Audience members would have a direct impact on the experience via “spectator devices.”
According to a recently published patent filed by Sony Interactive Entertainment Inc back in October of 2020, the company has been experimenting with technology that would allow those not in VR to participate in immersive experiences using a method that includes “augmenting the VR scene based on the spectator inputs in response to the interactive content of the audience participation device.”
Put simply, this spectator system would give audience members the opportunity to interact with the in-game world in real-time, letting them play an active role in the experience despite being outside a VR headset. The technology sounds eerily similar to Sony’s PlayLink, a multiplayer game service for the PlayStation 4 that allows players to engage in a variety of quizzes and immersive games using compatible smartphones and tablets. If we had to guess, we assume this recently-patented technology would offer an experience close to that of the PlayLink, with spectators making decisions that impact the virtual world.
According to the patent, “A computer implemented method for processing operations for integrating audience participation content into VR (virtual reality) content, presented by a head mounted display (HMD) of an HMD user is provided. The method includes providing a VR scene to the HMD of the HMD user and receiving indications from one or more spectator devices of respective one or more spectators. The indications corresponding to requests for audience participation content for participating in the VR scene.”
Of course, it goes without saying this patent by no means guarantees that the feature will ever see the light of day. Sony files patents for potential products and features on a regular basis, many of which wind up dead in the water. That being said, we certainly wouldn’t mind an increase in the number of asymmetrical VR experiences on the PlayStation VR.
Games such as ACRON: Attack of the Squirrels and Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes have proven just how well VR technology works when combined with the party gaming genre, offering one-of-a-kind multiplayer experiences that get everyone in on the action, headset or not.
You can check out the first page of the patent for yourself right here.
Feature Image Credit: Sony PlayStation