becoming a little too difficult, but do you feel different?

Via: Wololo
Source: FreePatentsOnline | Image Credits: Wololo

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I guess I won't be buying Sony products any time soon. I'll hold off and see what Microsoft does as well. I simply will not support this kind of greed. There is always alternatives. I'll stick with my PC and Indie titles if I have to. Or worst case, I'll make my own games. I also have all my old games, DOSBOX, GoG.com, Steam... lots of choices out there.

This is a good opportunity for the competition to steal customers away from Sony by advertising DRM free games that don't restrict your customers.

What if your system break? Oh got to buy new games... Alot of ppl buy new games and like to run over to friends to play some racing or other 2+ play games. So now kids will be peddling their bike holding a play station to play with friends.... I see the DRM they put in games but they go over board... U should not need persistent internet connection... and you should be able to use your game on other consoles... This will kill off the playstation.. And better help wii and xbox sales

Argument for/against used games aside...what IS THE POINT of this patent. It makes no sense and seems like a waste of money from Sony's perspective.

From MS perspective, they have to DO NOTHING to ban used games, they could do it right now on the CURRENT Xbox 360 (for all future 360 titles).

This is how they can do it, very simple. Each new game that is released, have it come w/ a digital code.
(Games currently do this for certain DLC add-ons for day-one purchasers, it could be broadened for all games)

Then, when you insert the game into the system, it comes up forcing you to enter that code. BAM, right there, the game is tied to your Xbox live account, and thus, cannot be used on anyone else's account.

In this scenario, it is actually better than the PS4 proposed patent in that it is tied to your account, not device, so you could use it on any Xbox as long as your logged into your account.

One additional point I wanted to make, is that there are rumors that the new Xbox will also ban used games as well. (From my point above, it is already feasible to do w/ the current mechanisms they have in place, so there is no technical reason for them to NOT do it.)

From a Marketing standpoint, I see MS not forcing the issue, but rather, leave it to the gaming companies. Pretty much, they will tell them, if you want to ban used games, then give all your games a digital code. This will make MS look like a 'good' guy by telling consumers "Hey, it's not our fault, blame the Game companies"

Edited by greensabath, Jan 10 2013, 6:50pm :

Yet another marketing 'advantage' they could say is as follows.

Currently, the 360 allows you to install games to your HDD, but the disc is still needed to be put in the tray to make sure you still have the game.

If the game is 'digitally' tied to your account, then you would no longer need to have the disc present to run the game. You would only need it to 'install' on your Xbox, and that's it.

I havent owned a PS since the very first one. Guess I wont ever own pne either. Please Microosft dont do the same thing.

So what Sony, you dont get a dime from game reslaes. SO WHAT! You get what matters, the original buy which means when you sell those over priced titles, you get almost all. So what, when I get tire dof the game I resell it or trade it in, you dont get a penny. You shouldnt...u arent the one reselling it so why should you get a dime? So because you cant get a dime, you will prevent me from trading my games for another by preventing someone who buy it from legally using a game they paid for?

The last time you did such a stupid move, your servers were hacked to death and you were brought down. Go ahead Sony pull this move and the piracy community will run your ass out of business. I hope they take down your servers and make every console crash around the world. And every title you make, I hope someone pirates everyone so you dont get a dime.

Death to Sony of Japan and their crappy game consoles. Will have options...we will just give Nintendo and Microsoft all out money and when a newcomer appears like Android consoles, we will buy them instead and watch Sony die from this market. Goodbye Sony, you go right ahead and sign your death certificate. We will pirate you out of business and i will support every effort against you. I dare you to come to my house.

Is this actually legal? I have a legal right to sell something I own to somebody else. What Sony is doing is violating that right. Yes it gets tricky in that Sony doesn't need to allow that person access to their servers for multiplayer but for single player, non-online this appears to violate the law as Sony is deliberately blocking sales of my property.
Can ultimately see this going to court if Sony enact it. Perhaps a class-action suit.

HSoft said,
Is this actually legal? I have a legal right to sell something I own to somebody else. What Sony is doing is violating that right. Yes it gets tricky in that Sony doesn't need to allow that person access to their servers for multiplayer but for single player, non-online this appears to violate the law as Sony is deliberately blocking sales of my property.
Can ultimately see this going to court if Sony enact it. Perhaps a class-action suit.

No one is preventing you from reselling the physical copy you own at all.

este said,

No one is preventing you from reselling the physical copy you own at all.

No it doesn't prevent you from selling, it prevents the person you sold it to from using...which makes the sales useless and thus no one is going to buy. You obviously didn't understand the article.

Basically this new patent would mean when you sell your games you'd have to sell the system with them because that is the only system that will be able to play them. This is foolish.

