PlayStation’s ‘Uber-style’ help patent reveals potential plan to mark expert players
Console users would be able to call on real-time help from designated experts
PlayStation has patented an ‘Uber-style’ real-time help service, with users able to call in expert players to guide them through challenging game sequences.
The patent, which was filed in the US by Sony Interactive Entertainment late last month, describes a system which would see players invited to register as “experts” for specific games, based on their ability and achievements within individual titles.
The patent says players who qualify as experts for certain games could be incentivised to register with the promise of in-game benefits, such as expert-only content like items or quests, or an additional Trophy unlock.
Experts would then be able to mark themselves as “available” for being called upon to help less experienced players.
The system would work by allowing players to request help via their PlayStation console or mobile app when they get stuck in a game. The request would then be sent to the available experts who are most likely to be able to help.
Sony’s patent describes the process of matching players with experts as like hailing an Uber. Available experts are provided data about the player’s gameplay session, such as quest, level, loadout or skills, and the player is then paired with an expert who has already beaten that part of the game with a similar configuration.
During the help session, the expert can provide guidance via text, voice, video, and/or embedded video from a web, mobile, or console interface.
Players could even toggle a spoiler flag, which alerts experts not to notify them of upcoming game sequences considered as sensitive to the game’s story.
In another example of how the system could be implemented, Sony says expert help could be provided to players via a recorded session issued based on their given query and game context. Recorded help sessions could be ranked based on player feedback and selected based on these rankings, the patent says.
The patent is the latest in a number of Sony inventions targeting accessibility in games.
Recently, SIE patented a concept for using AI to study someone’s play style and potentially take over playing the game for them. Another patent from earlier this year described a system which would enable PlayStation players to leave in-game text, image and audio tips for other users.
Research reportedly conducted by Sony and distributed to developers in 2019 outlined several key issues PlayStation users were encountering with single player games, including the amount of time it takes to locate gameplay solutions online when they’re stuck.
Some PS5 launch titles such as Demon’s Souls includes over 180 help videos available through PS5’s Activities feature, which Sony says is designed to “remove barriers to gameplay” by enabling players to bring up hints without leaving a game.