Case Study
The better the question. The better the answer. The better the world works.
Case Study

How blockchain helped a gaming platform become a game changer

EY and Microsoft Xbox implemented a transparent blockchain network so creators could focus on developing the future of gaming.

Related topics Consulting
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The better the question

How can technology help the gaming industry play fair?

Our blockchain solution gives Microsoft Xbox an infrastructure that helps them manage and reward game creators.

The video game industry (which has a 2019 revenue forecast of $152b)1 employs some of the brightest creative and technological minds. And while this marriage of creativity and technology was bringing enjoyment to the masses, Microsoft Xbox’s processes meant that game creators faced some unique challenges.

Global gaming industry


of forecasted revenue, serving over 1.7 billion consumers worldwide.

Microsoft Xbox’s legacy system for securing and managing royalty payouts was cumbersome, sometimes taking over 45 days to issue payments. This complexity wasn’t just causing mounds of paperwork; it was also creating anxiety for creators with small businesses and limited resources. Microsoft Xbox knew there had to be a smarter way to manage the process, so it engaged EY to implement a suite of smart digital solutions to address the problem.

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The better the answer

A blockchain solution that integrates closely with game creators

Together, EY and Microsoft Xbox are implementing smart digital solutions to help game creators do their best work.

The $152b gaming industry serves over 1.7 billion consumers worldwide. This is enabled through partnerships between gaming platforms such as Xbox and thousands of developers, publishers, authors, designers, production houses and distributors. These relationships are all key in maintaining a high-quality product and attracting the best talent and creators to the platform. Microsoft Xbox and EY implemented a blockchain solution that seamlessly connected these parties and enhanced their experience by enabling fast, frictionless payment for their work.

Smart contracts encode game creators’ IP rights

The first step in refreshing the legacy systems was to introduce a new digital contract. By opting in, industry participants agreed to new terms with a simple e-signature. The legal terms were then encoded in the blockchain network in the form of smart contracts.

An automated solution that brings down operational costs

Building on the foundation of contractual transparency, EY focused on the royalty calculation system — a major pain point for Microsoft Xbox. The legacy system of calculating and distributing benefits was plagued by loads of unnecessary reviews and tedious manual processes. Delays in calculation and high operational costs were eating into the overall profits of the industry. By automating the entire system, EY helped Microsoft Xbox reduce the manual effort and significantly reduce the operational costs associated with processing payments for creators.

Near real-time purchase records show game creators what they have earned

While smart contracts were used to accurately calculate the royalty payouts for Microsoft Xbox’s partners, the next step was to securely and transparently share the information with them in near real-time.

Providing near real-time access to data greatly improves the process’s effectiveness, and insights that lead to a more enriching experience for the partners.
Tim Stuart
Xbox Chief Financial Officer at Microsoft

As consumers purchase digital content, the smart contracts apply the encoded contractual logic and instantly calculate the royalty. This information is then sent to each participant’s node, creating an immutable record of transactions and royalty obligations. Not only does this provide creators peace of mind, it allows them to record financial transactions daily, vastly improving their forecasting and reporting capabilities.

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The better the world works

A transparent blockchain ecosystem that empowers creators

Microsoft Xbox’s new blockchain network is better for business and better for game creators.

The technology solutions implemented in this project led to profound benefits – both for the Microsoft Xbox business and for its partners. By implementing a blockchain-based network and streamlined forecasting, creators, producers and Xbox all benefit from a more transparent and connected system. Microsoft Xbox now issues transactional details instantly, keeping creators satisfied. Because there is more trust in the process, game creators are once again empowered to spend money where it really counts — creating innovative new games. 

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