If I could classify corporations by labeling them with disease names, Sony would be Gonorrhea. I never owned a Playstation. But this makes me want to get the PS4, hack the crap out of it and pirate every single game in their catalogue.

It doesn't matter what kind of storage is being used, unless they invented that type of storage. If so, then it's a type of storage that should be patented, not this primitive algorithm.

Sony without any doubt is dying, but before they got their deserved nail in the coffin, they'll f**k up everyone.

First, piracy was the big monster to be defeated. Now that this beast is "under control", they're attacking used games. What will be the next enemy?
Sony and the rest of the games industry should be concerned about making better stuff for the players, and not trying to put a leash on us.

I'll not buy any console with that kind of feature.

This, if it happens is just plain wrong. Don`t these guys realize that there is something of a cottage industry where people trade in older games + cash for the latest release. I see it as a bit of an insurance policy whereby if i just can`t get along with a game i know i can at least get something back which goes towards another purchase.
Personally i would never buy a console that had said restrictions!

This is going to happen on both consoles. Guess Wii U sales will go through the roof.
I'm more interested in the legal issues behind their plan to do this. As some have said "What if my console breaks" If the game downloads a "block" onto the system that new system is treated as new so it's now a used game. Second, when I buy a game I become the owner of that title I'm not renting it so what I do with it becomes my business (least here in Canada) Both Microsoft and Sony need to rethink their plan. If it would be me I'd allow resale but put a charge on re-enabling online play since most games are fixed to a user ID. That way companies still profit and clients know what they are getting.

I have no problems with this. This will do 2 things, ****ty games wont get purchased which will force developers to make better games due to poor sales and the prices will have to go down to justify buying those games in the first place. I hate places like gamestop, I used to work for them and I saw how they scam people out of money on "trade-ins".

Wow... Lets hope that the next gen of consoles will not have the significant YLOD / RRoD problems that the PS3 & XBOX360 had this gen... I dont even know what to think about this...

Sony is already having issues with their gaming platform...if they implement this, it would kill it all together. They are just ****ed because a lot of people will wait and buy used games instead of shelling out $60+ all the time. Why pay $60 when a month later you can pay half that.

Interesting. Be fun to watch if they ever deployed such a tactic. Basically, all the games will remain on the store shelves gathering dust and people will just keep the rented game as they couldn't use such code for rentals.

I will not purchase any console that blocks used games. I will also advise everyone I know to not buy it also. It's a horrible move for any console.

Could they turn this into a way of making money for used games. If you try and play on another console it requires you to pay a small fee to lock the game to another console.

Similar to EA's system of having to purchase an online pass to play FIFA online, that way Sony (or whoever) can still profit from the sales of used games. Just a thought.

As another member put it "i'm glad Sony patented this first" especially as i have a house running XBOX's. Let's hope it flops and doesn't give MS any ideas.

And they think the PS3 'jailbreak' is bad now, wow, can't wait to see what people do with the PS4 to screw sony over for doing this!

I hope Microsoft don't do this with Xbox. Hopefully they'll witness Sony's demise and won't attempt it themselves. This would be a deal breaker for me getting the next Xbox if MS did this. I don't care for Playstation, but if others follow suit then I will care.

These patents is simply the latest in a long line of similar patents that Sony have been filing over the years. For example, there was a patent that they filed yeeeeeears ago that detailed how they would tie a Blu-ray game to a particular console.

Doesn't mean they will use it, as companies file all sorts of patents all the time without actually using them, but obviously something to be aware of.

Glad Sony have patented this, given we have 3 xboxes in the house and no PS3s.

Seriously, if this is implemented, then I doubt I would bother buying a new console.

At the moment, with the crappy codes to get online / unlock gameplay, I have stopped buying many second hand games, but given, I don't buy full price games often (I bought one last year), I generally wait until the games are under £17.99 before buying them.

And this season pass malarky is annoying too. I can see my XBox 360 being my last console.

It may never be used. Maybe it's just so if someone else wants to do it, they can charge them, and implement it without being the bad guys?

Also, who's to say you can't use it on 4 registered consoles. Maybe you can change which consoles are registered. Ala iTunes.

Yogurtmaster said,
Nobody really knows anything about the PS4 because it seems very few developers have kits or something.

And they are probably getting rid of them now as with these kind of news happening.

Big LOL to Sony on this one. Good luck. If anything all you're doing is making it horribly easy for many to decide which next big console to go with. There are a lot of people who buy not only second hand/used consoles, but games as well.

I see this as nothing more than Sony alienating their customers and then crying that they didn't sell enough PS4's or PS5's. Something tells me Microsoft and Nintendo may have called each other up and are having a fairly big laugh at Sony's expense. I like Sony, but man do they ever make some absolutely horrific business decisions sometimes. I could also see someone finding a way around this as well.

