Wednesday, May 12, 2021

PlayStation files a patent for technology that lets viewers play with you in VR

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PlayStation has filed for a patent for technology that allows members of the public to participate in virtual reality content, make decisions for the active player. Or, you know, just play with them. The patent was filed in October 2020 but was recently released. You can find the front page with useful illustration of technology in action on the US Patent and Trademark Office website.

Public engagement brand imagery

The copy of the patent explains how members of the public will be able to participate in games while another user is immersed in virtual reality. They will be able to make decisions for the player through “spectator devices,” presumably cell phones, in a manner similar to PlayStation’s PlayLink technology, used in games like Hidden Agenda and That’s You.

It looks like you’ll be able to help or screw the main VR player, depending on the choices available. According to the patent, this “will augment the VR scene based on viewer input in response to the interactive content of the audience participation content.”In the example provided, we can see a user inside the virtual reality, while four friends are on the sofa behind them. On the screen visible to the public is a voting prompt, which allows them to choose between a sword, a monster or a soup ladle. This choice is saved on the spectator devices and then sent to the player inside the virtual reality, who sees the prompt “the spectators gave you a soup ladle”.

It is not clear whether or not the VR user is aware of the options available, but it would certainly add to the malicious nature of this interesting technology. The idea immediately conjures up images of spectators able to send unwitting players down the wrong path in a horror game or make story decisions for them in a narrative experience. Honestly, it sounds like a lot of fun.

Top 25 PSVR Games

As with all patents, the fact that this has been filed doesn’t necessarily indicate that Sony will go further in development, but it is another indication that the company is actively considering the next step with its VR products.

In other PlayStation patent information, a patent revealed in September 2020 suggested that the The next PSVR headset could have internal Oculus-esque tracking. At the time of writing, the PSVR is only available on the PlayStation 5 via backward compatibility, with Sony’s plans for the platform in the future still shrouded in mystery.

Jordan Oloman is a freelance writer for IGN. Follow him on Twitter.



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