New Sony Patent Elaborates How the PlayStation 5 Voice Assistant Will Help You Kill Zombies
Another patent newly published by Sony hints at more of the potential features of the PlayStation 5. The video game console, expected to arrive this winter, will come equipped with a voice assistant customizable for different games and capable of adapting to different players.
The “systems and methods to provide audible output based on section of content being presented” patent describes a voice assistant capable of understanding what’s happening not only in the game but with the person playing the game. The information on where the player is in the game and its difficulty will be collected directly from the console, but the virtual assistant would need to use tools like a camera and microphone to measure and respond appropriately to what the player is saying and the emotion behind it. The patent points to the idea that the PlayStation Assist, as the voice assistant is rumored to be named, will be able to actually anticipate when a player needs help and volunteer suggestions using those cues, as well as if they’ve been struggling in that particular part of the game. How much help the voice assistant offers is adjustable by the player as well, presumably so they won’t get annoyed at receiving too many or too few offers of assistance. The specificity of the device is also adjustable, with a more vague suggestion available for those who only want a hint. Similarly, a non-spoiler version of the help can be set up so that any twists or surprises in the game aren’t given away early.
“Video games are a fun and engaging source of entertainment for many people. However, playing video games can sometimes be frustrating to a user if the user cannot complete a certain objective within the video game or is having trouble even identifying the objective to complete,” Sony wrote in the patent. “In some implementations the content of the audible assistance may be determined based on execution of natural language processing on speech received from a user to identify information relevant to what is spoken by the user. Additionally or alternatively, the content of the audible assistance may be tailored to a user’s emotion(s) while observing the content.”
The latest patent is part of a cavalcade of hints as to what the PlayStation Assist will be like. Most recently, a patent for a voice assistant describing how a voice assistant in the console could simultaneously help the player in a game while monitoring phone calls and other real-world activity. Previous to that, a Sony patent suggested the voice assistant will be used to complete microtransactions during gameplay. The revelation that the PlayStation 5’s controller will include a microphone clarifies the matter even more, despite the lack of official information from Sony. The company had originally planned a virtual reveal of the PlayStation 5 this week, with details about the first wave of games and all of the console’s technical specs. Sony decided to postpone the event indefinitely, announcing that it did not feel like the right time for a celebration. The holiday release schedule for the console appears to still be in place, however. If the PlayStation Assist arrives with the features patented by Sony, it may put pressure on other consoles to step up their own voice AI offerings. Startups like Fridai, which creates video game-specific voice assistants and recently joined the Microsoft for Startups accelerator, will probably start garnering more attention as well, but PlayStation Assist, with all of Sony behind it, could be hard to match, at least until the next generation of Xbox goes on sale.