Sony Files Patent for New Console Anti-Piracy Technology

Published 2 years ago by

Piracy has always been an issue for developers on any platform. As quickly as new measures of protection are created to counteract the production and distribution of illegal software copies, hardware and software is also developed to circumvent these systems. It is this game of cat and mouse between developers and end-users that Sony seems to hope to settle on the PlayStation 4, which was announced on Wednesday?

A recently published patent from Sony details technology that would check how long a selected game takes to load, then compare it to a set benchmark, or average. If the load time of the media in question is beyond the acceptable range established by Sony’s benchmarking system, it will not be loaded. An excerpt from the patent explains the process in more detail:

What is claimed is:

  • 1. A method for validating legitimate media products associated with a legitimate media type, the method comprising: loading a first media product having a first media type on a computing device; measuring a first load time for the first media product on the computing device; establishing a threshold range of acceptable first load times using a second load time associated with the legitimate media type; and determining whether the first load time is within the threshold range.
  • 17. A system for validating legitimate media products associated with a legitimate media type, the system comprising: a computing device that loads a first media product having a first media type and that measures a first load time for the first media product; a processor that calculates a second load time for the legitimate media type, establishes a threshold range of acceptable first load times using the second load time, and determines whether the first load time is within the threshold range; and a memory coupled to the processor.

The patent application was filed in August of 2011, but has only recently been published — lending a bit of credibility to the idea that it could be an active technology in the upcoming PlayStation 4, a system Sony hopes will revolutionize how interactive entertainment is perceived and used. This technology is also not limited to simply loading a disc or downloaded title, but is a system that can persistently check data seek times throughout gameplay. In such a case, time benchmarks would go from seconds to milliseconds, narrowing the focus of the anti-piracy technology to a fraction, and with it the room for error on Sony’s part.

Sony Anti Piracy Patent Explained

Sony may use the anti-piracy system demonstrated in this graphic for its upcoming PlayStation 4 system.

Despite this, the system could be very successful in decreasing the amount of piracy currently plaguing the video game industry, provided it is not circumvented by end-users who wish to avoid the hefty price tag associated with many retail games. In any case, the technology should be successful in keeping developers from resorting to more ruthless means of DRM, such as Ubisoft‘s notorious “always-online” anti-piracy system, which as only recently stopped. Keeping the focus of anti-piracy technology on the media in play is the first crucial step to satisfying both developers and players, allowing for a stronger bond between the two, and against those who illegally distribute “cracked” games.

Ranters, do you see this technology working in Sony’s favor, or are you concerned that it may interfere further with you and your gaming — provided it is in fact set to work with the PS4? The full patent application can be viewed here.

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Source: DarkZero

TAGS: PS4, Sony


  • COREY_1993

    hmm… devs are really going to be happy about this! xbox will need to get on board with this too because there could be a lot more devs making games exclusively for ps4.

    im fine with it because i dont pirate games. it will only help the industry and if people really want to play games they will have to buy it now. pirateing does nothing for anyone, well except for the person stealing.

    when you say “are you concerned that it may interfere further with you and your gaming” i assume you are talking to the thieves right?

    • jaydoggy

      cool u dont pay 60 dollars go psn get triple a gaes 5-20 thats why playstation rules no need for pirte games

      • JT

        Is English your first language? That was painful.

        • Joer

          That was more than douchey – just saying.

      • Shane

        I believe the translation for him is:

        “You don’t have to pay 60 for a new game because you can buy a lot of cheap games for 5 – 20 dollars on the PSN store”

        • COREY_1993

          thank you XD

  • Atomic Gumshoe

    it depends on how reliable it is. I’m not sure how consistent load times are so it would be a problem if there was a problem with the disk and the PS4 just decided it was pirated software or something.

  • Dante

    I love that people are out there actually trying to find a way to combat piracy while not giving the honest consumer the shaft.

    Bravo Sony.

  • jaydoggy

    if these keeps up company will start to turn to sony to keep form getting hacked thats why google playstation rules

  • DarthMalnu

    As long as it works properly and in the background then it’s an awesome concept. I’m all for snuffing out piracy, though the usual means only end up inconveniencing honest gamers.

  • jummijamjamas

    This could be interesting. A problem which may occur is that as the console ages the load times might become out of sync with what is considered acceptable. Slight faults with the laser or hard drive could cause this. A scratched disc could also cause problems. Let’s hope it works

    • RLTW

      thats why they test the product before they release it, if it would be that much trouble they wouldnt release it, besides im sure they will print a car code on the outside of the game like they already do and use that, and if you scratch your disc then you arent taking care of your games anyways

      • DarthMalnu

        sounds like *somebody* doesn’t have toddlers about the house!

        • luke perry glover

          Or an original 360 lol

          also remember there was the red ri g of death for the 360 and yet it still came to the market….but i like it better than ps3 anyways personally

  • tim

    that processing can be cracked after several months or a year for sure, it’s like releasing jailed iphone for the first time

  • angel Zaragoza

    They could always use the PS camera:
    Please place game infront of camera…. Scanning… Verifing Authenticity… Verified… Please proceed to insert game. *On screen: Serial numbers match those identified by those in both data and image…Loading….

    • doc

      Not feasible.

  • buddy4095

    The way I see it, illegally copied data would load at the same rate as a legal copy, so how does that work ? what if your machine was slower than your buddy’s machine ??

    • gaygamer22

      thats the part im most worried about. what happens if the system starts to run slower as it gets older? this isnt a good idea.

      • ChrisTypeR

        Pirates do take longer to load up, sometime quite noticeably so. The laser may be able to detect scratched etc due to depth and the ps4 diagnostic will be able to tell how fast the laser reads and will adjust accordingly. Innovative from Sony and I’m all for it, Microsoft will never do anything like this, no idea why as Xbox piracy is huge, can only guess they loose 30% of sales worldwide to piracy and this is why Microsoft will loose exclusives. Microsoft and loaded anyway so a loss here and there is not going to hurt too much whereas this is the last roll of the dice for Sony so it’s got to be right. I’ll be buying one of these beauties on day one!!

        • ChrisTypeR

          Spelling mistakes a plenty, dam auto spelling iPhone rubbish

        • doc

          The patent sketch you see up there isn’t innovative at all.
          It is extremely generalized and I am 100% sure this simple principle has been considered and by many developers and perhaps dismissed due to potential problems with deteriorating materials or uncertain hardware properties.

          The success or failure of this system lie in the technological details, if they managed to work out the bugs, fine. But that oversimplified patent exists for no other reason but to make sure sony are the only ones who can employ a time-based system. Typical obstruction strategy.

    • xmisfit666x

      i would guess it depends….if its loaded from an external or internal hard drive more times than not it will load faster than a disc would…but i cant say for sure with copied disc’s etc as ive never used burned games much

  • angel Zaragoza

    There is already retina scans and finger prints scanners to determine ones identity are you telling me that the same cannot be accoplished for games is just plain rubbish there is no cannot science like life will find away… And unfortunately so will the pirates