Legal and IP News Technology Media Telecoms

EY, Microsoft expand Xbox royalties blockchain


Yesterday, Ernst & Young (EY) and Microsoft announced the expansion of their enterprise blockchain solution for managing content rights and royalties for games. The first iteration of the solution targeted sales reporting and the latest version has evolved to be a full royalties accounting system, including contract initiation, as well as payment and reconciliations.

Initially used for gaming and designed to be used in other media, the expansion allows Microsoft’s Xbox partners and other content creators to have more visibility into royalty management. In the past, creators had to wait 45 days to see what they had earned, whereas now they can calculate earnings daily. EY claims the solution reduces the time to process royalties by 99% and can handle around two million transactions every day.

Other features include integration with enterprise resource planning (ERP) applications and even generating ERP accounting entries directly from the blockchain. It also incorporates AI for faster contract creation and unsurprisingly, is hosted on Microsoft Azure.

“Blockchains could well become the glue that digitizes interactions between enterprises,” said EY’s Global Blockchain Leader Paul Brody said. “This go-live represents another big step on that path, extending the level of automation and cycle time compression all the way from digitizing the contract to posting financial accruals.” 

Brody is a strong proponent of public blockchains, and his glue comment is a nod towards another solution, the Baseline Protocol, which aims to encourage enterprise adoption of public Ethereum. It was launched in association with Microsoft and ConsenSys.

Back to the Xbox blockchain, “This expanded solution will help streamline financial and operational processes with the ability to scale, reduce heavy manual overhead and improve the experience for Microsoft’s gaming partners,” said Microsoft’s Global Financial Operations Global Manager Luke Fewel. “We look forward to continuing to scale this solution across our royalties ecosystem — improving our processes and the continuation of our modern finance journey.”

This latest announcement comes two years after the solution’s initial introduction in 2018. Since then, South Korea’s CJ OliveNetworks launched a blockchain digital copyrights system targeted at music.

Canadian firms GuildOne and Beatdapp soon followed suit, announcing a three-year partnership managing digital rights for streaming music services through blockchain in India and Japan.

Most recently, major Indian IT consultancy firm Tech Mahindra unveiled a blockchain-enabled platform to protect the rights of content creators and producers, initially for video.