Sony patent proposes way to stem second-hand game sales
- Posted January 3rd, 2013 at 05:01 EDT by Steven Williamson
- 13 Comments
We’ve already seen how intrusive DRM can infuriate a gaming community with Ubisoft, EA and others all coming under fire for including the controversial “access control technology" in some of their games.
But while the gaming community abhor such measures, some publishers say they need to implement the technology to protect their IP, in a bid to make games harder to copy for the pirates and to stem second-hand game sales. After all, publishers want you to buy new copies of games rather than to nab them off eBay, where they make no money.
Well, it looks like Sony is now investigating ways to stem second-hand sales. Uncovered via NEOGAF, Sony Japan has filed a patent in December 2012 that describes how it may attempt to do just that.
The main thing to pick out of it is that Sony proposes to implement a tag on games that can check whether the title you’re playing has been used on a different machine or account. It could then prevent you from playing that game.
Here’s a small chunk of the patent:
“By employing the game playing system 1000 according to the present embodiment, the use permission tag 220 together with the game disk 210 is supplied to the user, and the use permission tag 220 actively determines the use permit/rejection of electronic content. Thereby, the use of game AP stored in the game disk 210 can be restricted as appropriate according to the attribute of a reproduction device. Consider, for example, a case where used is a game package 200 distributed in the second-hand market. Then the ID of reproduction device for the game disk 210 differs from the legitimate use device ID stored in the use permission tag 220, so that the game disk can be reproduced in a mode which is predetermined for those bought and sold in the second-hand market. Also, for example, a content key may be supplied to the reproduction device 130 and the encrypted game AP may be decrypted using the content key only if the reproduction device ID matches a legitimate use device ID. Hence, use of game APs bought and sold in the second-hand market can be eliminated.”
In this section, Sony explains how it may work:
“As a technique to suppress the second-hand sales and purchase, a user may be first required to send a password or the like to a remote authentication server from a reproduction device (game player) via the Internet and the reproduction of content may be permitted only for the device that has succeeded in authentication.”
“However, where the reproduction device is not connected to the Internet, use of the content cannot be controlled. Also, where the connection to the Internet is an absolute requirement, user’s convenience may be significantly reduced. Besides, users may communicate to share the password between them and therefore the second-hand sales and purchase cannot be eliminated reliably.”
Of course many patents don’t come to fruition and many will be hoping that this particular course of action doesn’t rear its head at PS4 launch. Are you happy for publishers to add security measures to protect their IP? Let us know in the community forums.
Check out the full patent here.
- 6:21am EST - January 3rd, 2013
This is BS, big time. I want to have the choice to buy my games second hand and everything companys would do to force you to buy thier game new(only) will be sooner or later put down by motivated hackers.
- 8:18am EST - January 3rd, 2013
This would do far more damage to the gaming industry and would be suicide for Sony if they were to ever implement it. If it did happen, consumers would be very, very choosy about the games they bought. Can you imagine spending 40 to 50 pounds on a game and then realising you don't like it? Gaming companies would leave sony in their droves. Has Sony not learnt from CapCom's experience when they released the Mercenaries for Nintendo?
Gameoholic007 | Demented007
- 9:12am EST - January 3rd, 2013
All I can tell you, is I see the future of gaming getting darker and darker, consuming any light that still exists that is helping keep this industry alive. Collect as much older consoles/games as you can, because if this crap comes to surface, its going to get extremly ugly, and the price of older gaming will skyrocket. I don't think a lot of gamers will put up with this s h i t, I know I won't.
Then all of us will have front row seats, watching the gaming industry go right down the crapper! =/
- 10:23am EST - January 3rd, 2013
dont you just miss the days when you could bring your game over to a friends house and play it together. everyone always says "used game sales" "stop pirating" blah blah blah, all this stuff really does is stop you from letting your friends borrow your games and vice versa
- 12:10pm EST - January 3rd, 2013
I say once I buy a physical copy I can do whatever I want with MY physical copy I paid money for, because it's mine. If I want to sell it or loan it to someone then I don't need a company like Sony telling me I can't. Or we can comprimise, They tell me what I can and cannot do with the game I bought with my money and I can tell them what they can and cannot do with the money I paid them for their game/console. Fair deal?
