PlayStation 5 is still several months away from launch, but we're slowly starting to learn more about Sony's next-gen console and some of its innovative new features. While we've already heard a fair bit about the speedy solid-state drive and the new DualSense controller, we haven't heard much about how multiplayer games will work. However, a Sony patent recently resurfaced on Reddit suggests the PS5 could eliminate two of the biggest headaches of online gaming.
The technology aims to emulate the actions of a player based on their previous gameplay, potentially acting as a kind of pause button, allowing people to briefly step away from a multiplayer session without disrupting other participants. Got a phone call, a fussy baby, or mom knocking on the door? This innovation would make it easier to jump off without completely sacrificing a match or a raid.
The concept detailed in the patent could also help to reduce the frustrations associated with rage quitting, where one person leaves the session abruptly, leaving other players in the lurch.
You can find the abstract of the patent, filed by Sony Interactive Entertainment in November 2019, below. (Emphasis ours.)
Multiplayer video games involve multiple players playing using either a single computer system or multiple computer systems connected together. While a first player of the multiplayer game is playing the multiplayer game, the first player's actions are tracked and stored. When the first player quits or stops responding before the multiplayer game has completed, the first player is replaced by a computer-simulated version of the first player that selects its actions based on probabilities calculated from the tracked actions of the first player. The multiplayer game is thus able to continue without interruption or disruption, and the first player's playstyle is preserved.
It's worth bearing in mind that a patent isn't a promise this technology will be incorporated into the PS5 software at launch, or even at all. Patents are a way to claim ownership of a particular idea, or a specific method to solve a problem. Even so, it's a compelling concept that could be a boon to online gamers who often find themselves sidelined by the distractions of daily life. If the feature is implemented, it stands to reason it could be toggled on and off depending on player preference, though the abstract does not mention this specifically.
We may find out more about this technology on June 11, when Sony is due to host an hour-long reveal of PS5 games. Even though the showcase will primarily focus on titles coming to the new console, it's widely expected to provide some fresh details about the hardware itself. Sony has yet to reveal what the new console looks like, though Microsoft revealed the Xbox Series X design way back in December, during the 2019 Game Awards.
PlayStation 5 launches in late 2020.