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.

I got a BA in journalism from Central Michigan University - though the best education I received there was from CM Life, its student-run newspaper. Long before that, I started pursuing my degree in video games by bugging my older brother to let me play Zelda on the Super Nintendo. I've previously been a news intern for GameSpot, a news writer for CVG, and now I'm a staff writer here at GamesRadar.