Sony has a patent to prevent PlayStation 4 from playing used games

Matt Hawkins Contributing Writer, Video Games

The message is clear: Sony hates poor gamers.

gamestop Sony has a patent to prevent PlayStation 4 from playing used games

Wikimedia Commons

The biggest game related story of 2013 (thus far) is easily the discovery of some wacky patent that will allow Sony to prevent used games from being played on the PlayStation 4. By the way, how was this information disclosed in the first place? By some random dude on a message board. Naturally.

Basically, an RFID tag would be stamped onto all game discs, which in turn would track their usage history and restrict them to just one system. This would require the console to have an always-on internet connection for verification process.

Forget how Big Brother this entire scheme is, and instead consider how poor Sony’s online infrastructure is. Given how the PlayStation Network is always down, that would mean many instances in which one cannot play the game that was purchased legally, all because some stupid server was down.

This move is a direct retaliation against used games retailers, who make mountains of money, all for themselves. And it’s true; when GameStop sells a game secondhand, they keep all of the profits, with none going to the original game’s maker or publisher.

Needless to say, the nation’s largest retailer that’s dedicated to games is probably none too happy with such news, though perhaps worse to them is how their stock took a considerable hit after the news started making the rounds.

I’ve voiced my annoyance with GameStop plenty of times, but there is no denying that it’s an invaluable resource to some. Like those who don’t all that much cash to go around; the $5 you save on a used game is hardly worth it in my eyes, but for some poor little kid who has pinch every penny will think differently.

Still, this is just a patent that was discovered and it doesn’t mean that Sony will necessarily use it. In fact, some analysts believe that going ahead with such a plan with be the stupidest move imaginable for Sony, since every gamer who buys used games will automatically move onto Microsoft’s or Nintendo’s platform.

But then again, given how they still refuse to lower the price of the Vita, I wouldn’t be surprised if Sony did in fact go ahead with such a plan.

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