Sony is planning to dip into the gambling area of esports, according to the latest developments. Their esports betting patent filing from 2019 got published in May and showed Sony’s continuous efforts to establish themselves in competitive gaming. The company acquired the most famous fighting game, Evolution Championship Series, earlier this year, and speculation around their intentions keeps growing. What is this patent exactly about, and how would it impact the gaming industry? Let’s see together in the following sections.
What Does Sony’s Esports Betting Patent Indicate?
In the beginning, we are going to dip into the definition of the patent itself. The description says: “Odds for various propositions concerning the play of a computer simulation are determined and presented to a viewer for pecuniary or non-pecuniary wagering purposes. The odds may be determined using past game analytics, or may be determined parimutuelly [sic].”
Although this wording is vague, which is the case in many patent definitions and descriptions, we can still transform it into the “natural language.” The platform would allow customers to use their console for betting purposes on live-streamed esports events. They could wager various currencies, including real money, cryptocurrencies, in-game currencies, or even in-game items. This platform would be different from traditional sports betting markets, which you can find on the following websites.
As Valve led the way, this might not be a pioneering initiative, but Sony could take much more control of the industry as PlayStation owners. The patent itself doesn’t explicitly mention this popular console, as it could be used on other manufacturers’ consoles. In other words, Nintendo and Microsoft could use this platform on their consoles as well. Knowing that Nintendo doesn’t share the same point of view as Sony, not only about esports but gambling as well, this might be very interesting.
How Would the Platform Work?
A lot of discussions are still circling around the filing content, and perhaps the most interesting thing is the announcement of betting based on machine learning. The platform would use these algorithms to create the odds. How would it look like in reality? The algorithm would set the odds according to the previous matchups of the same teams. Eventually, a device like PlayStation 5 would present those odds to a player, while they could also change over time.
Of course, it’s not just about setting the odds. The platform would accept bets as well, and that is also described in the filing. The system would have various advanced features at the player’s disposal, such as betting propositions. Sony’s platform would provide suggestions according to user’s betting history, which could also “double down” or cash out. Furthermore, the patent also includes an option to bet against spectators or friends. As a user, you could send a bet proposal to others, while spectators could choose whether they would accept the system odds or set them on their own. Therefore, it would be a fully catered platform with many advanced gambling features.
How the Patent Affects the Gaming Industry?
Esports betting might not be as famous as traditional gambling at the moment, but its popularity continuously increases. Many sportsbooks already have it included in their offers, besides soccer, football, and other sports. For operators, it means even more profits in the future, according to the current trends, as this industry will continue to grow.
However, this patent enables another relation in wagering, and it is peer-to-peer betting. It could create potential system abuses and match-fixing. Therefore, the integrity of esports betting needs to be ensured, and any suspicious activities should be monitored. Many esports betting operators already partner with third-party companies that monitor gambling on the various events in League of Legends or Overwatch League. Something similar could apply to the Sony betting platform as well.
On the other hand, developers and publishers would face many issues due to the stricter user verification that the system would require. Not to mention various legal problems that may pop up due to the compliance with different regulations from one region to another. Therefore, if Sony applies it, this patent would have a significant impact on the gaming industry.
One thing is certain – we still don’t have immediate and clear answers to how the Sony Interactive Entertainment patent would change the esports landscape. At this moment, it is still unclear whether Sony would implement this system, as they haven’t made any statements on this topic yet. It currently drives many controversies, mostly between gambling and video gaming. Therefore, we might see numerous debates about this platform in the time to come. The system might not hit the daylight in the next couple of years, but since esports is becoming a bigger thing, Sony won’t sit aside and miss the opportunity to launch the next generation of gaming platforms. We will continue to monitor further developments and hopefully, get back to you with new details.