Sony could use blockchain ledgers for games DRM and royalty payments

Sony may utilize blockchain ledgers to keep track of digital rights management for games on the PlayStation Network.

Sony Corp. is experimenting with new technologies like blockchain, AI, and machine learning to use across its segments. The company has already implemented AI and machine learning into its games division–Sony AI is helping with next-gen PS5 games–and use of blockchain could also be used to keep track of DRM, ownership/access rights, and to streamline and simplify royalty payments for creatives and game developers.

“Sony has gathered large amounts of data through our business in electronics as well as movies, music, video games, and finance. Using blockchain technology to circulate data in these fields, and skillfully combining data from various fields should create new value the likes of which we have never seen before. Such challenge is well within reach for the Sony Group,” reads a post on the Sony Technology page.

Sony has already developed novel blockchain tech for its Music Entertainment segment that keeps track of specific information like copyrights. The aim is to simplify data management as well as royalty payouts to artists. It’s a digital ledger with verified data for specific artists, songs, and more.

Sony explains how it can make use of blockchain tech, but doesn’t explicitly mention a use-case for video games:

“Blockchains create networks where programs and information are difficult to destroy or falsify, and are well-adapted for the free transfer of data and rights. Those traits give blockchains many potential uses across a range of services including finance, merchandise distribution management, and the sharing economy, and blockchains are expected to bring about even more innovative services in the future.

“Today, advances in technologies for digital content creation allow anyone to broadcast and share content, but the rights management of that content is still carried out conventionally by industry organizations or the creators themselves, necessitating a more efficient way of managing and demonstrating ownership of copyright-related information for written works.

“This newly-developed system is specialized for managing rights-related information of written works, with features for demonstrating the date and time that electronic data was created, leveraging the properties of blockchains to record verifiable information in a difficult to falsify way, and identifying previously recorded works, allowing participants to share and verify when a piece of electronic data was created and by whom.

“In addition to the creation of electronic data, booting up this system will automatically verify the rights generation of a piece of written works, which has conventionally proven difficult.

“Furthermore, the system lends itself to the rights management of various types of digital content including electronic textbooks and other educational content, music, films, VR content, and e-books. As such, Sony is contemplating possible uses in a wide range of fields.”

Sony originally developed its blockchain tech for the education field. The company’s first blockchain endeavor keeps track of personalized student data such as transcripts as well as institutional data and educational books.