- 4:42pm EST - January 3rd, 2013
This seems a more reasonable system, than the past ideas.
Funding the online gaming that Playstation gamers take for granted? Paying a connection fee for a second-hand game seems a fair price to ask, provided its not extortionate, if thats what they are getting at.
The one thing I do have against this, is that getting updates to an offline game will be impossible if you have a second-hand game. And as we know, some games require updates to function as they were originally intended. I suggest SONY only apply this to online gaming, and allow second hand games be used for offline gaming.
I also question the inabilty to take the game to a friends house & play that game online....although, in saying that.....how many gamers actually do that these days? I doubt there are very many at all tbh & the impact is likely minimal.
It would be silly to kill the market that brought gaming to its current standing in the home. Protect the market that grew the gamers while you also protect yourselves.
- 6:17pm EST - January 3rd, 2013
Since this just leads to speculation and possible dislike for SONY, why post this (pretty much)anti-SONY article? It would be a useful article had it confirmed something people would want to know., but it doesn't. Bad, bad, bad...
- 6:38pm EST - January 3rd, 2013
I've been a gamer for 25 years. Never before I have seen this amount of BS on the industry.
If this is the future of gaming, I'm going back to playing board games, or nothing at all.
Don't this a---holes make enough money as it is without adding more BS???
- 7:53pm EST - January 3rd, 2013
Looks like the lynch mob is gathering. Before all the Sony bashing begin. I heard the beloved Microsoft is planning the same idea with 360/720. I'm sorry I really can't partake in the lynching because for 1. I buy all my games new so I don't care either way. Some people treat game discs and their systems like crap. 2. People this is not new at all. PC has been doing this for many years. There's no trade in / used games with PC. You brought you own it. 3. I hate Gamestop mark up. So if this puts a dent in their business I'm all for it. I never thought it was fair to buy a game at 60 and GS say we'll give you 15-20 at most 25 for it. That's the real BS. But had all the right in the world to open the game and charge you new price for it. Inside information told me the store would allow employees to rent and try those games they sell to you for new. I have one more thing to add with Next Gen right around the corner who knows this might help them from raising prices of the Next Gen games. Just a thought. I guess i would miss the ability to get rid of those games I hate but then again maybe it will make me give those a second try.
Nathan Campbell | HolierThenThou
- 1:25am EST - January 4th, 2013
I think used games need to go because it really does hurt companies that don't sell as many games as call of duty or halo. I think in return, the games should be cheaper and reduce in price quicker. Plus have a lot better deals like steam has during Christmas and summer. As a consumer, you have to realize that they have to make money.
sharky742 | matt1y77
- 6:08am EST - January 4th, 2013
I am in agreement with #5 on this. If you spend your money on a game, then its yours isnt it? If a games store offer you a discount on buying a new game when you trade in your old ones, surely as the owner, thats your right. The trade in of second hand games for new games happens all the time at the store I buy games from. Therefore instead of just damaging the sale of new games, this practice can also support new games being brought. How often have you seen a game come out that you really want, but been short on cash....then you look at old games you dont play anymore and hey presto you can buy that new game if you trade in. Ive done it many times.
- 10:37pm EST - January 4th, 2013
Hmmm... this approach isn't very convenient for gamers since gamers have multiple systems in the house. There are other solutions though.
#1. Tag the content to THE USER ID would be preferable to the hardware. This way, we can still play the game on any machine so long as our PSN ID is logged in. This one makes the most sense to me.
#2. Isolate "the ending" as a purchasable item for second-hand copies. Much like they do with the online pass now, this initiative could create further revenue for the publishers. A free code comes with every new copy of the game to give full access. Second-hand games need to be re-initialized to the new user via a $10 access fee. This one makes quite a lot of sense to me as well, but it is my second option.
Ultimately, if they go so far as to initiate the speculated standard described in the article above, I really hope that prices drop for software because I will be a heck of a lot more picky with what I decide to purchase... and I ALWAYS purchase brand new as it is!
- 2:02pm EST - January 5th, 2013
Im all for it. Screw gamestop and there ridiculous mark ups. I hope this puts a good dent in there business. I wish people would realize that buying used game doesn't support the developer's just puts cash in a greedy man pocket. Come on people support the people that truly matter , the people that bust there rear ends so we can sit on our couch and enjoy a good story.
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