Blockchain for Game Royalties

EY Design Studios PDX and NY

The client: The video-gaming division of the world’s largest software company

The challenge: Design the interface for and build (with custom blockchain technology) a royalties and contracts platform that gives game publishers and developers, musicians, writers, and other video-game-related content creators greater visibility into their contracts with and payments from the client.

Our approach: EY professionals expanded upon the client’s robust design system and UI kit to create a solution that was not only visually cohesive with the rest of their software suite, but also tailored enough to simply and straightforwardly present complex contract information. We worked in tandem with the client and EY tech leads to audit the current state experience, map out the user flow for the different user groups, and prototype the final visual design.

Insight: Leveraging blockchain allows for unique solutions and user experiences with differentiated value.

White game controller in front of shelves of games

The quest

Before our engagement, the client used an out-of-the-box legacy platform to manage their royalty contracts and payments for their video-gaming platform and other proprietary software. The royalty-contract-management process was lengthy and opaque, and the resulting payments data was difficult to reconcile. Publishers, distributors and game developers alike wanted a self-service solution that was clearer and faster.

The EY team worked with the client to implement a royalties solution, starting with their video-gaming ecosystem and growing from there. The goal was a cutting-edge, end-to-end royalties-management experience with easy-to-interpret contract terms, in-platform financial statements, and improved traceability — all with a fast turnaround.

Why blockchain

Blockchain is a system in which records of transactions are maintained across several computers that are linked in a peer-to-peer network. In this context, a blockchain allows for all users to view records of exchanges and keep accountability, while reducing the burden of monitoring and reporting. It also helps creators and rights-holders prove they own a piece of work and receive due payment.

Hands holding a video game controller and playing a game on a TV

The main goal of using blockchain for royalties was to create a faster experience for the client’s team members who were responsible for managing these payments. We wanted to change the interface to match the Fluent UI used in the client’s broader ecosystem, while also improving what was happening behind the scenes that was slowing them down.

The players

As a global organization with dedicated design and technology teams, the EY team utilized resources throughout our robust network of specialties to provide leading-practice offerings.

For this project, the teams involved included:

  • EY Design Studio (New York and Portland)
  • EY Global Blockchain
  • Advanced Technology Tax Lab

The design studios led the effort designing the experience, while the blockchain team focused on the integrated technologies.

A person with a headset playing a video game on their laptop

Game outcome

With its expanded blockchain platform EY built, the client can:

  1. Accelerate contract digitization
  2. Seamlessly generate and integrate statements and invoices with enterprise resource planning (ERP) applications to process and record royalties
  3. Generate accounting entries from the platform into existing ERP applications
  4. Incorporate required controls and compliance standards

The expanded solution reduced processing time by 99%, with near real-time calculation of royalties using digital contracts across game-development partners. The blockchain application was tested to support performance under a high volume of usage and is capable of processing 2 million transactions per day.

The EY team delivered one of the largest production implementations of a blockchain-based financial system of record.