In terms of digital ownership and security, Sony currently lags far behind Steam and Xbox—both of those companies, for instance, offer refunds and digital gifting, which Sony, well, does not. However, that might be about to change, if a new Sony patent is indicative of anything (via Jack of All Controllers).
This patent is apparently for a method of digital gifting, as well as digital trade-ins. Gifting, of course, is mostly standard on digital platforms now, but it’s trade-ins that are interesting—digital software cannot be “traded in”, which is usually a knock against it relative to physical, but it seems like Sony is at least exploring ways to enable that on PSN.
Patent filings are not always indicative of final functionality and features—a lot of time they are just preemptive, filed by companies to be monetized should another company seek to implement their functionality. I can only hope that this (and Sony’s backward compatibility patent filings) is not one of those examples, and that Sony will actually look at implementing something like this- because in terms of digital ownership, this is a massive step forward beyond any other platform on the market. Plus, digital gifting will help make up for the blow of not being able to purchase digital game codes from retailers anymore.