Sony's Patent to Block Used Video Games
Bargains can be had by buying used video games. However, what if you cannot play your used video game on the latest generation of the PlayStation when it is released? Herein lies the possible fate of used video games. Currently you can visit just about any establishment, buy a used video game, and enjoy it on just about any video game console you have. However, if Sony has its way, you will not have that freedom -- that is -- if you want to play games on its latest - upcoming console, the PlayStation 4/Orbis.
Some Used video games could go the route of the space ship in the above graphic.
Since September, 2012, Sony has had a patent pending at the U.S. Patent Office that will restrict used games being played on its console. How will this be done? The technology will evolve around a radio frequency tag and a type of programmable chip that are paired with each game disc, which can communicate wirelessly with the gaming system. Since the tag and chip can store unique information about the system including "use permission" data, if there is any type of mismatch, the game will not play. On the plus side, this data match-up can be a positive mechanism to prevent pirating of video games.
Will Sony's patent to block used video games be a fight to the finish?
WIth all of the above being said, to date, there has not been any confirmation that the blocking feature will be on the next generation PlayStation video game system. And even if this is the intent, Sony could leave it up to the individual publishers to implement the used video game blocking feature. Additionally, Sony Computer Entertainment America Executive Jack Tretton has stated that he is "totally against blocking used video games."
The prospect of blocking used video games can be described as a double edged sword. On one end the video game industry may be seeking to protect their revenue streams which are drained by the sale of used video games. On the other hand, gamers may not be eager to buy a system that will not play used games, or to buy games they may not be able to resell.
Until this patent comes to fruition (if it does) and if you currently purchase used games for bargain prices, I recommend you continue to do so. I know I certainly will.