Sony patents used-game blocking tag system

Sony has filed for a patent on a new piece of technology intended to block second-hand game sales by tagging user IDs directly to the game's physical medium. The patent application from Sony Computer Entertainment filed in September and published today was spotted by a NeoGAF user (via Eurogamer.)

The patent outlines a system which uses a near-field communication device inside the game package (like those in some credit cards or even Skylanders figurines) as a "use permission tag" to pair a unique disc ID number with the player's ID. This way, the system would be able to tell if a game is new or not without an internet connection.

"As a result, the dealing of electronic content in second-hand markets is suppressed, which in turn supports the redistribution of part of proceeds from sales of the electronic content to the developers," the patent reads.

The system might not outright block used games--the patent also detailed a system which could use the chip to allow a certain number or time limit for plays. This could also be used for destructible physical demo desks.

As is to be expected, there is no indication of whether Sony will use this system in its next console or even at all. It would certainly add expense to each physical game, which would need its own individual NFC chip, but with the patent on file Sony has the option if it deems it worthwhile.


  • Yetiman131 - January 9, 2013 2:37 p.m.

    Wait, are they finally making crappy DLC for consoles too? Quick question though, what if you lose the case or store them outside it? Cause they'll have to plan for it and this means that you have a very simple loophole to exploit. It will simply make sure that pre-owned's cost slightly more , and destoy the environment even more... Great job Sony!
  • jackthemenace - January 7, 2013 10:01 a.m.

    For Christ's sake Sony. It's like you want gamers to hate you. This stuff's all well and good for marvellously rich heads of multi-billion dollar companies, but it's not as easy being a student.
  • LEGOMatrix - January 5, 2013 9:03 p.m.

    Any chance they could be patenting the idea so nobody can use it?
  • CountRichtertoffen - January 5, 2013 8:16 p.m.

    Wait... "a certain number or time limit for plays?" That sounds like it could be used in an absurdly greedy way. Does that mean you could end up paying for a game twice if you play it to the time limit? That would essentially be a really, really expensive arcade game if you think about it.
  • joewilcoxson - January 5, 2013 4:30 p.m.

    I'm not 100% against this concept, because it works well on PC, but that is only because most PC games can be had for so cheap. I don't mind not being able to trade a game back in if I only paid $5-10 for it. That being said, I'm sure the games industries plan is to lock a $60 game to the console and not even consider selling the games for much cheaper.
  • justin-hughes - January 5, 2013 12:17 p.m.

    from what ive gathered from this article and others around the net. It pairs the disk with the console, not your i.d! making this the stupidest idea ever!! how many of us are on our 3rd or 4th PS3? if this technology pairs your disk with your console, when you upgrade or replace your console, you have to replace all your games!! and you cant trade them in, because they only work with your old console. They are also talking about putting this tech in dvd's, meaning the dvd will only work in the first player you put it in. so no more taking a dvd to another room to enjoy, youll have to take the dvd and the player!!! total crap!!!
  • KnowYourPokemon - January 5, 2013 7:59 a.m.

    If this ends up in their next console I foresee a lot of modded sony consoles in the future...
  • Tranquilbez34 - January 4, 2013 10:25 p.m.

    Seriously? do you want game stores to go out of business? Pre-owned games and trade ins are the back bone of this industry. Without Pre-owned games, there would be no game stores, no game stores there would be no consumers, no consumers means no games industry, Sony I love you but seriously, don't you even fucking go there!
  • winner2 - January 4, 2013 4:27 p.m.

    I really can't find anything good that could come out of using this in their next console. But I won't buy the console at launch anyway, I'll wait a good deal of time and think about it some more.
  • ertywerty - January 4, 2013 10:21 a.m.

    This is bad even if you dont re sell the game... What about if a friend wants to borrow a game and they can't use it because it's linked only to your PSN ID.
  • Travia220 - January 4, 2013 4:09 p.m.

    Simple, your friend should go and buy the game. Simple Concept.
  • ertywerty - January 4, 2013 10:14 a.m.

    I don't like this move by Sony... i've had a ps3 since its release And im considering buying a PS4 when it comes out but with all the stuff that has happened with Sony this past year I might be leaning towards MicrosoftNext time.
  • Travia220 - January 4, 2013 4:10 p.m.

    If this becomes a reality do you think Microsoft won't follow a similar route? You'd have to be kidding yourself to believe Microsoft is happy with used game sales as well.
  • ertywerty - January 4, 2013 6:49 p.m.

    Yes however it could work in Microsofts favor as they can wait it out and see if Sony's strategy works and how it affects their system sales and wether they would implement it. I think it's a lose-lose situation and people will disagree with things no matter what.. That what makes this such an interesting issue as technology in concoles advances and the use of digital distribution does and limitations to # of downloads per user too.. Very similiar to CD's and they way they slowly declined with digital distribution
  • ertywerty - January 4, 2013 6:55 p.m.

    On one hand you have the developers who are losing money because of second hand game sales, However if this is implemented on Sony's next generation console this too will affect the stores that re sell second hand games and because of this the people who buy games get affected as well as there is tighter security measures..I was mad when EA started having online passes so friends can't use certain features... Can u picture full game disks that Other people can't even use as its linked to your ID that's just too far IMO, they need to find a balance where developers get some profit without needing all the heavy security
  • sandplasma - January 5, 2013 3:03 p.m.

    Not necessarily, MS will see how badly Sony screwed up and will be the "savior" console making millions at Sony's expense.
  • KA87 - January 4, 2013 6:12 a.m.

    And Sony takes last place in the next gen race after a competely stupid and unneeded move. Congrads.
  • shawksta - January 3, 2013 7:19 p.m.

    Good thing its just a patent, it still needs to judged to be accepted or rejected. In sony's perspective, im sure there is good reasoning, as the used/rent sales are hindering to some aspects. For now, its just known as a patent, not too much to worry about, for now.
  • Basque - January 3, 2013 6:57 p.m.

    Well...guess I can just sell my PS3 and 39 games for an Xbox now...way to further alienate your customers, Sony. I see a stock drop coming...
  • avantguardian - January 3, 2013 5:11 p.m.

    i don't see how sony can do this to themselves, unless all gaming platforms have a similar practice. they'll just be pissing in their own cornflakes.

Showing 1-20 of 39 comments

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