For a long time now PC games and programs have always come with some type of key to install or play the software that you have recently purchased. This is called an activation key or a product key. Companies have been using this strategy for a very long time to verify if a game has been copied without authorization. In theory, one is not able to play online with the identical activation keys at the same time.
Although this method is not 100% full proof, due to unauthorized software such as keygens and product generators which have been used to easily bypass product activations.
Sony seems to have a similar approach based on the patent they filed on April 26, 2018. The code name as Sony puts it is called “BLOCKCHAIN-BASED DIGITAL RIGHTS MANAGEMENT”.
It’s still unknown how Sony will implement this method in their games, but it is nevertheless interesting since Sony and most of the gaming industry came down hard on Microsoft with there method of all Xbox games have to be activated online to play. Also if you want to play at a friends house, a new activation key would have to be brought. But Microsoft knew this was a disaster and canceled this method of an “all game online activation system” along with new product keys for used games.
If Sony decides to go all the way in with this method, it could change the way we buy, rent and play games forever going forth. Another software protection strategy is that Sony uses this by not allowing you to play downloaded purchased games without first being online, Luckily this has not been applied to disc games but it could be!
Below is just a brief look at the BLOCKCHAIN-BASED DIGITAL RIGHT MANAGEMENT filed by Sony…
1. A method for generating a rights blockchain storing rights of a user, the method comprising: receiving an enrollment request and a public key from the user; verifying that the user has a private key corresponding to the public key; generating a user identifier using the public key; and generating and delivering the rights blockchain having a genesis block including the user identifier to the user.
2. A system for generating a rights blockchain storing rights of a user, the system comprising: a registration authority configured to receive an enrollment request and a public key from the user, the registration authority also configured to verify that the user has a private key corresponding to the public key, generate a user identifier using the public key, and generate and deliver the rights blockchain having a genesis block including the user identifier to the user.
3. A method for performing digital rights management using a rights blockchain storing rights of a user, the method comprising: receiving a protected content including a content identifier, a scrambled essence, and an encrypted control word; receiving the rights blockchain and credentials of the user; searching the rights blockchain for a first block that contains the content identifier of the protected content; decrypting the encrypted control word when a signature and usage rights in the first block are determined to be valid; and descrambling the scrambled essence using the decrypted control word.
4. A method for generating a rights blockchain storing rights of a user to consume an item of content, the method comprising: receiving an enrollment request and a public key from the user and verifying that the user has a private key corresponding to the public key; generating a genesis block including a user identifier of the user using the public key; and generating and adding a new block having a content identifier of the item of content and associated usage rights.
This procedure is not yet fully explained but Sony could also go the same route as steam or a PC game or a whole different strategy altogether. If you read between the lines of the patent it sounds like Sony
trying to take full control of your purchases! But as the patent reads this also applies to movies and music as well. So what do you think of the new patent? You can check the full patent page here…