It's unlikely Sony will make use of its newly patented technology to block the use of second hand games in its next PlayStation console, Wedbush analyst Michael Pachter has said.
"This patent reminds me of SOPA (Stop Online Piracy Act), and if Sony puts the technology into the next PlayStation and any publishers attempt to limit the playing of used games, I expect the consumer backlash to be similar," said Pachter in a comment released to press.
"While it is possible that Sony intends to block the playing of used games, we do not think it is a likely result, for several reasons," added Pachter in QuickNote relating to the performance of GameStop.
"Sony benefits little from a unilateral decision to block games. The company's first party software sales represent less than 10% of overall sales on its consoles, and it is unlikely that blocking used games would result in a lift of more than 10% in new game sales. That means that Sony's sales would rise only marginally if the PS4 blocked used games.
"Sony would be materially hurt if its console blocked used games and competitor consoles from Microsoft and Nintendo did not. The Wii U is already on the market with no used game prohibition, and we believe that Microsoft would take advantage of Sony's prospective decision to block used games by marketing that its own next generation did NOT block used games. If we are right, consumers would favour the console that provided more choice, leading to loss of market share for Sony's console and a benefit for Microsoft's."
Pachter adds that it's more likely Sony will use the disc IDs to track what consumers are playing and to identify and invalidate counterfeit discs.
He continues: "Perhaps most importantly, Sony is on record as saying that it has no desire to limit consumer choice. While this statement was made by a senior official of the company who might be overruled by his superiors, we believe that a unilateral decision by Sony to limit the ability to play used games is unfriendly to consumers."
Ultimately, Pachter does "not believe that either Sony or any publishers are currently
foolhardy enough to take such a risk" and block used game sales, but the option remains for the future.
Source: Research QuickNote