New Sony Patent Could See ‘Experts’ Providing Game Help

Sony has filed a patent for a new system that would allow players to connect with “experts” when they are struggling with a game. 

Sony Interactive Entertainment filed the patent last month in the United States. VGC reports that the patent “describes a system which would see players invited to register as ‘experts’ for specific games, based on their ability and achievements within individual titles”. Furthermore, in-game incentives could be made available to encourage players to sign up, including “expert only content like items or quests, or an additional Trophy unlock.”

Most interestingly the patent suggests that the system will take player information such as “quest, level, loadout or skills” into account when assigning an expert in order to find someone who completed the challenge under similar conditions. 

This system is a clear extension of the PlayStation 5’s Game Help feature which is currently available for PlayStation Plus subscribers, provides in-game hints from game developers. The system seems to be a much larger expansion of the Game Help system’s short video hints, with experts reportedly being able to “provide guidance via text, voice, video, and/or embedded video”.

Because this system is determined by the developers themselves there is little risk of spoilers, and in the same spirit, this new system may feature a spoiler flag that players could toggle to inform experts that they do not wish to receive any spoilers. Furthermore, the expert assistance could be recorded or live, so the process promises to be streamlined even for gamers who play in the more unsociable hours. 

This comes in the midst of Sony’s efforts to promote and encourage the play of single player games. It has been a concern for at least the past decade that a large percentage of players are not completing single player games, and this is still very much a concern today

A document leaked to VICE games last year showed Sony’s belief that “single player is thriving” despite seemingly being played less than multiplayer games. Sony has identified areas of “friction” which prevent players from enjoying single player games as much as they would like, and this new patent can be seen as one way to address these. 

However, video game companies such as Sony file patents frequently with many never coming to fruition. All eyes are on Sony now to make an official announcement regarding the feature. 

Words by Jake Abatan


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