Think “phone a friend”, but in real time. That’s basically what Sony is looking to create, according to a new patent.
The patent reveals plans for a new gameplay help system where struggling players will be able to connect with “expert” players for help during difficult parts of games. The patent, known by the unwieldy moniker “Connecting a Player to Expert Help in Real-Time During Game Play of a Gaming Application”, details a planned remote functionality where players who’ve already completed difficult parts of games will be able to help others overcome any challenges.
As Sony argues, the need for this is due to new and more complex video games. “A user may reach a point in a video game that is seemingly impossible to navigate through or solve,” the patent explains.
“For users, this occurs quite frequently where the user increasingly becomes frustrated with a game due to its difficulty or an inability to advance through the game and eventually ends up quitting the video game.”
The “expert” system is designed to address this by allowing remote communication between players — a difficult feat when you consider the tech and security implications of such an idea.
A diagram included with the patent details the cloud-based system that would enable this type of help:
“The player may actively request the expert to take over control of the game play,” the patent goes on to describe. “In either case, the expert can then control the player’s game (e.g., the game play) remotely via SharePlay or any similar functionality. As such, the expert is able to complete the objective for the player.”
For anyone struggling with more difficult Sony games like Bloodborne, Dark Souls or even the newly released Returnal, this system could be an absolute lifesaver — and it could also make tougher games more accessible for everyone. Sure, there’ll be some that argue getting help ruins the difficulty of games but in the end, games are meant to be fun. If you’re frustrating and you’re not enjoying it, what’s the point of playing games at all? They’re not meant to be a chore.
So far, the progress made on this patent is unclear, and it’s highly possible nothing eventuates from these plans. Patents tend to be experimental, and filing one like this is just a means to protect any intellectual property associated with the idea. Still, it could be a very intriguing system should it be implemented in the future.
It would certainly make playing any of the Soulsborne games a bit less daunting for newbie players.
We’ll just have to keep an eye out to see what Sony has planned for this patent in the future.