Chinese technology conglomerate Tencent Holdings wants to give players an option to pass on their digital assets to friends or family when they die.
Taking to Twitter earlier today, Niko Partners’ senior analyst Daniel Ahmad pointed out that Tencent has obtained a new patent relating to digital inheritance. While the patent itself refrains from detailing what kind of digital assets will be applicable, the notion stands that players will be able to pass on their digital game accounts, in-game items, and such after passing away.
Tencent obtained a patent this month, originally filed in 2019, that relates to the inheritance of digital items and assets after a person passes away.
While not fully related to video games, it has sparked discussions online about game accounts / virtual item inheritance. pic.twitter.com/ltmtFYndId
— Daniel Ahmad (@ZhugeEX) July 12, 2021
Something of interest is that the patent specifically mentions the “transfer of digital asset certificates.” That would mean players will have to first declare their digital assets and beneficiaries, as well as outline which beneficiary receives which digital asset; just like a real-world inheritance will.
However, it should be noted that digital assets like Steam, Spotify, and Netflix accounts are not recognized by countries as inheritable properties. That though can change through technology companies.
Tencent may have filed for a patent but Apple already has a beneficiary system of its own which can allow Apple accounts and items to be passed down to friends or family after death. All users have to do is assign an administrator who will be able to access their digital assets are death. Facebook has something similar as well where users can decide what happens to their accounts after death.
Both beneficiary systems sound the same except for one major difference. Tencent intends to allow direct transfer of digital assets instead of just granting access. It remains to be seen when and if the Chinese conglomerate will be rolling out such a system.