eSports betting patent filed by Sony

By Kes Eylers-Stephenson,
Sony Interactive Entertainment has a new real-money eSports betting platform in the works if a recently revealed patent filing is being worked on. The patent was initially logged in 2018 but has been released to the public.

The title of the patent is 'E-SPORTS BETTING PLATFORM' and the registered creator is Michael Chow, a long time PlayStation R&D member. Many patents are registered and never see the light of day, so bear that in mind before assuming that this a foregone conclusion.

There are three key takeaways from the filing. Though be warned, there is patent jargon ahead.
Firstly, there is an indication that the patent might be rolled out to a variety of other platforms, including to Sony's closest rivals. Host clients could be "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." Of course, this doesn't guarantee that the other companies would accept the betting system — one imagines that Nintendo wouldn't be too happy. The inclusion of an eSports betting platform on other systems would help the experience be more universal, rather than just a PlayStation exclusive thing. The other fascinating note here is the inclusion of VR. A live broadcast experience with real-time betting, anyone?

Secondly, if this came to fruition, Sony would clearly want to go in heavily on tracking the statistics of eSport players to generate betting odds. The odds would be "based at least in part on statistics of at least one player of the computer simulation, the statistics being related to past performance of the player in playing the computer simulation." Most betting companies must have a grasp of the underlying statistics in a sport to stay one step ahead of the smart consumer and to generate more profitable odds. But, this statement does tell us that Sony wants to enter the traditional betting market, as opposed to other spaces comprised of stock market or fantasy league-style bets.

Thirdly, Sony would allow for non-money forms of bet to be made. "Wagers may be pecuniary, e.g., money or Bitcoin, or may be non-pecuniary, e.g., game assets, digital rights, and virtual currency." This is interesting because you could theoretically gamble a skin, or your digital license access to a game (unlikely), as well as money or Bitcoin, in order to receive a return of a digital good or monies above that perceived value. Valve shut down a similar skin betting scheme in 2016 in Counter-Strike: Global Offensive after coming under threat, so Sony would have to be prepared for an inquest into any kind of non-traditional betting system.

As a working theory, this filing could indicate that Sony is interested in profiting from its new purchase of the EVO fighting game tournament. Though, because of the regulated nature of gambling, the actual release of a product based on the patent would have to undergo checks by regional gambling commissions. Surely there would be a conflict of interest if Sony was to implement the eSports betting system whilst owning the very competition that is being bet upon?

So, any hot takes on this? It seems like a logical move and could open up a very different avenue of interest in eSports other than in the game being played. Would you ever bet your prized skin? Would you bet your real skin? Let us know in the comments.
Kes Eylers-Stephenson
Written by Kes Eylers-Stephenson
Editor Kes is our resident expert in PlayStation and other gaming news. He writes about exclusives like The Last of Us and God of War, PS Plus news, and his favourite games — The Witcher, Assassin’s Creed, and explosive racers — before an evening swim.
Hide ads
View discussion...
Hide ads