A clever bit of automatic deduction could help block users playing pirated versions of Sony games in the future, with the company patenting a system that compares load times to see if it's playing off an official disc or a dodgy cheap burn.

Sony's system sees it check load times against a benchmark. If you pass this initial test the game loads, and away you go into the future to shoot some aliens. Fail this test and the machine will harvest more user information to carry out a "secondary verification" before deciding if you're a genuine buyer on an illegal warez criminal. Or just someone with greasy fingers and dirty discs.

The patent also contains a benefit-of-the-doubt option, which ranks the "user reputation" of the person trying to play the title. Presumably, over time, if you show a pattern of playing games that don't conform to the average load and installation times, you're more likely to set off the ban alarm and be blocked from playing games. [Free Patents Online via Dark Zero]