Sony explores blockchain technology with NFT integration for PlayStation
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(Kitco News) - Sony Interactive Entertainment, the Japanese entertainment giant and maker of the PlayStation gaming console, is looking to integrate non-fungible tokens (NFT) into its gaming consoles, according to a recently published patent application.
The patent, which was originally filed in September and titled “NFT Framework for Transferring and Using Digital Assets between Game Platforms,” outlines Sony’s plans to integrate NFTs so that the “digital asset[s] may be used across plural different computer simulations and/or across plural different computer simulation platforms.” It also allows for NFTs to be transferred to “other end-user entities for their own use across different simulations and/or platforms.”
The reason that the patent was only published recently, despite being filed in September, was to prevent Sony’s rivals from copying the idea before it was fully ready.
In the text contained within the patent, Sony highlights the benefits that blockchain technology offers and notes that NTFs could represent the artwork or an in-game asset, such as a character or weapon, but notes that “current systems are technologically inadequate for the owner to use the asset across different games and/or platforms.”
Sony suggests that game functionality “may be enhanced by enabling gamers and/or spectators to exclusively use the asset and possibly transfer its rights to others via NFT.”
The tech described by the patent would create a standardized format for NFTs that “may be readable via different video game platforms such as, for example, PlayStation and Xbox. The digital asset may be usable by the first end-user entity across different video game platforms based on the first end-user entity’s ownership of the first NFT.”
One example of how NFTs could be integrated to improve the gaming experience is in e-sport tournaments, where the reward for victory could be distributed as an NFT, which could then be used by the end-user entity across multiple “computer simulations.”
“The plural different computer simulations may include different annual versions of a particular video game title, different video games of different game genres, and/or different execution instances of the same video game,” Sony wrote.
In other words, gamers will be allowed to transfer in-game assets between devices such as virtual reality (VR) headsets, tablets, computers and smartphones. The patent application also noted that “In some examples, the NFT can be used cross-generationally (e.g., from PS4 to PS5).”
The framework is also being designed to be interoperable between products outside the Sony ecosystem, such as the Xbox or a "cloud-based video game," making assets fully transferable and usable between different gaming ecosystems.
The tech is also designed to prevent gamers from being able to repeat tasks to earn the same NFTs with different products or games. Specifically, the design will prevent “performance of the task again in other instances of the computer simulation that are executed, and/or declining to provide additional NFTs for subsequent additional performances of the task.”
Sony has stepped up its efforts in recent months to integrate blockchain technology and grow its presence in the Web3 space. In November, it announced the release of motion-tracking wearables that allow gamers to control metaverse avatar bodies in real time. And in February, Sony Network Communications, the company's internet provider division, partnered with the blockchain protocol Astar Network to launch an incubation program for companies focused on building NFTs and DAOs with real-world utility.