Sony Patent Could See Esports Betting on PlayStation

  • Viewers of esports matches would have access to betting odds through a stream overlay
  • The patent went public on May 13, but Sony initially filed it in November 2019
  • The betting system would also be available on other types of devices
  • Wagering options would include fiat currency, Bitcoin, virtual currency, in-game items
  • Esports betting is growing in popularity across the world, but the issue of loot boxes remains
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Sony has filed a patent that would allow viewers of live esports matches to place bets during streams on PlayStation consoles and other devices. [Image:]

A widely available offering

Sony has filed a patent in the US that could see PlayStation users place wagers on live esports matches. The patent from Sony Interactive Entertainment would create an automated system whereby those following esports matches could view betting odds through a stream overlay, place wagers, and earn rewards if successful.

view betting odds through a stream overlay, place wagers, and earn rewards

While the details of the ‘E-Sports Betting Platform’ patent only went public on May 13, the initial filing dates back to November 2019. Under US patent laws, applications usually only become public after 18 months. The patent names Michael Chow as the inventor of the system.

The patent not only mentions having this betting system available on PlayStation, but also on rival game consoles, televisions, computers, and smartphones.

All sorts of wagering opportunities

The patent outlines how the basis of calculating betting odds would largely involve analytics from previous matches. It would include looking at metrics like win-loss ratios and “kill” statistics. Players might also have the option to accept “bookie” odds or parimutuel odds.

Prop bets on specific players and teams would also be allowed, and could include over/under bets and specialty bets like “whether a character will be ‘killed’ in the next X minutes.” An option for players to wager directly against their friends is also a part of this patent. Otherwise, players will be able to bet against “the house”.  

The betting system would offer customized bets based on a person’s wagering history. Bettors could also cash out early or double down on wagers if they look like they are going to win.

The placing of bets would be through a range of payment options. Pecuniary methods like fiat currency or Bitcoin would be acceptable, in addition to non-pecuniary ones like in-game assets, virtual currency, and digital rights.

The increasing popularity of esports betting

Esports betting has become increasingly popular worldwide in recent years. While it does not yet rival betting on traditional sports, many leading global sportsbooks now have a comprehensive esports offering.

In the US market, only certain states allow esports betting. Esports Entertainment Global (EEG) has applied for an operating license from the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement, with the aim of launching the first esports-focused betting platform in the state.

EEG has market access in New Jersey through a deal with Bally’s Corporation. It is also an official esports partner of the Baltimore Ravens, New England Patriots, Denver Broncos, and Philadelphia Eagles.

One main area of debate in the video game world is loot boxes. Numerous industry authorities across the world believe these in-game features, which see players purchasing loot boxes in the hope of receiving rare in-game items, are akin to gambling. They are often available in games that can be played by underage users. Some lawmakers believe that loot boxes can cause gambling problems in young people and have been pushing for appropriate restrictions.

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