Sony, the tech giant responsible for the immensely popular PlayStation brand, has reportedly been making moves behind the scenes in the NFT space, as revealed by its latest patent application. The application, submitted in the US in September 2021 and published last week, outlines Sony’s intentions to create standardized digital infrastructure that would enable gamers to own and transfer digital NFT assets across various video game platforms. According to the application, the standardized format may be readable across different video games of different titles, and readable via different video game platforms such as PlayStation and Xbox.
The application proposed that NFT assets could include items such as in-game skins, artwork, avatars, weapons, or even video game skills. Furthermore, Sony suggested that these assets could be connected over a network from PlayStation to consoles from other makers, as well as via VR and AR headsets, smart TVs, and mobile devices. As of the end of 2022, Sony claimed to have 112 million PlayStation Network users, including online-connected players on the PlayStation 5 and older console and handheld hardware.
Sony has been keen to capitalize on the rising esports sector since 2021, as revealed in a patent filing published last November that showed the firm’s interest in a range of in-game digital collectables. However, in the latest filing, Sony claimed that contemporary gaming console systems are “technologically inadequate for the owner to use the asset across different games and/or platforms.”
Although Sony has previously tried to keep its PlayStation Network ecosystem isolated from those of other console makers, the company eventually relented and allowed cross-play following growing pushback from players. However, when it comes to traditional video game assets that players purchased and/or earned, closed ecosystems remain the norm. The NFT technology and blockchain have the potential to address the contentious issue of in-game assets’ transferability and ownership.
Despite the potential benefits, many gamers have voiced their opposition to NFTs and Web3 technology. Game publishers such as Ubisoft and Square Enix have encountered considerable pushback for entering the space, with critics citing crypto scams and high prices for top NFT profile pictures (PFPs) among their complaints.
Sony may be positioning itself for a Web3 future for PlayStation, given its growing pile of patent applications. However, the company has previously pushed back on the notion that it was dabbling in NFTs. In 2022, a company executive forcefully dismissed speculation that its PlayStation Stars loyalty program had anything to do with NFTs.