PS4 Games May Use Blockchain DRM Solution, Sony Patent Filing Hints

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PS4 Games May Use Blockchain DRM Solution, Sony Patent Filing Hints
Highlights
  • Sony is looking at ways to reduce dependencies on third-party DRM
  • A blockchain-based solution is one of them
  • It would not impact the user experience for PS4 owners

With the PS4 surpassing 75 million units sold and God of War releasing to critical acclaim, Sony isn't resting on its laurels. A patent filing (via Finder) from the company suggests it has plans for a blockchain-based digital rights management (DRM) solution for PS4 games in addition to music, movies, and other media available via the Sony ecosystem. In the filing the company states that "many current DRM solutions typically require a rights locker or other common storage that is managed by a vendor or a group of vendors. However, these conventional solutions may not be very reliable and rely on one unique point of failure. If the rights locker provider or system goes out of business or otherwise fails, the user loses all the acquired content." If you're wondering what blockchain is and what it can do, we got you covered with this handy guide.

What this means is, Sony thinks using a distributed blockchain ledger is a method to ensure what you buy and your right to access it as and when you please, are tied to your account, keeping it safe from hackers, Sony itself, and even the potential bankruptcy of third-party DRM vendors. While a patent filing doesn't necessarily mean Sony will go ahead with this, if it does, it won't impact how you interact with and play your PS4 games. These changes would be under the hood. Your PlayStation Network ID would be your private key that gets confirmed by the blockchain when you try playing a game you bought.

 

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Furthermore, Sony outlines the possibility of how rights are granted with the blockchain-based DRM solution, it could handle “the same or different rights on different devices, users sharing rights (e.g., family accounts or primary/subordinate accounts) and temporary sharing of rights (e.g., lending, demo models).”

This opens up a host of possibilities such a decentralised system where a portion of your PS4's power is hived off to "mine" the DRM blockchain, or perhaps allowing you to sell your digital purchases as you see fit. Would the PS Store have a resale option allowing users to recoup costs on finishing a game? And with murmurs of the PS5 hitting in 2020, could it leverage these features if they're implemented? All of this results in an interesting situation for console owners both old and new. Hopefully we'd hear more about this from Sony soon.


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Rishi Alwani Rishi writes about video games and tech. Legend has it he bleeds pixels. More
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