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Sony’s new patent indicates surging NFT interest for PS5

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Video game console giant Sony has filed for a string of patents, with the latest one suggesting that the company could be sinking considerable resources into incorporating non-fungible tokens (NFTs) in its consoles.

The filing with the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) revealed that Sony intends to allow its PlayStation 5 owners to interact with NFTs in a standardized format. According to the filing, the company’s endgame is to allow gamers to own digital collectibles and allow their transfer across multiple gaming platforms.

Sony’s digital collectibles will be in the form of gaming skins, artworks, gaming weapons, in-game skills, or avatars. The filing document suggests the standardized NFT framework will be used cross-generationally between the PS4 and PS5 consoles.

Sony notes that the present gaming hardware makes it difficult to use digital assets across several platforms but claims that a standardized framework for NFTs could provide a solution to the problem.

“The standardized format may be readable to insert the digital asset in different computer simulations that may include different video games of different titles,” Sony’s filing read. “Additionally, or alternatively, […] readable via different video game platforms such as, for example, PlayStation and Xbox.”

With over 100 million console owners, analysts believe that a proper foray into NFTs by Sony would be key for speeding up adoption in the industry. At the moment, digital collectibles are reeling from a prolonged bear market, a sharp contrast from the stellar numbers posted in 2021.

OpenSea, the largest NFT marketplace, saw trading volumes plummet for five consecutive months at the tail end of 2022. By October 2022, daily transaction volumes were down 99% from the height of their powers as floor prices of several digital collectibles hit rock bottom.

“I think what’s unique about this environment is it’s the intersection of both the macro economic downturn and the crypto winter,” Devin Finzer, OpenSea’s CEO, said. “The previous crypto winters were a little more isolated to just crypto prices so for that reason, I think it’s wise to be conservative about how long this could last.”

Patchy marriage of NFTs and video games

Since NFTs made their grand debut in 2021, the asset class has found several use cases in gaming but has split opinions among the gaming community. Proponents of digital collectibles argue that NFTs offer gamers the right to own and trade game items for the first time in the history of gaming.

However, critics argue that the speculative tendencies associated with trading NFTs take away the essence of video games, with some urging game publishers to eliminate the feature altogether.

In 2022, Minecraft announced that following the feedback it received from community members, NFTs are not permitted to be associated with any in-game content. The game’s publisher noted there are no plans to explore blockchain, but it will be keeping an eye on the sector’s development.

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