Media monolith Sony has published details concerning a patent it’s filed to create an esports betting platform that would allow users to place wagers with real currency, Bitcoin or in-game items.
Esports has lived for some years now as a legitimate gambling market, with competitions like League of Legends, Counter Strike and DOTA being among the most popular events to wager on.
However, Sony’s patent—which was first filed in 2019 but is only now coming to light—promises to transform the interface between esports and potential bettors. It theorises a world in which the gaming community can view live esports events and gamble directly through their games console, using one of numerous possible betting currencies.
Game On Esports has already informed you about some of the differences technology has made in the world of real-life sport this past year, but Sony’s innovation represents a potentially seismic shift in the way esports are experienced:
In-game purchases and micro-transactions such as loot boxes are already heavily scrutinised in some parts of the world. These added costs have been linked with gambling and addiction, with numerous countries having already taken steps to ban them outright within their borders.
It’s only natural that Sony’s proposed esports betting service would highlight the same concerns, especially when many of those watching video game tournaments are of the younger generation.
The New York Times recently unpicked one of the latest betting trends in the esports world, Zed Run, a digital horse racing game built around blockchain technology. The online game incorporates crypto currency and non-fungible tokens (NFTs) to produce a totally virtual experience that can pay its users real-money rewards.
Sony’s concept platform would build further on this section of the industry, featuring odds devised by machine-learning that would be based on a player’s gaming history, or simply their performance in any given match.
The electronics titan may have been ahead of its time in regards to adding crytocurrency as a payment method for its services. Tesla CEO Elon Musk announced earlier this year that the company would accept bitcoin as payment for its cars, although this was halted in May as a result of “environmental concerns.”
Musk’s other major venture, SpaceX, also announced it would send a satellite to the moon in 2022, a project funded entirely by the cryptocurrency dogecoin.
It seems likely the Sony esports betting platform is likely to experience a lot of push-back from those who would agree opening the gambling avenue further to minors sets a dangerous precedent. Barriers could be put in place to restrict underage gamers from getting involved in the betting aspect of esports, but it’s common practice for the audience to find ways around such obstacles, all the more dangerous when there’s real-life money at stake.
Nonetheless, it does show a desire in the gaming industry to capitalise upon the surging spike in remote and mobile betting, which is becoming legal in more and more parts of the United States.
The consistent growth of esports as a genuine arm of the betting industry is reason enough to believe there would be sufficient interest to fuel Sony’s patent, though many critics will hope this is one concept that doesn’t make it past the planning stage.