According to a listing on PatentScope, Sony initially filed the patent in 2019, but has only published it this month. The patent itself suggests a system where viewers of livestreamed esports events, such as fighting game tournaments, would be able to bet on the outcome of matches whilst watching the action play out in real time. The system would work via a user interface overlay that could be brought up over the stream in order for the user to place their bets.[ignvideo url=”https://www.ign.com/videos/2020/04/16/ps5-stock-to-be-limited-in-first-year-says-report-ign-news”]
Bets placed could seemingly come in many forms, with the patent mentioning that “Wagers may be pecuniary, e.g., money or bitcoin, or may be non-pecuniary, e.g., game assets, digital rights, and virtual currency.” That implies that you could earn and then bet, in-game currency, or even in-game items using the system. It’s also possible that wagering “digital rights” could point to bets using NFTs (non-fungible tokens) in games.
Odds for those wagers would be determined via machine learning, based off either the play history of the competing players, or their performance in the current match. Interestingly, the patent was not exclusively focused on Playstation, as it also references “game consoles such as Sony PlayStation or a game console made by Microsoft or Nintendo or other manufacturer virtual reality (VR) headsets, augmented reality (AR) headsets, portable televisions (e.g. smart TVs, Internet-enabled TVs), portable computers such as laptops and tablet computers, and other mobile devices including smart phones”. This suggests that if the service does become real, it could be brought to platforms beyond Playstation.
The company also recently completed its joint purchase of Evo, the largest fighting game tournament in the world, so this patent could be directly tied to the service being used in conjunction with Evo. Last year, Evo was cancelled following allegations of abuse regarding the organiser Joey Cueller, with large fighting game developers Capcom and NetherRealm pulling out of the contest in solidarity with the victims.[ignvideo url=”https://www.ign.com/videos/2021/03/18/playstation-buys-evo-fighting-game-championship-series-ign-news”]
Sony has been busy filing a lot of patents recently, with the platform holder also planning a help system for struggling gamers, and a system that could allow older games to be retroactively patched with trophy support.
Patents are regularly filed by games companies, with many of them never amounting to anything, so it’s worth bearing that in mind. But with Playstation 5 shortages set to continue into 2022, Sony might well be looking for a new way to bring fans into the esports community.
Cryptocurrency has appeared in the news a lot recently, as earlier this month, Tesla CEO Elon Musk announced that his company SpaceX would send a Dogecoin funded rocket to space next year. And at the start of the year, a programmer had managed to lock himself out of $240 million worth of Bitcoin by forgetting his password. If you’re still confused by what Bitcoin is, check out our guide.[ignvideo url=”https://www.ign.com/videos/2021/03/19/what-sony-buying-evo-championship-series-means-for-playstation-ign-now”] [poilib element=”accentDivider”]
Liam Wiseman is a Freelance Writer for IGN.