On September 12, Sony Computer Entertainment filed a patent application with the US Patent and Trademark Office for a “Use Permission Apparatus” connected with a game system. Even if you don’t speak lawyer, the implications of the patent application are clear… Sony wants a way to chain disc-based games to a user account and/or game system.
This patent application comes on the heels of a March 2012 rumor that specifically linked a universal online pass system to the PlayStation 4/Orbis. Such a system would effectively require all used game buyers to re-authenticate their used games (likely for a small fee) through an online service like Sony’s PlayStation Network.
It should be said that, for now, this apparatus is just a patent application and exists only as drawings and words on a computer. There’s no guarantee that it’ll be included in the PlayStation 4/Orbis. And unless Sony wants to incur the greatest fan backlash ever, I doubt it’ll ever be included in any system.
[Source: Free Patents Online]