Sony May Start Tracking History Of In-Game Digital Assets

Sony Interactive Entertainment may possibly be working on a feature that could supposedly track the distribution history of in-game digital assets, such as cosmetics or even gameplay moments, by assigning unique tokens to them.

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 Rundown:

  • Sony Interactive Entertainment recently published a patent that discusses a feature that could supposedly track the distribution history of in-game digital assets, such as cosmetics or even gameplay moments, by assigning unique tokens to them.
  • In-game digital assets could potentially track the history of all modifications made, including ownership, visual appearance, or even metadata, by generating blocks that contain information about previous records.
  • Players may also be assigned unique tokens to track the history of their actions and/or transactions with other players.
  • The patent also discusses tradeable licenses for certain in-game digital assets, such as weapon skins, so that they may be used within the related video game.
  • Eventually, the company aspires to decrease fraud between players by making the trade of in-game digital assets as transparent as can be.

Sony Interactive Entertainment is one of the most widely recognised video game and digital entertainment companies in the world. With subsidiaries like Naughty Dog and Sucker Punch Productions under its name, the company has released some of the most critically and commercially acclaimed video game franchises in the entire video game industry, such as The Last of Us and Ghost of Tsushima. With the calibre that the company has, it’s no secret that Sony Interactive Entertainment is constantly trying to improve its technologies to raise the standards of its video game franchises.

In September, the company published a patent which discusses “changing response window for interactive content” in games based on the player’s reaction time “to preserve the intended experience.” Of course, this isn’t the only thing that Sony Interactive Entertainment may currently be working on. Earlier today, we came across a recently published patent under the name of Sony Interactive Entertainment Inc. titled “Tracking Unique In-Game Digital Assets Using Tokens on a Distributed Ledger,” which discusses a feature that could supposedly track the distribution history of in-game digital assets, such as cosmetics or even gameplay moments, by assigning unique tokens to them.

Sony
Conceptual diagram illustrating an example item history interface that identifies a history of a specific instance of an in-game item, according to an aspect of the present disclosure. | Source: PATENTSCOPE

The abstract of the patent, which was filed in May 2021 and published only a couple of days ago, reads, “A system and method for tracking digital assets associated with video games. The digital assets may be in-game digital assets, such as in-game items or characters. The digital assets may be video game digital media assets representing moments of gameplay of a video game, such as video clips or images.” It continues, “The digital asset is created, and a distributed ledger tracking a history of the digital asset is created and stored across devices. A unique token for the digital asset can include a unique identifier and metadata identifying properties of the digital asset.”

For years, many video games have incorporated features to enable the trade of different in-game digital assets with other players through in-game auctions and markets. Video games like Counter-Strike: Global Offensive and DOTA 2 allow players to trade their in-game digital assets, such as weapon skins and characters, with other players for either similar in-game digital assets or actual funds. As such, when the in-game digital assets are traded, a certain history is maintained with them.

For instance, in Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, in-game digital assets, like weapon skins, that feature the StatTrak technology track certain statistics when equipped by its player, such as the number of kills in the case of weapon skins. However, when the in-game digital asset is resold, the statistics are reset to zero, thereby deleting all previous history associated with it.

It seems like Sony Interactive Entertainment wants to change this by implementing a technology that tracks the history of such in-game digital assets throughout their existence, and they may not be restricted to certain statistics only.

“Changes to properties of the digital asset, such as ownership, visual appearance, or metadata, can be identified in a request to update the history. A new block can be generated for, and appended to, the distributed ledger identifying the changes to the history of the digital asset. The new block can include hashes of previous blocks,” it explains. Hence, in-game digital assets could potentially track the history of all modifications made, including ownership, visual appearance, or even metadata, by generating blocks that contain information about previous records. As such, by assigning tokens to in-game digital assets, they may not be lost during transfer(s).

With this feature, Sony Interactive Entertainment aspires to differentiate between rare in-game digital assets that are difficult to obtain and their other common instances and authenticate a history of a particular instance of an in-game digital asset so as to create as much transparency between players during trades as can be. “For instance, in traditional video games, there is no way to differentiate 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,” it explains. Hence, this feature may eventually benefit in decreasing fraud of in-game digital assets significantly.

However, in-game digital assets, in this case, are not restricted to in-game cosmetics and commodities only, as the patent also mentions “moments of gameplay of a video game, such as video clips or images,” as being in-game digital assets as well. Of course, gameplay moments aren’t commonly tradeable in-game digital assets, so the patent clarifies tracking the history of interactions between players in a particular video game through such gameplay moments, which may be videos or images. As a result, players can revisit when and how they met another player in a particular video game.

Furthermore, players may also be assigned unique tokens to track the history of their actions and/or transactions with other players. Additionally, the same implementation is discussed for in-game characters as well.

Sony
Conceptual diagram illustrating an example player list interface identifying users whose corresponding player characters have been encountered by a first player character corresponding to a first user, according to an aspect of the present disclosure. | Source: PATENTSCOPE

However, the patent still does discuss trading in-game digital media assets, such as certain gameplay moments, for actual funds through an in-game digital marketplace. “The marketplace interface 850 for transactions of video game digital media assets 860 facilitates transactions of video game digital media assets 860, such as video clips 865, images 870, audio clips 875, save files, ghosts, other types of video game digital media assets, or combinations thereof,” it reads.

Furthermore, while the feature will allow players to market their own in-game digital media assets, the patent also discusses using an artificial intelligence system to identify tradeable in-game digital media assets based on their significance. For instance, uncommon occurrences like record achievements may automatically be identified and informed about to the particular player for them to use or market.

Sony
Conceptual diagram illustrating an example marketplace interface for transactions of video game digital media assets, according to an aspect of the present disclosure. | Source: PATENTSCOPE

In addition to this, the patent also discusses tradeable licenses for certain in-game digital assets, such as weapon skins, so that they may be used within the related video game. “The property of the in-game digital asset includes a license for in-game use of the in-game digital asset, wherein the one or more updates to the property of the in-game digital asset include a grant of the license for in-game use of the in-game digital asset to one or more licensee accounts based on execution of one or more smart contracts,” it reads.

Lastly, the history of the in-game digital assets can also be updated through a request to update their property, which may then prompt the system to “verify that the request to update the history of the in-game digital asset is valid” and only then generate another block to update the history of a particular in-game digital asset, thereby further decreasing the chances of fraud or theft between in-game digital assets.

While it’s unclear as to exactly where Sony Interactive Entertainment desires to use this feature, it seems like the company understands the significance that fungible in-game digital assets now hold in the video game community, even becoming a source of revenue for many players.

While the trade of fungible in-game digital assets, like loot boxes, has been a cause for controversy in recent years, that doesn’t seem to be stopping video game companies from capitalising on the increasing market, and it seems like Sony Interactive Entertainment may be working on its first measure towards it.

What do you think about this? Do tell us your opinions in the comments below!

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