A new patent by Sony Interactive Entertainment that was published this month with a July 5, 2021 application date suggests PlayStation is exploring the use of NFTs and Blockchain technology in games.
The title of the patent reads "Tracking Unique In-Game Digital Assets Using Tokens on a Distributed Ledger" and is about creating a system that could track unique in-game digital content.
"Individuals often find it meaningful to own or use unique physical items related to respected celebrities or activities," reads the background section of the patent. "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."
"The techniques and technologies described herein expand the capabilities of digital assets associated with video games, and of systems that create and manage such digital assets, by converting the digital assets associated with video games from being fungible to being non-fungible," reads the detailed description.
"The techniques and technologies described herein expand the functionality of digital assets associated with video games, and of systems that create and manage such digital assets, by tracking a history of the digital assets. Tracking the history of the digital assets can include, for example, tracking when, how, and by whom the digital asset was created, used, modified, rented to, rented by, sold to, purchased by, licensed to, licensed by, exchanged to, exchanged by, and/or other actions."
PlayStation did recently launch a new loyalty program called PlayStation Stars that is available for free. Grace Chen, vice president of network advertising, loyalty and licensed merchandise, stated the "digital collectibles" available in PlayStation Stars are not NFTs.