Sony Patents System To Connect ‘Expert’ Players To Struggling Gamers

Sony Patents System To Connect ‘Expert’ Players To Struggling Gamers
Image: Returnal
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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:

Image: Sony via Patent Scope

“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.

Comments

    • Maybe, but your PSN is precious and I’m sure that if you did a few trolls that they’d just chuck you out of the pool. Most people are genuinely helpful. Could be good. Could be a meme.

  • I immediately thought of the Activision patent that fixed matchmaking expert players to lesser players to get them to buy fashionable loot boxes and pay-to-win items.

  • This kind of seems like one of those “Do it with a computer” type patents that get invalidated the moment they’re challenged. I’d also argue that there’s prior art with Steam’s Local multiplayer over network system since that is exactly the same type of premise. (Other people connect to your streamed session to provide input control). It’s also the same idea as connecting to remote machines to play games with network region restrictions (eg. Japan only MMOs) so I’m not really sure what this patent is supposed to be bringing to the table.
    That’s not even considering the wealth of security questions and scamming potential it opens up. It’s not on the same scale as giving a scammer remote access to your PC, but it’s still the same premise.

  • Usually I find that reading text online or watching videos online dealing with a particularly hard to get past section will help me progress in the game. More rarely, it sometimes takes a lot of panning to find gold, as there might might be tonnes of videos dealing with one hard part of the game in a similar way and you might not have the skills to do that. In that case, finding gold is when you find that obscure video, that hardly anybody has looked at, which provides the simplest solution that anybody can use to progress the game.

    At least with that way of doing things, it’s the gamer who has completed the game, not a random that a company has assigned you to do the hard work for you.

    • I forgot to mention that there’s this one game which I’ve beaten on at least one easier level, which I’ve given up on on a harder level. I’ve watched videos on how to get past that section but the section is just such a hell of long, not-at-all-too-obvious, hard bit to get past that I just couldn’t be bothered trying again, after multiple failed attempts. Maybe in that case a service like this could be useful, but I suspect that there would be more than one other section in the game where I’d have to do it again. Can’t. Be. Bothered.

  • It’s such a weird idea, it’s not useful for hard games as it would basically turn them into twitch steams as you need more and more help. It’s kinda more useful for regular games with hard spikes( think GOW valkyries or THPS hard get theres) but it still doesn’t really explain why an expert would actually reach out to help (other than the generally helpful that walk among us)

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