What happens if your console breaks down and you have to replace it? wouldn't this system then assume all your games are "used" since they were locked to your old (now dead) system? it would be suicidal for Sony to force people to rebuy their bought games if this happens....

That's probably a means for them to push digital downloads, assuming that the digital version of a game is not locked to the physical device.

Xerxes said,
What happens if your console breaks down and you have to replace it? wouldn't this system then assume all your games are "used" since they were locked to your old (now dead) system? it would be suicidal for Sony to force people to rebuy their bought games if this happens....
Maybe it can be registered to PSN.

What if I told you they are actually patenting it so nobody else does it and they can ensure a future of either no used game locking or craploads of money in royalties from whoever is stupid enough to try to implement it?

So what happens if like me, you have more than one console in your house (Say, one on your main TV, one in another room for kids or something) and you want to let the people play the game in the other room while you use the main room for some other purpose (And vice-versa)?

Why is it stupid companies like Sony seem to be hell bent on punishing the paying consumer with this garbage? Region coding on Blu-Rays, Cinavia, forced trailers on discs, BS "digital copies", etc. etc. It's all only designed to punish the honest consumer, not the pirate.

In all honesty, all it's doing is fuelling the rationale for committing piracy more and more.

Since the days of NES people are used to bringing over their games to their friends house, order pizza and have a great time going through their collective libraries. That's one of the great advantages a console had over a PC. Don't be stupid Sony.

I was thinking the same. what would have been a better solution would be to bind the game to your game account so you can move it between consoles. At the same time, if you've got your game locked to 1 only, why not make the digital version free to download to said console or account? Something I bet they won't do but offer it as an 'extra' for a fee incase you damage your disc or your console dies...

talking of console's that die, the ps3 users have enjoyed a pretty easy way of upgrading their harddisk without much faffing around. Having the game's permission stored on the drive is kinda going to make it near impossible for drive upgrades.

This is a good question, I have 4 Xboxes in my house. If I couldn't move my games around the household I'd be pi**ed! Hopefully Microsoft isn't stupid to follow suit. Sony I believe is the worst when it comes to creating anti-piracy measures.

alwaysonacoffebreak said,
This was bound to happen sooner or later.

Indeed but it will only fuel the fire and Sony along with the Game Devs will ultimately lose. If people can't use a game that THEY purchased where they want and have the ability to sell that on or lend it to a mate then I can safely say a lot of people will be ****ed off. If this does come into effect then I actually think we will have some kind of revolt. If the Microsoft don't go down this saddening path then I think we will actually see users shifting platforms to the Xbox. The other thing that will happen is that an army of hackers will come together and unite against this crap. Piracy will now be the the easiest way to play your games, you can play your games the way you want and where you want with a little extra bonus, it will be free! Same things happening with DVDs/BluRay the whole FBI warning and "piracy is a crime" unskippable crap they put in and DVD copy protection which meant you couldn't simply rip it to your computer basically encouraged a lot of users to start hitting up pirate bay or other file sharing sites like megaupload (RIP brother).

Sony, you are waging a war in which will hurt your consumers and they wall call mutiny and shoot you in the back, the only real casualty being you because we as consumers have choice.

Is it any wonder people refuse to buy Sony gear any more - they waste so much money working out new ways to stop you using WHAT YOU HAVE BOUGHT, with their DRM and root kits etc. This is just another example. And guess who ends up paying for all their R&D into stopping you using what you have bought? - yep - YOU DO!

ingramator said,

Indeed but it will only fuel the fire and Sony along with the Game Devs will ultimately lose. If people can't use a game that THEY purchased where they want and have the ability to sell that on or lend it to a mate then I can safely say a lot of people will be ****ed off....

The tendency I'm seeing in society is that when you think people will be ****ed off, it turns out they are not really ****ed off and they tolerate it.

Sony's greed has always topped common business sense. It's remarkable really. Best way to punish them is to simply ignore their products and force them to come around. Either that or significantly reduce prices which defeats the whole purpose for them. They need to understand they are not the premiere anything any longer.

I would say exactly the same. I do not care about brands, I am agnostic and I open my wallet when I see a fair deal regardless of which company name is printed on the box, period.

You didn't buy it, you bought a licence. Bought implies you own the game, which all copyrights to it are owned by sony and the developers.

ingramator said,

Piracy will now be the the easiest way to play your games,

It is already. I routinely 'pirate' games that I bought so I don't need to deal with the BS.

---

As for this Patent; I never really ever sold my used games, I keep every game ever.

Also, is this really much different than what Steam does? I don't recall you being able to sell, return, borrow or steal anyone's games... Maybe I'm wrong... Everyone loves Steam.

Now, having said this, I don't support this. It sounds like I do, but I don't. I'm just pointing out some obvious holes in some peoples logic.