Sony just filed for a patent for a new type of game disc that would effectively put an end to used game sales and even your ability to share or trade your games with your friends. The new discs feature a memory tag embedded into the surface of the disc itself, which would record the first user ID and console used to play the game and would make it impossible for other users to play the same disc.
The new discs will also have a feature that will grant additional users “temporary use” of a disc, suggesting that while you might not be able to play a full game that somebody else has already played, you at least might be able to try it out for awhile.
There’s been plenty of rumors going around that both the PS4 and the next Xbox would take steps to curb used game sales, and Sony’s patent application today seems to suggest that those rumors might be true. It’d be an incredibly restrictive and stupid move on Sony’s part if it is true, as I don’t think most gamers out there would be very happy to see this kind of draconian DRM slapped onto their physical games. Of course, this is just a patent application, and companies like Sony file for patents that they’ll never use in an actual product all the time, so there’s a chance that this “innovation” will never actually effect us or the games we play. Still, with Sony set to formally unveil the PS4 in the coming months, the timing of this patent is definitely worrisome.