It’s no secret that the excitement of betting on esports is sweeping the nation. Over a year ago, many people didn’t know it was possible to bet on Esports. But when the COVID 19 pandemic cancelled many live sports around the world, bettors suddenly discovered that they could bet on Esports which were still allowed to run in most countries because of their natural social distancing nature. And because of this transformation in the industry of sports betting, numerous companies are now trying to get in on the action. The latest of these companies is massive electronic creator Sony.
All About Sony
Although they are just known as Sony in the Unites States, the company is actually called Sony Group Corporation and is a Japanese company. Headquartered in Tokyo, they are currently one of the world’s largest manufacturers when it comes to electronic products in both the consumer and professional realms. Not only are they the second largest producers of fancy TVs like the one you may be watching now, but they also are the largest video game console maker (PlayStation, obviously) as well as the second largest video game publisher in the world. But it doesn’t end there. Sony is also the world’s largest record company, and currently holds a 55% market share of the image sensor market.
Sony has risen to prominence as a company in recent years because of the way many societies have turned to become more sedentary in front of their TVs and video game consoles, but this doesn’t mean that Sony is a new company. Tokyo Tsushin Kogyo was the company’s original name when it was founded in 1946. They only changed their name to its current American friendly Sony in 1958. The company was founded by two men, Masaru Ibuka and Akio Morita, and started as a simple electronics store situated in Japan. The company reached early prominence as they invented Japan’s first tape recorder, as well as the TR-55 transistor radio, gaining them widespread fame in both Japan and the US by 1955.
Sony is currently a publicly traded company involved in several industries beyond just TV’s and game consoles. They also have a large share of the photography, mobility, and lithium-ion battery industries, and don’t be surprised when you find out they also write and create anime shows as well as are active in the financial sector.
The Announcement And Patent
In mid-May 2021, Sony announced that it had filed a patent for an e-sports betting platform to be created (and subsequently owned) by PlayStation. If this patent proves successful, it would be the first of its kind to exist off of traditional sports betting platforms. Currently, if you want to bet on an esport, you need to visit a brick-and-mortar sportsbook, or an online one, and sometimes both of these options can be inconvenient depending on where you live.
You may be wondering how it’s possible to patent something like a platform to bet on esports—which clearly already exists in a number of digital marketplaces. But this is more than just adding convenience on behalf of sports bettors, the odds portrayed in this platform would be created by a special computer program, and that is what the Sony company is currently attempting to patent.
How Would You Pay?
Because Sony filed a patent, it can be assumed that they’ve already created and tested this system they plan to offer. But the announcement is quite vague as to what this platform will look like. Whether this is to keep their main competition, Xbox, in the dark, or because there are still kinks to work out is unsure.
One thing the company did specify, however, is that they plan to offer betting in a wide range of currencies. They do plan to offer local fiat currencies, in countries where this is allowed, as well as cryptocurrencies. The patent application specifically names Bitcoin, but it does outline that other digital currencies may be offered. But what’s really cool is that they also want to offer people the chance to wager game assets, digital rights, and virtual currencies. This means that people may finally have a use for some of these expensive NFTs they are acquiring.
Is This Legal?
As cool as all of this sounds, and for as many people who can’t wait to bet esports from the comfort of their PlayStation console, don’t get too excited just yet. Even if the patent is accepted by the US government, there are tons of legal issues which will need to be worked out.
First and foremost, online gambling is illegal in many states in the US. This means PlayStation would need a way to abide by these laws (meaning users in certain states will not be allowed to bet) while still offering full functionality in other states and countries. Or maybe they are hoping that regulations will change just for them by the time this launches, who knows.
But the second problem is that most countries, especially the US, have age restrictions when it comes to gambling. In the US the restriction is 21, while around the world in developed countries it is usually 18. So just how does PlayStation plan to check the ages of their players? Especially because their industry thrives on catering to teens and pre-teens in society. And although states may be willing to change the rules on online sports betting within their borders, this age restriction is certainly not going to go away any time soon.
As of now, Sony has not announced how it plans to deal with any of the above issues. Or has it outlined it in the patent, if it’s approved. But Sony is willing to take the risk in order to beat its competitors to owning a pretty piece of the $343 million in net revenue earned by sportsbooks on just esports alone last year. And that number is only predicted to grow with time, to reach a massive $862 million by the year 2024. And Sony isn’t the first company to want a pretty piece of this action, and you can be sure they won’t be the last. Esports betting is here to stay whether you like it or not, so companies will ultimately be entering the space more and more as time goes by. It will be interesting to see if the US will accept this patent filed by Sony and the regulations that will be imposed as a result. But for now, all you can do it sit back, wait, and keep playing video games on your favorite console.