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Author Topic: Sony patents system to block second hand game sales  (Read 8440 times)

Garoth Moulinoski

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Sony patents system to block second hand game sales
« on: January 04, 2013, 10:35:26 am »
The idea has been toyed with, but apparently Sony actually patented a way to make it work:

Quote
silentbrad writes in with a story about a Sony patent that would block the playing of second-hand games.
"... the patent application was filed on 9 December 2012 by Sony Computer Entertainment Japan, and will work by linking individual game discs to a user's account without requiring a network connection meaning any future attempt to use this disc on another user's console won't work. The patent explains that games will come with contactless tags that will be read by your console in much the same way as modern bank cards. When a disc is first used, the disc ID and player ID will be stored on the tag. Every time the disc is used in future, the tag will check if the two ID's match up and, if not, then the disc won't work. The document goes on to explain that such a device is part of Sony's ongoing efforts to deter second-hand games sales, and is a far simpler solution than always-on DRM or passwords. It's worth noting that Sony has not confirmed the existence of the device, and the patent doesn't state what machine it will be used in, with later paragraphs also mentioning accessories and peripherals. ... There's also the issue of what happens should your console break and need replacing, or if you have more than one console. Will the games be linked to your PSN account, meaning they can still be used, or the console, meaning an entire new library of titles would need to be purchased?"

Link

I can only imagine this hurting Sony. I see what they're trying to do (help developers and publishers earn money), but they're doing it wrong by tying it to the console. Tie it to an account and people may complain less. Although, it's not like authors and publishers prevent people from sharing and selling books (and physically distributed music, movies, and other objects). *shrug*

Thoughts?
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LostTemplar

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Re: Sony patents system to block second hand game sales
« Reply #1 on: January 04, 2013, 10:53:56 am »
I'm already looking forward to purchasing titles that aren't in print anymore.

What a stupid idea.

DankPanties

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Re: Sony patents system to block second hand game sales
« Reply #2 on: January 04, 2013, 11:40:43 am »
I still haven't read Sony confirm or deny this accusation.  It's still classified as a rumor right now.

However, I don't doubt that eventually used sales will go away as mandatory measure eventually.  Publishers and developers don't make money off used game sales, neither do the platform holders receive licensing royalties unless the game is sold new from a primary distributor.  So to get rid of used game sales in theory means more money for the platform holder / publisher / developer.  It also means I won't buy any console that won't let me play used games on it, because fuck that.  I've played maybe five games in my whole life that were worth $50-60.

granz

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Re: Sony patents system to block second hand game sales
« Reply #3 on: January 04, 2013, 12:11:17 pm »
Sony has pulled all sorts of similar stunts in the past. Bottom line, big corporations tend to be unscrupulous. Nothing new and shocking about that.

That said, I don't think consumers would tolerate this, especially if it drives away good third party developers. (and it will) There would be absolutely no incentive to purchase such a console, much less develop anything for it.
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Nightcrawler

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Re: Sony patents system to block second hand game sales
« Reply #4 on: January 04, 2013, 01:08:20 pm »
If they are serious about reducing or eliminating used games ales, why can't they do it in a consumer friendly way? They need to keep games available for purchase longer and they need to gradually reduce pricing as titles get older and older. If they did that, used games would mostly go away on their own. Instead, they always take the forced hand approach trying to make everyone bow to their will. Corporate greed again...
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MisterJones

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Re: Sony patents system to block second hand game sales
« Reply #5 on: January 04, 2013, 02:57:42 pm »
_-|-_

SargeSmash

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Re: Sony patents system to block second hand game sales
« Reply #6 on: January 04, 2013, 03:03:23 pm »
The problem with this is that many people finance their new game purchases through the sale of their older ones.  Unless they want to remove a significant portion of the market, as well as a significant portion of their advertising, then this is a terrible idea.  The industry has somehow convinced themselves that this is a good idea, but fail to see the true ramifications of their actions.  It's short-sighted greed, pure and simple.
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Garoth Moulinoski

