Sony Has Patented NFC Tech to Block Second Hand Games

by on January 3, 2013

Sony Has Patented NFC Tech to Block Second Hand GamesPublishers have been fighting a battle with second hand games for a while now. The fact that money is changing hands on their products, without them seeing a penny has led to infuriated rants among many within the industry. 

Today, a NeoGAF user has found a patent that that was filed by Sony Japan, that proposes to stop second hand games sales. The patent, which was filed on December 9 and we saw on Eurogamer, appears to be for NFC tech that will recognise whether an inserted game has been played by another user, under a different account. If that is the case, the system basically blocks you from playing said game.

It should also be noted that the patent claims that this idea cannot be implemented when the player is not connected to the internet, meaning that “second-hand sales and purchases cannot be eliminated reliably.”

Sony Japan’s patent goes into further detail about how this tech would deter the second hand games market much more powerfully than the online pass, for instance. Temporary access to a product or/and a limit on the number of uses a disc would have, are also mentioned with regard this technology.

No specific console is name-dropped in the patent, but the mind can’t help but think of the next PlayStation. Patents are constantly being filed by all of the major games companies, and it must be noted that they don’t all come to pass. However, the games industry as a whole, hasn’t been hot on second hand games, making this patent just a little more scary.

We all have our own opinions on this matter, so why not let us know yours in the comments section!

Leave a reply »

  • Rotmm
    January 3, 2013 at 11:37 pm

    Generally speaking I don’t trade my console titles as I’m a collector, so something like this would not impact me as much as others.
    However, as a general principle I’m not overly in favour of something like this…. though we have all sleepwalked into single-user purchases anyway with the whole digital download thing. Braid is mine and mine only. I can’t give it to a friend, or sell it on ebay. And if someone wants to buy it today on the Xbox? Well, it’s 1200ms points…. the same as when I bought it at launch.
    I can only see a technology to tie game to a single console reducing competition (against used) and keeping software at close to RRP for many months or even years.
    To me that is a real problem because I like to support developers and buy games new, but I’m neither financially in a position to buy 3-4 £34-£45 games a month or realistically able to play that amount either. But I do like to buy 1-2 release date games during the busy periods and then pick up those games I’m not quite as keen on for £20-£30 new during the lean months. If they are still near RRP 3-6 months later they will not end up in my home.
    That said, I can’t see Sony introducing such a protection as it would be suicide for them among the gaming community.


  • January 4, 2013 at 8:28 am

    The only way I can see them even close to getting away with this is if it means every single game can be properly installed to the console. IE, put the disc in once, install, never need the disc again – have your entire library on the console.

    But even then, it’s not a great idea. But being patented doesn’t mean they’ll use it, it could just be proof of technology and protecting the tech.

    It is weird that people get upset about 2nd hand sales being stopped, but only on discs. Nobody ever really complains that (like you say Rotmm), you can’t sell your digital purchases.


Leave a Response