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Sony applies for patent for in-game digital assets

patent published this month reveals that Sony’s Playstation division may be planning to use blockchain for in-game digital assets. The assets described in the patent include characters, items, video moments, and images.

While the patent is definitely blockchain related, the concept of “digital collectibles” outside of the NFT and blockchain space is not new to Sony. The company recently launched a loyalty program known as PlayStation Stars, which provides digital representations of items from video games.

Considering that the patent was applied for in May 2021 when there was increasing public interest in NFTs, and that there is currently no official announcement from the company on its plans, it is unclear if there are any ongoing developments on NFTs in video games from Sony.

Gaming companies have not all been racing to enter the NFT space. In April, the International Game Developers Association pushed back against blockchain gaming and NFTs over social issues and the prevalence of scams. Last year, the EVP of Gaming at Microsoft expressed his concern about introducing NFTs in video games, as the process felt exploitative.

Minecraft, a 3D sandbox game that involves crafting and building and draws over 140 million monthly active users, has laid out strict guidelines against using NFTs in games. “We have these rules to ensure that Minecraft remains a community where everyone has access to the same content”, says an official publication from the game’s website. 

Steam, a popular video game distribution service, banned all blockchain games from its platform last October, with concerns over fraudulent activity in cryptocurrency and utilization of the blockchain.

The opinions in the gaming community are not unanimous and have gradually changed. Tim Sweeney of Epic Games, another video game distribution platform, tweeted his caution over using NFTs in 2021. However, this year, Epic Games is allowing multiple games in its store to use web3 tech, including Grit and Blankos Block Party. In addition to Ubisoft and Square Enix in the league of gaming companies in web3, joins Sega – which recently announced its partnership with Double Jump Tokyo to develop its first blockchain game.