A recent patent published by Sony Interactive Entertainment suggests the company might be exploring NFTs on Playstation. According to Video Game Chronicle (VGC), the patent was filed last year under the name “Tracking Unique In-game Digital Assets Using Tokens On A Distributed Ledger,” where it goes over the possibility of using blockchain technology to monitor the creation, distribution, and authenticity of in-game “digital assets.” However, as pointed out by VGC, this is not to be confused with PlayStation Stars. Sony has went out of its way to confirm that that program has no involvement with NFTs.
NFTs (non-fungible tokens) are unique sets of data, or tokens, stored within a blockchain and cannot be replicated, reducing the possibility of fraud when being bought, sold, or traded. NFTs have existed mainly around digital art but recently, interest around them has been growing steadily within the video game community despite the hard-to-ignore controversy they bring.
Sony isn’t even the first video game company to play around with NFTs, with companies like Square Enix recently going forward with NFT projects of their own. Within the patent Sony cited their reasoning for potentially going into NFTs is due to tracking the authenticity of in-game items. The patent began by making a comparison between in-game digital assets to unique physical items like baseball playing cards. Considering how popular video games as an activity are around the world, and how popular people can become by speedrunning or live streaming games, the digital assets that these people use are the same no matter what copy of a game a player buys. To Sony traditional video games have no way of differentiating “…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 technology proposed within the patent doesn’t stop at monitoring in-game assets. According to Sony, it would be applied to any digital media associated with a video game be it video clips, images, or audio clips. It would track the history of a digital asset from its creation to its journey to a multitude of other devices. Sony’s goal with this patent is to “…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.”