New PS5 Patent Has PlayStation Gamers Worried About Microtransactions

Sony Interactive Entertainment has filed a new patent for a "In-game resource surfacing platform" that seemingly describes a new AI assistance technology that will aid players while they're playing games by offering them solutions for when they get stuck on a level or boss. On the surface level, the technology sounds advantageous, but some PlayStation gamers are worried about how the technology could be abused by some of the more greedy players in the industry.

Thanks to Siri and Alexa, assistant AI programs are pretty mainstream, and it's only a matter of time before they are implemented into gaming consoles more intimately. In other words, it's no surprise Sony is researching and developing its own AI assistant technology and implementation methods that may help PS5 gamers when they are presented with a problem in-game they can't solve. This could mean hinting towards something in-game, or pointing to something external, like add-on content. Think of it this way, if you're stuck on a Dark Souls boss, you can ask your PlayStation unit how to defeat said boss. At this point, the AI built into the console will quickly present you with the information you need. It's like Siri, but for your PlayStation.

Now, as you may know, this isn't new technology in the gaming space. For example, Google Stadia included something exactly like this in its initial pitch, but for PlayStation, it's new.

"Often, there may be an in-game resource of the game environment that could aid the user in accomplishing the objective with the character," reads the patent "The in-game resource may be downloadable content (DLC), add-ons, upgrades, items, tips, strategy, communal data, etc. However, the user is not necessarily aware that such a resource exists."

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(Photo: World Intellectual Property Organization)

Filed with the World Intellectual Property Organization in 2019, this new patent was published on January 30, and if you want, you can read more about it here. That said, it's important to remember, companies, especially hardware makers like Sony, file patents all the time, and a considerable number of these never jump from the conceptual stage to the consumer market. In other words, we may not see this technology in the PS5 or any PlayStation console ever. However, I wouldn't be surprised if we do see it, and see it soon given how popular AI assistant technology is.


Of course, there's nothing here that's inherently bad. However, the concerns of some is how game makers could exploit the system to shove microtransactions down the throats of players. Right now, microtransactions aren't as invasive and in your face on console as they are o\in many mobile games, but that could change with technology like this. That said, this would also be a completely voluntary feature in the first place. So, if you're worried about this, you could just turn it off or don't use it. But again, we are getting ahead of ourselves, because for now, there's been no word from Sony that the PS5 will come with its own advanced PlayStation Assistant.

H/T, All Gamers.