Sony made an unexpected PlayStation 5 announcement a couple of months ago. The company revealed the actual name of the console — it’s PS5, of course — as well as a few key features of the new controller, without mentioning its actual name. We expect it to be called DualShock 5 when the console launches next winter, not that it really matters. What gamers will care about are the new features that Sony thought up for the controller, including improved haptic feedback and adaptive triggers. On top of that, the controller might have a few more exciting new features onboard that Sony is yet to reveal, including one nifty feature that we didn’t see coming.
First of all, there’s the PlayStation virtual assistant patent that describes a Siri-like AI that’s able to tell what game you’re playing and provide live help when you need it. The patent was spotted a few months ago, but Sony never unveiled such a product. In an interview about the PS5 controller, Sony didn’t want to explain what seemed to be a microphone opening on the controller, which would help with any voice-based interactions with the console. But that’s not all.
A second PS5 patent has been discovered that’s equally exciting, as it describes PS5 and DualShock technology that would let Sony turn any single-player game into a multiplayer experience. A patent titled Bifurcation of shared controls and passing controls in a video game, found by LetsGoDigital, was filed in mid-2018 with the USPTO, which approved it earlier this month.
As you can see in the following illustration, the patent is pretty straightforward but quite creative. A group of friends would be able to control a single character in a game, with each of them handling a particular type of action. Each player would rock their own DualShock 5 controller, but the controller would only register specific gestures since only some of the buttons on each controller would be active. It’s actually pretty brilliant, and it could help popularize an entirely new style of gaming.
In a shooter game, one player might be tasked with moving around while someone else could be in charge of firing and reloading. The resulting experience might be a fun new way of enjoying games with groups of friends, and a novel way to play games on the PS5.
Similarly, the same concept can be applied to cloud gaming, where you could team up with friends or strangers to face others in specific types of games, like the fighting genre shown in these images. Someone would handle moving and someone else would control kicking. The roles could be permanent, or there may be a system in place that reassigns a player to a certain role after a condition has been met, whether it’s time- or performance-based.
While patented innovations don’t always make it into finished consumer products, this type of gaming idea might help Sony differentiate its PS5 experience from the upcoming next-gen Xbox. Of course, we’ll have to wait a while longer for Sony to tell us whether or not this new multiplayer experience is coming to the PlayStation 5.