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Re: Sony patents system to block second hand game sales
« Reply #7 on: January 04, 2013, 03:09:18 pm »
But... if you buy a used game, play it, sell it back to buy another used game, you're essentially doing nothing to support the developers/publishers. You're giving money to the store (quite literally, in many cases, since at least Gamestop doesn't give more than pennies for even the newest games).
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SargeSmash

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Re: Sony patents system to block second hand game sales
« Reply #8 on: January 04, 2013, 04:23:19 pm »
Well, this may be true.  But that's the owner's prerogative.  I should be able to get value out of a product I purchased.  Somewhere, someone down the line is going to spend that money on a new game.  Or something else entirely, which helps someone else.  It's better than games sitting moldering on the shelf, at least for non-collectors.
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Garoth Moulinoski

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Re: Sony patents system to block second hand game sales
« Reply #9 on: January 04, 2013, 04:29:01 pm »
Perhaps, the problem is more "there are too many games". On top of that, games are spread across multiple platforms. It can become a problem to a lot of people. On top of that, a lot of players are actually 20-30 year olds who are mindful of what games they play. So, they actually do look out for how much money they spend.

...And I don't know what I'm getting at here. There's 30 minutes left until I'm done for the day and I can't wait.
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Re: Sony patents system to block second hand game sales
« Reply #10 on: January 04, 2013, 04:35:13 pm »
But... if you buy a used game, play it, sell it back to buy another used game, you're essentially doing nothing to support the developers/publishers.

So? It's entertainment, things have a tiny half-life. The publishers aren't helping by sitting on their licences instead of taking care that their entire backcatalog is available completely all the time.

On the PC there hasn't been a real used-game market in years. CD-Keys and account linking saw to that. But no one really needs to buy used games anyway, since prices drop naturally 5 times as fast as on the consoles. Console games are just overpriced as heck due to publisher enforcement. They create the demand for affordable used games themselves, so they'll have to live with the consequences too. This is nice negative press for Sony, I hope they'll choke on it.
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Garoth Moulinoski

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Re: Sony patents system to block second hand game sales
« Reply #11 on: January 04, 2013, 04:43:43 pm »
Aye... That is true. Can't argue with you on that.

I think that's what Nightcrawler was getting at; that Sony should look to that model instead of this thing they want to do.

Also, I did mention that no one really bats an eye when books are resold... So, yeah, corporate greed. But I like taking an opposing side for the sake of argument! XD
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Re: Sony patents system to block second hand game sales
« Reply #12 on: January 04, 2013, 05:35:28 pm »
The Supreme Court was recently looking at a case about college textbooks where the publisher was suing a guy who bought the books cheaper from a foreign country and then sold them for profit over here as "used".   The publisher claimed the person did not own the "text" and therefore could not sell it.  The defense was that it was no different than a yard sale since the texts were paid for legitimately beforehand. 

I don't know what became of the case. 
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Re: Sony patents system to block second hand game sales
« Reply #13 on: January 04, 2013, 06:15:25 pm »
I still haven't read Sony confirm or deny this accusation.  It's still classified as a rumor right now.
Do you really need Sony’s say in it when the USPTO lists the application?

The Supreme Court was recently looking at a case about college textbooks where the publisher was suing a guy who bought the books cheaper from a foreign country and then sold them for profit over here as "used".   The publisher claimed the person did not own the "text" and therefore could not sell it.  The defense was that it was no different than a yard sale since the texts were paid for legitimately beforehand. 

I don't know what became of the case. 
It’s been heard, but the decision probably isn’t going to be announced for some time.
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Re: Sony patents system to block second hand game sales
« Reply #14 on: January 04, 2013, 06:35:12 pm »
Not a fan of this direction they are taking with this... I smell class action lawsuits in waiting...

Do you really need Sony’s say in it when the USPTO lists the application?

