Sony To Implement Blockchain and NFT Technology to its Games, New Patent Suggests

It was speculated that sooner or later, Blockchain technology and NFTs would make their way to the mainstream gaming franchises when NFTs became popular. At that time NFTs were mainly being used as digital art to trade on massive platforms like OpenSea. 

Some devs also made NFT-oriented games that would put your personal NFT to work in a simulation. Not only was a pre-owned NFT being used in games like these, but later some games took things further and introduced their blockchain technologies and tokens to generate, trade, and use within the game. 

Passionate companies built whole ecosystems around NFT games, and they blew up. Still, there were no signs of coming to the mainstream gaming industry as no significant company was adopting blockchain technology or implementing it in its game in any way. 

However, recently tides have shifted as Square Enix became the first major gaming studio to implement blockchain and NFTs in its upcoming game Symbiogenesis. And now it looks like the biggest gaming company, Sony Interactive Entertainment, will soon follow the same path as recently a new Patent has been registered by Sony that hovers around the same concept of implementing NFTs or non-fungible tokens or in-game currency to the games. 

The registered patent is titled as ‘Tracking Unique In-Game Digital Assets Using Tokens on a Distributed Ledger’, it was applied for registration by Sony Interactive Entertainment on 7th May 2021, and it was published on 10th November 2022. 

The application date indicates that Sony has been working on implementing NFT technology into its game for a long time. The description of the patent goes as follows:

A system and method for tracking digital assets associated with video games. The digital assets may be in-game digital assets, such as in-game items or characters. The digital assets may be video game digital media assets representing moments of gameplay of a video game, such as video clips or images.

The digital asset is created, and a distributed ledger tracking a history of the digital asset is created and stored across devices. A unique token for the digital asset can include a unique identifier and metadata identifying properties of the digital asset. 

Changes to properties of the digital asset, such as ownership, visual appearance, or metadata, can be identified in a request to update the history. A new block can be generated for, and appended to, the distributed ledger identifying the changes to the history of the digital asset. The new block can include hashes of previous blocks.”

This description mentions that this new patent will help the company to make the in-game currency distinguishable and non-fungible, which is the primary use case of any NFT to give you a distinct identity that cannot be replicated or destroyed and will always represent you once it is minted against your ID.

Further, the patent describes the drawbacks of the current in-game currency system and what limitations the current system has, and how this new tech will help solve the problem.

Background (as described in the registered Patent)

Individuals often find it meaningful to own or use unique physical items related to respected celebrities or activities. For example, fans of skilled baseball player Babe Ruth, or of baseball in general, often seek to purchase and own baseballs autographed by Babe Ruth, baseballs hit by Babe Ruth in an important baseball game, trading cards depicting Babe Ruth, and the like.

Video gaming is an increasingly popular activity worldwide. Skilled players of multiplayer video games gain popularity in multiplayer matches or tournaments, which are often live-streamed or otherwise broadcast to numerous viewers. Likewise, well-known players often live-stream or otherwise broadcast gameplay of single-player or multiplayer video games, for instance in which the players perform or attempt speedruns, in-game challenges, multiplayer matches, or other gameplay activities. 

Some players who are particularly skilled or charismatic can develop large followings of devoted fans, much like fan followings for famous athletes, singers, actors, or other celebrities. 

In some video games, a player can use digital assets during gameplay. Such digital assets can include, for example, specific characters, costumes, or items. In traditional video games, multiple instances of the same in-game item exist within the same copy of the video game and/or within different copies of the video game. 

These different instances of the same in-game item are traditionally fungible, as they are indistinguishable from one another. For instance, even if a particular in-game item is rare to obtain within the video game, the in-game item is represented in the video game as a string of code that is identical to representations of other instances of the same in-game item in the same video game, and/or in other copies of the same video game. Thus, in traditional video games, no one digital asset is unique from other instances of the same in-game item. 

As a result, in traditional video games, there is no way to know, track, or authenticate a history of a particular instance of an in-game item. For instance, in traditional video games, there is no way to differentiate a specific instance of an in-game item that a famous player of the video game used to win a famous tournament from any other instance of the in-game item.

It will be fascinating to see how Sony will adopt the NFT ecosystem and how it will impact the games. What are your thoughts about this? Are you looking forward to seeing NFTs’ mainstream games? Let us know in the comment section below.

Farhan Ali
Farhan is a passionate writer with an undying love for games, PC hardware, and technology. With nearly 5 years of experience in blogging and over 14 years of experience in gaming, this is what he loves and does best.
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