Mischa Stephens, Warren Benedetto, and Foley Layerno published a study last month “Tracking Unique In-Game Digital Assets Using Tokens on a Distributed Ledger” which proposes a new model for distributing in-game assets that could foster better tracking, authenticating, and/or transferring across the gaming ecosystem.
The model makes use of a unique token, which serves as a unique identifier for the asset along with its metadata. Modifications pertaining to the properties, ownership, appearance, or metadata of the digital asset may also be identified with its history. These will all operate on top of a distributed ledger, wherein new blocks can be generated to make changes to the digital asset.
On November 10, 2022, Sony Interactive Entertainment Inc. announced its ownership of the patent to this paper. The company has been showing great interest in this technology as early as 2021 when it applied for the patent and during 2022 when it launched an interest check among the players with regards to NFTs.
Understanding the public’s sentiment on NFTs is the key for Yosuke Matsuda, CEO of Sony, to introduce this technology to PlayStation. NFTs have a bad rap for being devices for Ponzi schemes or scams, Sony decided to release a digital collection that does not have monetization as its primary motive. It will be a loyalty program called PlayStation Stars that aims to reward players as they spend more time in the PlayStation ecosystem.
PlayStation Stars is now globally live! It started its regional roll-outs last September 29, 2022 from certain areas in Asia, to America, and to Europe, Australia, and New Zealand. It is fully accessible via its applications on IOS and Android. Plus, it’s free to join.
Regular players and members of the PlayStation Stars will benefit the most from this program. Rewards are given to players who complete certain tournaments or even ‘monthly check-ins’. Some rewards may only be attainable for a limited period of time, making these ultra-rare.
November Check-In Campaign & Digital Collectible - Sourced from PlayStation Stars Blog
These opportunities will be available across PlayStation’s wide network of games, community challenges, live events, and even by joining. During the launch, all members were able to receive a Star Gazer Telescope, a digital collectible for the pioneer players. Besides bragging rights, digital collectibles also give the players certain status levels - opening the doors for exclusive perks and benefits. For example, PlayStation Eye Campaign is only available for PlayStation Stars members who own the PlayStation Eye Digital Collectible.
As PlayStation Stars members accumulate more and more rewards in the form of digital trophies, they also earn loyalty points that are stored in their PlayStation Network (PSN) Wallets. They can then use these points to splurge in the PlayStation Store thereafter.
The Vice President of Sony, Grace Chen, denies that PlayStation Stars is related to NFTs or even to blockchains. “It’s definitely not NFTs. Definitely not. You can’t trade them or sell them. It is not leveraging any blockchain technologies and definitely not NFTs.”
To be fair, there is no blockchain explorer that makes PlayStation Stars transactions publicly viewable and verifiable - this absence makes it contrary to how blockchains work. Whether this move is just to introduce the concept of NFTs to the players piece by piece, it is quite undeniable that the gaming industry is slowly embracing the technology of distributed ledgers, the ownership of digital assets, which are all rooted in blockchains.