There have been news of a recent patent filed by Sony Entertainment of Japan. There is speculation that it could have an affect on the Playstation 4 console which is under development.
With the Playstation 3 having been on the market for several years, there are talks about the Playstation 4. Not much information has been given out; but, it is reported that the Playstation 4 may not be called “Playstation 4.” You have to remember that Sony is a Japanese company. When you count in Japanese, 1, 2, 3, and 4 is counted as “ichi, ni, san, and shi.” In Japan, shi means “death.” In the case of using numbers or other symbols that revolve around “death,” it is understandable. It would make it look like that it would be the end of Sony's Playstation consoles.
Also reported is that the Playstation 4 will not have any backwards compatibility. That means do not scrap your Playstation 3 console when Playstation 4 comes out. Instead, “classic games” can be played through Gaikai's cloud service. Currently, this console is under the pseudonym “Orbis.”
With recent news, there is talks about a patent that Sony had filed back in September. The patent which is called the “Electronic Content Processing System and Use Permission Apparatus.” Under this parent, you wouldn't be able to use second-hand games on the Playstation 4/Orbis system. In this respect, each game copy would have an individual user ID. However, nothing has been confirmed yet. It was just revealed that Sony has filed this patent.
The article on Digital Trends talks about how if you were to buy a game off of eBay or bring a copy to a friend's house that also has the console, you wouldn't be able to play it. That game title was meant to be specifically for your Playstation 4 console. In short, under the patent, the Playstation 4 console would be unfriendly to second-hand markets.
However, nothing has been confirmed yet. It is unknown if the recent patent Sony has filed will apply to the Playstation 4 console or whatever it will be called in the future.
Currently, it's just a rumor with little information to go by. According to Kotaku, this could be just a rumor. It talks about rumors of the Playstation 3 not accepting used games; but, the rumors were unfounded.
An article of Nasdaq strongly believes that it's just a rumor. It explains reasons the Playstation 4 will allow you to play used games. The first reason it lists is the possibility of anything that causes your console to die out. The second reason is that consumers may end up boycotting future Sony game consoles allowing its competitors to capitalize.
Specifically Nasdaq lists these reasons: the patent could be a dud, patents need a proof of a concept, and the retailers could fight against the patent.
However, the rumors have already caused some damage to GameStop. A Kotaku article reports that the rumors of the recent Sony patent caused the stocks of GameStop to drop down by five percent. The same article also reports that Sony has little to gain and much to lose if the patent is not a dud. If Sony actually went through with such a patent, Microsoft and Nintendo would end up gaining and capitalizing.
An IGN Entertainment video uploaded onto YouTube talked about that the patent might not actually go through. It explains that Sony may not even use the patent even if it has filed it. Also, it talks about the issue of second-hand markets and the talks of buying games digitally instead of buying games physically. In short, while this is still a rumor, the aspect of this patent does raise up many questions.