A new patent from Sony and PlayStation, which could be for the PS5, has surfaced online and it has some PlayStation fans worried. Sony is constantly filing for patents, including gaming patents. Some of these patents evolve into actual technology and products, but many of them never graduate beyond concept. As a result, Sony patents should always be taken with a grain of salt and not given much attention. However, every once in a while a particularly interesting one surfaces and makes the rounds. Today, we have an example of the latter.
The new patent is titled, "Spectators Vote to Bench Players in a Video Game." And the technology is exactly what the patent title conveys. With the rise of streaming, whether on Twitch or YouTube, Sony is looking into technology that taps into this experience and enhances it for the viewer. To this end, it wants to allow viewers to be able to vote to kick out players for "bad behavior, poor sportsmanship, [and] substandard performance."
"A method for displaying a video game to spectators includes receiving votes from spectators to remove a player from a video game," reads the patent's official abstract. "The method also includes determining whether the number of votes received to remove the player from the video game meets a threshold level required to trigger removal of the player from the video game. If the number of votes received to remove the player from the video game meets the threshold level required to trigger removal of the player from the video game, the method includes generating a command configured to cause the player to be removed from the video game. The method also can include animating the removal of the player and providing visual cues to other players or spectators as to why the player was removed from the video game."
In short, the patent would introduce some type of system that would allows viewers to vote on the removal of players not just from the round or match but the game entirely. How this would actually work, is hard to imagine. What's easy to imagine is how it would be manipulated and taken advantage of.
Making the patent even stranger is that it suggests this voting system wouldn't be free. Rather, it would charge players for this action, presumably with some type of real-world currency.
As you would expect, different parts of this patent are already raising concerns, but as noted at the top, there's no reason to sound any alarms. It's a patent, and there's a very good chance we will never see anything come of this.
At the moment of publishing, Sony hasn't commented on this patent nor the speculation it has created. Typically, it does not comment on patents, so we don't expect this to change, but if it does, we will be sure to update the story accordingly.
H/T, Segment Next.