Sony Files Patent That Will Eliminate Second-Hand Game Sales

Sony PlayStation 3 | Sony PlayStation Official Website

Sony PlayStation 3 | Sony PlayStation Official Website

Sony has filed a new patent last year, and it is deemed to generate a lot of controversy if implemented in next-generation PlayStation. In September 2012, Sony Computer Entertainment of Japan filed a new patent. If granted, this could allow them to implement a new technology that could eliminate second-hand market.

Importance of SCEJ’s New Patent Technology

Entitled as “Electronic Content Processing System, Electronic Content Processing Method, Package of Electronic Content and Use Permission Apparatus”, Patent Application 20130007892 is integral for Sony. Not to mention that second-hand sales have an impact on game developers.

The development of electronic content including game applications (APs) is costly and therefore in a content business it is vital to redistribute part of proceeds from sales of the electronic content to the developers. On the other hand, the electronic content is being bought and sold in second-hand markets.

In such a scheme where the electronic content is bought and sold in the second-hand markets or the like, the sales proceeds resulting therefrom are not redistributed to the developers. Also, since the users who have purchased the second-hand items are somehow no longer potential buyers of the content, the developers would lose their profits otherwise gained in the first place.

How Patent 20130007892 Works

SCEJ’s new patent will give each game an RF tag. This tag will be remembered when a game has been tied to a different machine or user account. In turn, second-hand games will be nullified easily, as it will check for the tag before starting the game.

Consider, for example, a case where we used in 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 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.

Overall, this new patent looks like a very easy way of suppressing second-hand sales. Gamers, on the other hand, will keep on wondering as to why these platform holders are so keen on taking away the rights of the consumers to resell their game.

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