Editor's Note: the header image is of Sony's Totaku figure collection, but anything directly related to the patent below.
Sony Interactive Entertainment America has renewed a patent that, among other things, will allow players to trade or sell digital objects to another player. The wording doesn't actually suggest digital games like reported elsewhere, but rather hints at digital items copied from physical items, almost like Nintendo's Amiibo system.
The patent was filed back in 2015 but was renewed this year by Sony. In it, Sony describes "systems and methods for using the tradable physical collectible objects facilitate generation of a digital copy that can be used within a network game."
What's more the patent says, "A user can use the digital copy and perform various modifications to the digital copy. A value can be determined for the digital copy based on the various modifications. At a later date, the user (e.g., owner) is free to give away, sell, or trade the digital copy to another party in transaction with terms based on, for example, the determined value of the digital copy."
The patent breaks down the system for transforming physical objects to digital as "a physical object that is associated with a unique identification code; a graphics processing unit that generates a digital copy of the physical object based on an associated set of codes, wherein the generated digital copy is presented within the digital environment of a network game and assigned to a player of the network game."
Nowhere in the patent does it mention digital games, and the accompanying image makes it clear that this system refers to things like in-game items or collectibles. So, for example, if you own an in-game vehicle, you can then customize it, and then trade or sell it to another player.
The system shares similarities with two existing products. First, with Nintendo's Amiibo toys which can generate in-game items by scanning physical toys to the Nintendo console. Then there's also Steam's digital marketplace which allows users to trade in-game collectibles like trading cards or hats to one another for either currency or other objects.
While unfortunately there's no actual mention of any digital game trading or selling, Sony could instead be working on an in-network marketplace for collectible items. Considering the popularity of both Amiibo and the Steam Marketplace, this could prove to be a boon for PlayStation users looking to get in on the collecting game. Perhaps this is even a feature we will see in the rumored PlayStation 5?