If you haven’t been living under a rock or in an ancient Mayan cave, you probably heard of the giant multinational company Sony. Sony Interactive Entertainment is a huge video game company that is famously known for its Playstation gaming consoles. We have Sony to thank for blessing our existence with critically acclaimed games like The Last of Us and God of War. Recently, Sony has been testing many strategies to elevate the standards of its technology and consumer experience. The company recently announced its loyalty program of rewards, Playstation Stars. In addition, a Sony patent has risen to the surface that describes NFT and blockchain technology incorporation.
Sony’s NFT Journey
The Sony patent is not the first attempt for the company to plunge itself into Web3. Actually, Sony had already launched an NFT collection in collaboration with Theta Labs back in May 2022. The collection is unique digital collectibles that work on Sony’s Spatial Reality Display (SRD). The NFT collection featured 10 Tiki Masks and holders of these NFTs with a US shipping address received a free SRD, which is around $5000!
Moreover, Sony held a survey at EVO 2022 asking players what kind of NFTs they are willing to purchase. The survey contained questions like “Which of the following NFT/Digital collectibles would you most be interested in purchasing?” The choices given were EVO-branded, favorite music artists, favorite Esports players/teams, Playstation items, and favorite game characters.
In addition, Sony is experimenting with a new digital collectibles platform to see the popularity of digital assets. Playstation Stars is Sony’s loyalty program that offers players rewards for completing certain tasks. However, the company made it clear that the 3D assets on Playstation Stars are NOT NFTs and are not tradeable.
Sony has been looking for a long time for ways to fit in the Web3 playground. However, by the looks of it, Sony has been walking around eggshells. It is not until two days ago that the Sony patent for blockchain technology surfaced.
On November 14, 2022, a Sony patent was published under the name of “Tracking Unique In-Game Digital Assets Using Tokens on Distributed Ledger”. Now that’s on the verge of being a tongue twister, but bear with me, the concept is easier than it sounds. The point of the patent is to discuss a new feature for gaming experiences that lets you track the distribution history of any in-game digital asset. Digital assets can range from in-game items, and characters, to moments of gameplay.
The tracking could be done if those digital assets were created on a distributed ledger, AKA a blockchain. If a token is assigned to a digital in-game asset, then even the properties and metadata of this specific asset could be tracked.
Think of the large variety of games that offer the trade of in-game digital assets between players. Many video games employ an in-game market where players can trade weapons, skins, and characters with each other. However, when someone sells or trades these items, all properties are deleted from the history of the item. As if the item is brand new. However, how cool would it be if you acquire a certain weapon from a previous player that lets you see how many kills, upgrades, and skins the weapon had undergone? Well, that is what Sony is trying to convey in the patent.
The Sony patent clearly describes how it will employ the tracking of digital assets. It is trying to implement a technology that tracks the history of digital assets from their very creation and throughout their whole existence.
“Changes to properties of the digital asset, such as ownership, visual appearance, or metadata, can be identified in a request to update the history”. That means that digital assets that are on the blockchain will have a complete history of modifications, ownership, and metadata. Think of them as basically NFTs that exist on the blockchain. To track a certain digital asset’s history, it will simply generate a block that contains all previous information.
Moreover, Sony is also trying to push the concept of digital assets even further. The patent mentioned the idea of moments of gameplay being a tradable asset on the blockchain. How? It will track the history of interactions between players as videos or images. Meaning you will be able to track everything your character does throughout the game and revisit it!
A huge advantage of this tracking system is that it limits fraud in in-game markets. If a digital asset was with a famous player, or it has a rare property, with the ordinary market trading system that would be easy to fake. However, with blockchain technology, you could track the exact origin of the item. Therefore, authenticating the value of each digital asset.
Is Sony Implementing Its Patent?
Sony has filed the patent back in May 2021, when the NFT market was booming, and Web3 was on the rise. So, it might be that the patent is actually old plans amidst the NFT hype. A lot of gaming companies like Square Enix, Ubisoft, and Konami had expressed their interest in NFTs, but the gaming community was not happy about it. The studios faced major backlash for their NFT-related releases, and other companies took the liberty to sign an Anti-NFT pledge. Sony is kind of the river that goes in between both lands. However, Sony might actually go through with the patent. Seeing as the digital collectible platform Playstation Stars might be the testing grounds for future NFT implementation.