A new PlayStation patent may have just leaked and revealed the next big PS5 DualSense controller feature. The problem is patents are a bit of a wildcard. A company like Sony files patents all the time that never evolve or graduate into an actual product or technology or feature. However, in the past, products, features, plans, and more have all leaked early through patents. In other words, sometimes patents are glimpses into the future, but other times they are reminders that companies experiment and tinker with all types of things that never graduate from this experimental phase.
The latest patent attempts to solve the issue of AFK. More specifically, Sony is working on a technology that would automatically pause the game or media you’re playing when you put the controller down and it sounds like it will do that by monitoring input and movement.
“As understood herein, when a user puts down a computer simulation controller such as a computer game controller, the game does not know if user is away or simply not responding,” reads a part of the patent. “Present principles make it possible for the game system or the game to determine whether the user has abandoned the game or simply is on a short break, so that the simulation system can take immediate action without waiting for the elapse of an AwayFromKeyboard timer. In example implementations the instructions can be executable to, at least in part responsive to the motion state being stationary, initially slow down presentation of computer simulation and an elapse of a period, pause presentation of the computer simulation.”
Right now, the AFK timer on consoles and controllers is quite long. And it’s just that; a timer. A technology that speeds up this process by gauging movement and input would be helpful, but sounds tricky to implement as it would have to be very precise. The small subtle vibrations and movement when you’re holding the controller during a 40-minute Kojima cutscene and the stillness of a controller placed on a coffee table aren’t very different. And what happens if you put the controller on a couch, but then it moves because someone sits down? For that reason alone you’d have to assume it would only be for pausing, and not unpausing.
All of that, remember this is a patent. Who knows what will come of it. As for Sony, it’s not commented on this patent nor the speculation it has created. We don’t anticipate this changing for a variety of reasons, but if it does, we will be sure to update the story accordingly.