Newly published documents reveal that global entertainment giant Sony applied for a patent in 2021 for a system that tracks digital assets in video games using blockchain technology—specifically NFTs. The patent was made public on November 10, 2022.
Sony—a Japanese multinational technology conglomerate known for its PlayStation gaming consoles—points to the worldwide popularity of gaming, and players who want to own unique items associated with their favorite celebrities, activities, and esports tournament winners.
“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,” Sony says.
According to the application, Sony wants to use a distributed ledger, or blockchain, to record digital media assets, gameplay, and video clips and include a unique token for the digital item with a unique identifier and metadata that would identify properties of the digital asset.
Non-fungible tokens, or NFTs, are cryptographically unique tokens linked to digital and physical content, providing proof of ownership for things like artwork, music, memorabilia, and items in video games.
While the filing is only for a patent, it shows Sony is interested in entering the growing NFT gaming field. According to CoinGecko, the top NFT games, also known as Play-to-earn games, include Axie Infinity, Alien Worlds, STEPN, and The Sandbox.
“Changes to properties of the digital asset, such as ownership, visual appearance, or metadata, can be identified in a request to update the history,” Sony writes. “A new block can be generated for, and appended to, the distributed ledger identifying the changes to the history of the digital asset.”
While not the first company to utilize blockchain technology, Tokyo-based Sony is one of the largest entertainment and media companies to develop plans for integrating NFTs and blockchain technology into its games.
This patent would not be Sony’s first foray into NFTs. In May 2022, Sony partnered with Theta Labs to launch a collection of 3D NFTs. The limited-edition NFT collection is viewable on the Sony tablet-style device, Spatial Reality Display.