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Sony hopes to patent game demos that 'erode' over time

PlayStation 3 maker has filed a patent application for demo versions that lose functionality as time goes on--and prompt players to buy the full version.

Sony patent
Sony, via USPTO

Game demos have become de rigueur for publishers. To help entice gamers to plunk down their hard-earned $50 or $60, companies will often put a sample level from their games on their Web sites, Xbox Live, or the PlayStation Network. Until now, those demos have remained static, meaning publishers effectively give away a chunk of their games in the hopes that it will lead to consumers scooping up the whole thing.

Sony, apparently, wants to change the demo paradigm. Its application to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office became public on March 4 and was uncovered by Siliconera. In the application, the company describes a technology to make demos that lose functionality over time. The more a player plays the demo, the more features of the demo will cease working--and the more it will ask the player to buy the full version.

Read more of "Sony patents demos that 'erode'" on GameSpot.

Correction at 7:10 a.m. PST March 9: This article and the original version of it on GameSpot incorrectly described the status of the patent application. The application has been filed and was officially made public on March 4.