The mainstream gaming media — particularly those outlets vehemently opposed to anything involving an NFT — haven’t covered much of Sony’s moves into Web3, but they’re mounting up. Sony recently filed a patent covering a system for transferring NFTs between games and platforms.
To anyone who is unaware of the moves Sony is making behind the scenes, let me bring you up to speed. Last year, Sony began filing patents for digital assets in games. The first patent I wrote about appeared to be absurdly careful not to use buzzwords like blockchain or NFTs, as if they were hoping not to catch anyone’s attention. Nevertheless, what was described in these patents, was not only blockchain and NFTs to the letter, but applications of them in gaming that I have harped on about for years at this point. There was a strong focus on provenance and player analytics, but it was of course hard to tell what the purpose of the patent was; what is Sony’s plan for the technology?
Then, early this year, we saw a more niche and Play-to-Earn-inspired patent: Sony’s NFT renting. It was a particularly vague patent, but one that mentioned some interesting concepts, such as interactions with a streamer’s viewers.
NFT FRAMEWORK FOR TRANSFERRING AND USING DIGITAL ASSETS BETWEEN GAME PLATFORMS
The latest patent Sony has filed has moved into yet another area of NFT use and this one harks back to one of the most common examples of why NFTs should be in games: cross-game and cross-platform use of your items. I have always said that the cross-game NFT line of thinking is wildly optimistic and unlikely, but if a platform were to push it on certain titles, that’s a different story. The cross-platform framework ought not to be too difficult, that’s already possible with current systems, but perhaps I am missing some of the nuances.
Systems and methods are disclosed for determining that a first end-user entity has performed a task within a computer simulation for which a non-fungible token (NFT) is to be provided, where the NFT is associated with a digital asset. Responsive to the determination, the NFT is provided to the first end-user entity so that the digital asset may be used, via the NFT, across plural different computer simulations and/or across plural different computer simulation platforms. Ownership of the NFT may also be subsequently transferred to other end-user entities for their own use across different simulations and/or platforms.
— Patent US20230079127 Abstract
The patent goes into some depth and although it suggests some clear moves, we are left with mostly conjecture as to what the grand plan is here. Sony is clearly working on a substantial and fleshed-out system for integrating NFTs into, presumably, its PS5 console, complete with provenance, analytics, renting, trading, and cross-game and cross-platform use. I suspect we are some way off from seeing any of these concepts come to fruition in the Sony ecosystem, but something monumental is rumbling beneath the surface.