There have been rumours that both the Playstation 4 and the XBOX 720 may be designed in a way which will prevent gamers from playing used game discs.
A patent recently taken on by Sony revolves around a system wherein games will be identified with specific gamer accounts through an activation code. Should both upcoming consoles take on this technology, players might not be able to lend their game discs to friends, much less sell them on.
Such moves in the past have naturally led to a large backlash from gamers. A similar system previously used by Ubisoft was scrapped for just such a reason. It brings on a number of questions: what right does a video game company have to control goods which they have already sold? Will this encourage more gamers to move towards pirated copies? How will this influence the popularity of Sony and Microsoft’s competitors, if Nintendo chooses not to take on this technology? Worse yet, what are we supposed to do if we make the mistake of buying a game which is just sincerely, genuinely god awful?
This new system may keep players permanently tethered to their restrictive accounts. Records of what codes have been activated on their accounts will reveal exactly what games they own, what they have the right to be playing, and will ultimately govern exactly what they will be playing. Supposedly this technology will allow gaming companies to sell their games cheaply, though this seems about as that fan made PS4 design which comes with a built in grill.
With everyone anxious over the information on the release of the Playstation 4 coming on the 20th of February, at this stage it is clear that speculation on whether this system will be introduced remains just that: speculation. It would seem, however, that as the quality of the games we play moves into a new generation, so too do the rules of the industry.
Is this technology the answer to piracy, or an attempt to milk the previously inaccessible money of second hand market? As with most questions relating to these upcoming consoles, we shall see soon enough.