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Sony files patent for NFTs and blockchain technology

Sony's patent for digital assets indicates that at the very least, testing the blockchain waters isn't off the table.

Justin Carter, Contributing Editor

November 15, 2022

2 Min Read
Logo for Sony's PlayStation console.

A recent patent filed by Sony suggests it's planning to feature blockchain technology in the future. That patent specifically lists a system and method that will track "digital assets," and employs language commonly associated with blockchain-related products such as NFTs. 

In relation to video games, the patent's description refers to digital assets as in-game items such as characters. Interestingly, it also lists digital media that represents a game, such as a trailer or photo. 

"A unique token for the digital asset can include a unique identifier and metadata identifying properties of the digital asset," reads the general description. "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 already has digital collectibles as part of its recently launched PlayStation Stars program. Before the program's rollout, the PlayStation maker was quick to point out these items weren't NFTs. 

Whether or not Sony considers the PlayStation Stars collectibles as such, they're apparently the testing grounds for a potentially larger exploration into blockchain. 

The industry is picking an odd time to get into NFTs

While Sony is still dancing around embracing NFTs, other publishers have become much more explicit. Sega is planning to release a "Super Game" by March 2026, which has previously said it will feature blockchain technology in some capacity. 

More recently, Square Enix announced its first NFT-fueled title, SymbiogenesisSquare hopes the game will begin an NFT franchise, and should that not work out, it's got a partnership with blockchain developer Oasys that'll lead to more blockchain games. 

As all of this is happening, though, prices of digital currencies recently fell amidst a larger crisis in the crypto market. Bitcoin and Ether, two of the biggest cryptocurrencies in the world, respectively plummeted by 65 and 20 percent over the weekend. 

One of the most powerful crypto players, FTX, recently filed for bankruptcy. Its founder, Sam Bankman-Fried, is currently under investigation by both US prosecutors in Manhattan, NY and police in the Bahamas (where FTX's headquarters is based) for criminal misconduct.

About the Author(s)

Justin Carter

Contributing Editor, GameDeveloper.com

A Kansas City, MO native, Justin Carter has written for numerous sites including IGN, Polygon, and SyFy Wire. In addition to Game Developer, his writing can be found at io9 over on Gizmodo. Don't ask him about how much gum he's had, because the answer will be more than he's willing to admit.

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