Virtual Item Counterfeits: Will People Care?

The Metaverse is said to provide one of the central use cases for NFTs, but the question remains: Will people care? NFTs, as they exist now, typically do not convey a legal right, such as a copyright, in an existing art piece. Instead, their value is chiefly defined by a proven chain of ownership to an original creator of a piece. One of the cited use cases for NFTs is as skins or avatars for upcoming Metaverse platforms. However, in order for NFTs to have persistent and reliable value in the Metaverse, genuine versions of the skin or other items must carry a certain status with them.

Activision certainly believes that the genuineness of an NFT will be important, as it had an application publish in September 2021 for determining whether virtual objects were genuine or fake. While Activision’s application doesn’t mention NFTs specifically, they appear to be the most likely use case of Activision’s invention. If the invention is merely used to label skins as genuine or not, it may quickly find users not caring about such a distinction. However, the invention could also be used to automatically remove the skins or ban the counterfeit object’s user from a server if the skins are traced back to non-approved creators.

Activision’s application hints at the future of the gaming industry. First, it indicates that major publishers are actively pursuing Metaverse-related technology. Second, it proposes a more centrally paradigm for NFTs in the gaming industry, where objects are validated and legitimized by a single source (i.e., the game publisher) rather than by placing trust in the market to automatically factor in source of an NFT as part of the NFT’s intrinsic value. With the future of Activision up in the air right now, it is unclear if and when this technology might be implemented, but you can be sure that Patent Forecast® will be watching.

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