New PlayStation patent suggests a future where viewers could mess with PS VR players

By Alex Calvin, Friday, 29 January 2021 17:34 GMT

But whether this will see the light of day is another matter.

A new patent filed by Sony shows tech that will let spectators participate in virtual reality content.

As reported by IGN, the snappily-named “Integrating Audience Participation Content into Virtual Reality Content” was filed by the PlayStation giant last October, but was first published yesterday (Thursday, January 28) and details a method by which people not wearing virtual reality headsets will be able to change the game world for those in VR.

This definitely sounds like the building blocks of some interesting multiplayer experiences and – in practical terms – feels pretty similar to Mix Play, which allowed viewers to impact games that streamers on Microsoft’s Mixer service were playing.

It’s worth noting that patents are not products; these are simply ideas that companies have had and want to lock down so that they don’t lose out to someone else. In other words, it might never be a real-world thing.

Sony launched PlayStation VR back in 2016 and seems to be committed to virtual reality as a technology. Games like the recently-released Hitman 3 still support VR on PS4, while patents filed in September 2020 suggest that Sony might be looking at introducing inside-out tracking for future PlayStation VR hardware.

Virtual reality has come a long way since Sony’s debut VR headset, with Valve’s Index VR and more recent offerings from the likes of Oculus and HTC being considerably more advanced than the first modern wave of virtual reality hardware from 2016.

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