Tech giant Tencent has filed a patent giving gamers the ability to pass along their most cherished in-game items through digital wills.
Tencent, one of the biggest international companies in the gaming space, has filed a patent to create digital wills for gamers. The news comes two months after it entered talks with U.S. government to keep its investments in Riot Games and Epic Games. According to Niko Partners' senior analyst Daniel Ahmad, Tencent filed this patent back in 2019 but have only officially acquired it earlier this month.
According to Ahmad, Tencent’s patent will allow for the “direct transfer of digital items if stated in the will”. Though the patent doesn’t actually mention video games, many, including Ahmad, are assuming as much. Tencent has a massive stake in the gaming industry which includes Call of Duty: Mobile and Epic Games, to name a few.
Different from Apple's Legacy program
While the full details of the company's intentions have yet to be unveiled, this patent has many wondering what inheritance looks like in the gaming industry. Compare this to Apple's recently announced Legacy program which gives a beneficiary access to a person's account in the event of their death.
But, there's a big difference between Apple's Legacy program and the Tencent patent. Apple only gives someone access to an account and certain information. Tencent is giving players the chance to directly pass along digital items to their whoever they choose in their digital will.
Could digital wills and digital inheritance become the norm?
This news opens the door to tons of questions about digital inheritance. For example, according to Steam’s terms of service, account holders cannot transfer their libraries to others in the event of their death. If this idea grows, we may see popular platforms like Steam or other gaming services create so-called “wills” for their users to fill out when they sign up.
“As we move towards a more digital world, the idea of virtual asset inheritance has become more important among aging netizens who have long standing online / game accounts with many digital items.”
As a paying customer who purchased a product, who owns your in-game items? What about your valuable Season 1 Fortnite skin? Or your hard-earned Damascus guns in Call of Duty? As in-game items become more important, many gamers will begin to think about the future of their inventories.
Ahmad finished by saying “As we move towards a more digital world, the idea of virtual asset inheritance has become more important among aging netizens who have long standing online / game accounts with many digital items.”
As of now, we don't know how the tech giant sees this or if they even intend to formally announce such a plan. As a result it begs the question, will we see gamers begin to create digital wills for their most treasured items and accounts?