I don’t know how I feel about Sony. On one hand, the PlayStation and PlayStation 2 were great and the PlayStation 3 is solid. On the other hand, their ventures into the handheld market are iffy at best and they’re notoriously heavy-handed when trying to circumvent piracy. This bit of news sits so heavily on the “other” hand that it hurts.
Sony has filed a patent that entails tagging a game to an individual user ID or console and keeping track of how many times that copy has been accessed by varying sources. The technology continues to limiting the amount of users and consoles that a single copy can be accessed on. In short, it can completely eliminate the concept of “used games” by making titles single-user only.
This is not necessarily technology that Sony will put to use, but it is something they have available — and it is something that makes me worry about the future.
As a collector, this is terrifying. If this type of technology were available and in use in the 90’s, how would I have continued my Sega Saturn and PlayStation game collections? If this technology is in use in the future, how will collectors and gamers in general pick up titles that are no longer in print? Will we be limited to purchasing games soon after their release, lest we pay sky high prices for virgin copies later?
Here’s the real question: Why do we need to be punished? There is simply no answer to this.
While this is the worst thing possible for the individual gamer, it’s ideal for the industry. Used game sales are only profitable to those selling them — neither publishers nor developers see a cent from second-hand sales. It’s easy to see the logic behind Sony’s patent, but there has to be a better way to go about preserving the value of a title without killing its longevity. There has to be.