Internet forums are abuzz with speculation that Sony plans to make it impossible to play used or borrowed PlayStation 3 discs. In 2000, Sony patented technology that effectively marries a game disc to the first console it's put into. Subsequently, the disc would not work if put into another system, such as a friend's console or a console owned by someone that purchased the game "used." Theoretically, this technology could also put an end to the billion dollar a year rental market.
Sony has to-date kept quiet about its plans to use the technology. No official word has been given one way or the other, and most inside the company have said that they assume the technology won't be used on a wide-scale basis, but instead for "special" products such as time-limited demos or evaluation copies.
Nevertheless, the possibility that Sony could kill the used games market has sent forum-goers into a frenzy. Their ire was further fueled this week by an LA Times Article that detailed Sony's patent and included comments from industry analysts outlining the impact if Sony actually put its lockout technology to use.
At the very least, the article is worth reading. It's probably not worth losing sleep over, however. PSX Extreme contacted Sony Computer Entertainment America for a response to the article, and we were told that, as far as anyone there is aware, the company currently has no plans to "defeat the ability of customers to play used or borrowed PS3 game discs." Unofficially, of course.