Ernst & Young LLP (EY) and Microsoft have expanded Microsoft’s blockchain-based solution for gaming rights and royalties management to provide a financial system of record, from contract creation to payment and reconciliation. Microsoft plans to use the expanded blockchain functions to enable its Microsoft Xbox gaming partners and its network of artists, musicians, writers and other content creators to gain increased visibility into tracking, management and payment processing for royalty contracts.
EY expects to help its business-to-business enterprise clients that have contractually driven, multiparty cash flow distributions to create similar blockchain platforms to help them automate contract-related calculations and processing.
With its expanded blockchain, Microsoft is able to:
- Accelerate contract digitization for faster contract creation using artificial intelligence (AI), based on Microsoft Azure
- Seamlessly generate and integrate statements and invoices with enterprise resource planning (ERP) applications to process and record royalties with increased speed and greater visibility and transparency
- Generate accounting entries from the blockchain platform into existing ERP applications for improved efficiency and accounting capabilities
- Incorporate the controls and compliance standards required to meet the criteria for the solution to function as a financial system of record
The expanded solution reduces processing time by 99%, with 100% near real-time calculation of royalties using digital contracts across game development partners. The blockchain application has been tested to support performance under a high volume of usage — the software industry’s so-called “soak testing” — and is capable of processing two million transactions per day.
These new capabilities will help improve the end-to-end royalties experience by integrating with Microsoft’s gaming ecosystem and providing all of their partners on the blockchain network earlier visibility and availability of data in statements and invoices from a single source: the Microsoft rights and royalties blockchain. The blockchain extension builds on the continued collaboration between EY and Microsoft.
Luke Fewel, General Manager of Global Finance Operations, Microsoft, says:
“In this go-live, we successfully generated the first round of partner payments utilizing blockchain and smart contract technology. This expanded solution will help streamline financial and operational processes with the ability to scale, reduce heavy manual overhead and improve the experience for Microsoft’s gaming partners. We look forward to continuing to scale this solution across our royalties ecosystem improving our processes and the continuation of our modern finance journey.”
Paul Brody, EY Global Blockchain Leader, said, “Blockchains could well become the glue that digitizes interactions between enterprises. This go-live represents another big step on that path, extending the level of automation and cycle time compression all the way from digitizing the contract to posting financial accruals. Blockchain solutions like this help raise the bar for enterprise integration, from point-to-point integration to ecosystem-level automation.”
Dave Padmos, EY Americas Technology, Media & Entertainment, and Telecommunications Leader, commented, “This blockchain platform and royalties solution represents one of the world’s leading blockchain-based financial systems of record, taking advantage of blockchain technology in a big way. The ability to maintain trusted data with near real-time transparency, combined with the flexibility of an application-specific platform, can deliver immediate business value by reducing cost and improving trust. We expect that this will continue to be a notable trend and growing need across all industries. The collaboration between EY and Microsoft is another step in our alliance as we team to develop transformative solutions that enable organizations to become adaptive digital enterprises that apply innovative technologies to deliver immediate and long-term value.”
Brad Wright, Partner Engineering Manager, Microsoft, stated, “Powered by the Microsoft Azure Blockchain Service, this solution helps demonstrate our ability to build, govern and expand blockchain networks at scale while modernizing our royalties processes. We’re thrilled to work with EY and our gaming partners to streamline this business and to see what we can do next.”