Sony patents pre-owned games block

Technology 'tags' games that have been used in different consoles

Sony Computer Entertainment has filed a patent for technology designed to suppress pre-owned game sales.


The patent - originally spotted by NeoGAF - describes NFC-style technology that 'tags' individual game copies with information such as whether they have been previously tied to different consoles or user accounts.

The system checks with the tag before playing the game and potentially could block playback of titles that have been purchased second hand.

The filing lines up with previous PS4 rumours claiming that Sony's next console will lock out pre-owned and used games.

The patent reads: "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."

Sony Computer Entertainment America CEO, Jack Tretton has allegedly gone on record that he's against the idea of implementing a used games block, according to a conversation cited by analyst Michael Pachter.

According to Pachter, Tretton's view is that used games are "great for consumers" and to block them would be an "anti-consumer" move. However, it was noted that these are just his personal opinions, and it may well be that Sony Japan, which usually has the last word, feels the opposite.

Employees of studios including Crytek and DICE have said they're open to such a move.

The patent, of course, doesn't guarantee Sony will decide to implement the block.

Other Sony patents unearthed recently include one which describes a system that stops your game and display an advert.