Sony has published a patent suggesting the company is looking into blockchain and NFT technology for tracking in-game assets in video games.
The patent, reported by Eurogamer, is called Tracking Unique In-Game Digital Assets Using Tokens on a Distributed Ledger, and the included diagram lays out mechanics for tracking changes in ownership, visual appearance, or metadata of digital assets. The patent says the digital assets could range from moments of gameplay to in-game items or characters.
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Sony’s patent describes technology that could track the history of an in-game item as it’s passed from player to player, which is one of the core ideas behind NFTs. In the patent, Sony said “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.”
The patent description also says people find it “meaningful” to own or use unique items related to respected celebrities or activities.
It’s worth pointing out that PlayStation filed this patent in July of 2021, before greater controversy surrounding NFTs came to the forefront.
PlayStation previously dipped its toe into the world of NFTs at EVO 2022. In a player survey, PlayStation asked fans what kinds of NFTs they would be interested in buying. The possible answers listed included NFTs based on Evo, music artists, esports, PlayStation items, and favorite game characters.
Sony’s new PlayStation Stars rewards program features a form of digital collectibles, but the company said the rewards are “definitely not NFTs” because “you can’t trade them or sell them.”
NFT speculation has been a big part of the video game news cycle in 2022 beyond just PlayStation. GameStop introduced a crypto/NFT wallet and EA continues to evaluate the technology. Multiple studios have spoken out against NFTs, with many developers signing an anti-NFT pledge and Minecraft avoiding implementing NFTs or blockchain technology.
Logan Plant is a freelance writer for IGN covering video game and entertainment news. He has over six years of experience in the gaming industry with bylines at IGN, Nintendo Wire, Switch Player Magazine, and Lifewire. Find him on Twitter @LoganJPlant.