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danke

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Re: Sony patents system to block second hand game sales
« Reply #15 on: January 04, 2013, 07:00:51 pm »
What about game rentals? Don't companies need licensing from the publisher to do that in the first place? Or will Sony offer rental-friendly discs, or possibly even temporary authorization? Or have game rentals essentially died out?

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Re: Sony patents system to block second hand game sales
« Reply #16 on: January 04, 2013, 07:12:30 pm »
Didn't Nintendo try to block rentals back in the day?  They didn't win.
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Re: Sony patents system to block second hand game sales
« Reply #17 on: January 04, 2013, 07:24:10 pm »
Quote
if you buy a used game, play it, sell it back to buy another used game, you're essentially doing nothing to support the developers/publishers.
The title was originally purchased once by the retailer, so they were at least originally paid for the game.  These may or may not all be completely sold. 
There's a nuance right here. 
Before you had purchased it used some number of people had to resell the titles.  The number of people who had sold it will directly impact the resale price.  So, effectively, there's several conditions on the resale price:
1) demand for the game
2) number of copies available (returned)
3) scarcity, aka number of titles originally sold
4) availability, especially after the sales cycle

A good game people aren't willing to part with will have a resale value relatively close to the original purchase price.  Case and point: any Nintendo first-party title.  Crummy games will always have a low price unless it's a collector's item.  Relatively scarce, high-demand titles will only grow in price over time to the point where they well exceed original sales price.
Then we come to the case of a game that sold extraordinarily well.  They've made a killing on it already, but obviously if you sell a few million copies of something there's going to be a few available to pick up.  The good game at a better price.

Picking up used games within days of the release?  The resale price on any title worth purchasing in the first place is going to be nearly the same as the original purchase price, if you can even find it.  The number of copies available in the resale market will only be a fraction of those originally sold, and only a fraction of repurchasers will part with their title after playing it.  The longer the sales cycle the more of a tradeoff you'll see, and of course piracy is an entirely different matter.

Mind you, there's other factors to concider with resale, such as reliability.  Is it worth 10% off if the disk isn't in tip-top shape?  Personally, I'm loath to trust repurchased disks and try to keep it to carts.

It almost seems this push is to enforce something like a perpetual release.  Steam and the various platform-based download schemes cater to this kind of thing already.  Didn't play Metal Gear Solid on PSX, PC, or any of its rereleases?  Well, it's still available.
So, you have the perpetual download plan combined with enforced disk checks.  Bypassing DRM is one less thing for publishers to bother with, but it prevents somebody from reselling a product.  The product's sales cycle then spans indefinately, with no self-competition.

Or so they think.  First thing that comes to mind is falsifying whatever response the theoretical PS3000's responding with or bypassing it entirely with a BIOS hack, etc. 


Then you have Nintendo, where Wii hacking is software-side only and its community has made a point of self-regulating to prevent rampant piracy.  Not that it doesn't happen, but the most well known tools don't provide for it and many others have the inherant (and usually overinflated) risk of bricking.  As far as I know they don't have plans for disk protection, and with the exception of the iQue and the NES haven't implemented anything to prevent it.

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Re: Sony patents system to block second hand game sales
« Reply #18 on: January 04, 2013, 10:22:04 pm »
Meh.  Every protection scheme gets defeated eventually, right?  If these things use writeable RFID tags, someone will find a way to re-write them one way or another.  Or just crack the BIOS as per usual, or something.

(...I guess I am a little surprised that there's still no easy way to burn a disc that will play on an unmodified PSX, but I'm sure someone would have figured that out eventually if modding didn't become so accessible.)
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Re: Sony patents system to block second hand game sales
« Reply #19 on: January 04, 2013, 10:53:31 pm »
You can easily make a legitimate PSX/PS2 disk, you just need the right burner and Sony's burning tool, and the consoles will recognise it perfectly fine. The docs and tools are part of the leaked PS2 SDK.