This morning’s big news is entertainment giant, Sony’s revelation of a patent that includes blockchain technology. The prospective Sony NFT plan would enable tracking of unique in-game digital items, letting players know whose stuff is the real deal.

Sony, best known for its PlayStation games consoles, has revealed a patent featuring blockchain and NFT technology. It appears that a Sony NFT would identify unique in-game assets, harnessing the core idea behind NFTs.

Although the patent was originally applied for by Sony back in 2021, it was made public on 10th November. Sony is known worldwide for its various contributions to entertainment. It’s globally synonymous with gaming, which is why this news is so significant.

A lot of people still don’t actually know what NFTs are. They’re yet to fully “go mainstream”, and be used incidentally by people who may have never otherwise interacted with them. Sony’s patent would use a digital ledger (blockchain) to display up-to-date information about in-game digital items to players.

How Will a Sony NFT Work?

Since these plans are fresh, there aren’t many details like a name. Although the patent is catchily titled, “Tracking Unique In-Game Digital Assets Using Tokens on A Distributed Ledger”. The finer details and inner workings are yet to be explained, but the basic premise is simple to grasp.

NFTs, at their core, are digital certificates that authenticate ownership of an asset. The things that are attached to them, be it a JPEG or a literal house, are up to the creator. While each NFT is unique – down to its identifying string of code – they can appear identical on the face of things. Sony recognises this, saying:

“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.”

You can liken the concept to purchasing an item of clothing at auction, or renting an outfit. There could be a number of the same dress, for example, available for you to buy. But, the particular dress that was worn to an award ceremony by a famous performer is going to be more expensive and valuable than another that appears the same.

Sony explains that people find “meaning” in owning NFTs linked to their favourite celebrities, activities, and esports tournament winners. The patent outlines the intention to let players identify digital media assets, gameplay, and video clips with a unique code, distributed and displayed on a digital ledger.

Sony & NFTs

This isn’t Sony’s first exploration into NFTs and blockchain technology. In a survey, PlayStation asked players what kind of NFTs they’d like to see incorporated into their gaming experience. The answers included things like music artists, esports, PlayStation items, and favourite game characters.

Careful to point out the difference, Sony does offer a PlayStation Stars rewards programme. However, these digital collectibles are not NFTs, and can’t be traded or sold.

NFTs in the Mainstream

There has been a lot of controversy around NFTs lately. With financial instability and a bear market, along with changing attitudes towards digital collectibles, the value of NFTs has plummeted to a staggering low. Sony filed its patent before it looked like NFTs were dying.

What’s interesting about Sony’s NFT patent, is that it highlights the most exciting aspect of NFTs. The aspect that holds the potential for NFTs to be so much more than just overpriced profile pictures.

Focusing on the ability to identify truly unique assets could be the thing that sees NFT taken into the mainstream. This usage can be applied to a plethora of industries and practical systems. Medical records could be streamlined with NFTs, the purchase of real estate could be sped up and simplified, and royalties can be attributed to creators and investors seamlessly.

Recently, Instagram revealed it was enabling the ability for users in the US to create, buy, and trade NFTs directly on the platform. Whilst this champions art over utility, the enormous platform could serve to educate the masses on NFT technology.

With Sony being a multinational conglomerate, it feels hopeful that people could learn about NFTs serving more of a practical purpose.