The gaming industry appears to be bracing itself for the eventual debut of the PS5. After losing out to Microsoft's big Xbox Series X reveal late last year, Sony is noticeably hinting that something exciting is coming soon. These include rushed PlayStation 5 trademark applications worldwide, the official PlayStation 5 webpage recently went live, and the company's newly appointed head of indie projects Shuhei Yoshida's recent cryptic tweet. Meanwhile, the information contained in the patent application which was published last month, reportedly has fans worried.
The document in question was filed in 2019 with the World Intellectual Property Organization. According to Comic Book, the details of the patent for an "In-game resource surfacing platform" were made public on Thursday, Jan. 30. The subject in question is related to a rumoured PS5 feature wherein an integrated AI assistant will augment gameplay and offer tips or solutions in context to the current situation in play.
It seems gamers are concerned that it might be exploited by developers to encourage the purchase of microtransactions. While it is just pure speculation at this point, some gaming industry analysts believe it could be a possibility. Earlier leaks suggest that the PlayStation 5 will support voice commands one way or another.
The AI assistant detailed in the patent will be programmed to guide players who are stuck on a boss or a particularly difficult level. In theory, a visual overlay will come up along with the solution or maybe a recommendation of what in-game items might help. It is possible for game studios to program the system to push paid add-on content or other similar elements.
The patent indicates that "often, there may be an in-game resource of the game environment that could aid the user in accomplishing the objective with the character." Another section reads: "The in-game resource may be downloadable content (DLC), add-ons, upgrades, items, tips, strategy, communal data, etc. However, the user is not necessarily aware that such a resource exists."
Until Sony confirms that this functionality will be available on the PlayStation 5, there is nothing to be anxious about. For now, gamers should just wait until the full disclosure on the PS5 becomes available. Nevertheless, the scenario pointed out above is certainly conceivable for publishers that want to upsell microtransactions to players.