It just came out that Sony may have filed a patent for technology that would allow them to lock a game to a console, a clear step towards killing the used game market. Now, I am by no means a supporter of the people that go out to save $5 and then turn around to bitch about Gamestop cutting profits that go to the actual developer and publisher. However, I also believe that the used market is incredibly important, especially in a world where games aren't available any where near day one digital, or often ever. For example, if you want to buy a PS2 game these days, chances are it'll be used, just because it's been so long since most of those games have been manufactured, so they are only available used. If the PS2 had this kind of technology, they would have stopped producing units far longer ago than they did.
While I understand the desire to fight used games sales, I think this is a hugely inappropriate approach. Eventually these games aren't going to be available brand new, and then what? People will just be out of luck? And what if your console is bricked, or you want to play at someone else's house? As far as I'm concerned, it should be completely illegal to put these kinds of limitations on a disc. If I have a PC game with a key, as long as I have the key, I can install it on any PC I want, unless I have some EA game from 2008 when they were charging for redownloads/installs after the first five.
So, do you guys think they are doing anything beyond snatching up the patent and prepping for a time when this might make more sense? Or are they serious about this? Are they really going to try and cut off the thing that kept the PS2 alive as long as it managed to stay around? It'll be a real shame when they sell out of a game, and then those copies are totally useless because you can only do so much with one game. There is a time and purpose for used games. Getting rid of them entirely will hurt sales of the hardware and it's not going to look good to anyone. While developers depend on NEW game sales for revenue, they are also made up of a lot of folks that play games, and I find it hard to believe there are many gamers out there that would be supportive of this kind of move. Anti-Piracy measures are one thing, but increasingly limiting the uses of a legally purchased item is a dangerous road to go down. What happens when the blu-ray player in my PS4 dies, and I have to get it replaced, but all of my games stop working because Sony is stupid enough to make the drive the thing that does all the identification work? What happens when I want to upgrade to the new shiny (or in the case of the PS3, matte) slim PS4, but none of my games work because it's a new console?
Anyway, what do all of you think about this precedent? It seems like more and more of this stupidity is going around, with the WiiU's absolutely dreadful file and account systems, New Copy DLC, etc. While I wasn't too worried about this before, because a lot of it has been so short lived that I expected it'd be more of a fad as publishers and developers worked their way up to an idea that helps both consumers and creators. But this puts a more serious edge on things. A console maker taking such a bold stance on this issue could spell trouble down the line, leading to a similar domino effect to EULA changes that've come about over the last year or so. I'm still not crying end of the world, but I'm a bit more worried than I was before.
Just a note, I think this has ramifications well beyond Sony and wanted to use this as a forum to discuss this concept in general as much as Sony's move to patent this technology, hence putting it in the General Discussion board.