A new patent from Sony indicates that Sony Interactive Entertainment has been actively exploring NFTs and blockchain technology in games.
The patent, filed last year and made public this month, is called “Tracking Unique In-Game Digital Assets Using Tokens on a Distributed Ledger” (via Gamesual).
What’s behind it?
It is a system for tracking the creation, use, modification and transfer of digital assets in a game.
“People often find it meaningful to own or use unique physical objects associated with notable figures or activities,” it reads.
“For example, fans of baseball player Babe Ruth, or baseball in general, often try to acquire and possess balls signed by Ruth, balls hit by Ruth in a major baseball game, trading cards with Ruth’s image, and the like.”
The system can be used to verify the authenticity of digital assets used by well-known players or popular content creators that players in turn want to buy, sell or rent.
Multiplayer gamers are gaining popularity in games or tournaments that are often live-streamed or otherwise broadcast to large audiences. “Likewise, popular gamers are often live-streamed or broadcast from single or multiplayer video games, such as when players perform or attempt speed runs, in-game challenges, multiplayer matches, or other gaming activities.”
“Some players who are particularly skilled or charismatic can develop a large following, as can fans of famous athletes, singers, actors or other celebrities.”
“Some video games allow a player to interact with digital assets during gameplay. Such digital assets can be, for example, specific characters, costumes, or items. In traditional video games, multiple versions of the same game asset exist in the same copy of the video game and/or in several instances of the video game.”
“Traditionally, these different versions of the same game asset are interchangeable because they are indistinguishable from each other. For example, even if a particular game asset is rarely available in the video game, it appears in the video game as a sequence of code consistent with the representations of other instances of the same game asset in the same game and/or in other instances of the same video game. Thus, in traditional video games, no digital asset differs from other copies of the same game asset.”
“Therefore, in traditional video games, there is no way to know, track, or authenticate the history of a specific game asset. For example, in traditional video games, there is no way to identify a specific instance of a game asset that has a famous player of the video game used to win a famous tournament that is distinguishable from other instances of the game item.”
It remains to be seen to what extent PlayStation wants to take further steps in this area. A new rewards program was recently launched with PlayStation Stars, in which players can also earn digital rewards through various activities.
However, Sony was quick to emphasize that these are not NFTs. But will it remain so in the future?