Rumors that PS4 will not support players looking to use second-hand titles will certainly see a resurgence today, Sony has filed a patent for new technology blocking the use of pre-owned games. The filing, noticed by a Neogaf forum member, reveals that the technology will essentially ‘tag’ games with information, including how many different user accounts or multiple console use and consequently check the ‘tag’ when played regardless of network connection. PC users are all ready used to these restrictions, and it isn’t much of a surprise that the new console generation may follow suit. But before panic sets in, a patent doesn’t necessarily mean the tech will be implemented or how it will be utilized. At the very least, the publication of the filing will cause an eruption in questions about what next generation consoles will bring to the table. Will it be the death of pre-owned and trade-ins, will Microsoft do the same- or use it to their advantage in the console war? Is Sony actually using the technology, or just playing around with an idea? And what does this mean for the industry if major consoles head in this direction during a tough economical climate.


“According to the present embodiment, realized is the electronic content processing system that reliably restricts the use of electronic content dealt in the second-hand markets. As a result, the dealing of electronic content in the second-hand markets is suppressed, which in turn supports the redistribution of part of proceeds from sales of the electronic content to the developers. Though in the following description a game application (AP) is exemplified as the electronic content, the present embodiment is similarly applicable to various kinds of electronic content such as an office suite, images, and music content.

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.”

If Sony follows through with the technology, will it factor in whether or not you’ll pick up a PS4? Let us know!

Read the full patent here:


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Nikki P
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I'm Nikki and I like video games.