For some, the best thing about a game is trying to figure out the next piece in the puzzle – which room to enter, block to move, or grave to dig. For others, it's the worst thing ever and almost always results in them taking to YouTube in search of an all-too-popular tutorial video. But the Sony PlayStation 5 (opens in new tab) (PS5) could put an end to this.
Sony has reserved the rights (opens in new tab) to a new feature it calls PlayStation Assist. According to information included in the patent documentation, the tool uses AI to provide players with real-time assistance should they hit a dead-end. It's expected to do this by highlighting areas of interest in a scene, such as the location of a hidden weapon.
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The easiest way to visualise the feature in action (at least, from what we were able to discern from the brief explanation in the paperwork) is by picturing the particles that show up in Lego Star Wars: The Complete Saga when you need to assemble a structure. Something similar could happen when PlayStation Assist is triggered.
In fact, visuals (opens in new tab) included in the patent documentation show that PlayStation Assist will be a (mostly) voice-controlled resource, likely housed in a window to the left of the game window. Just fire it up and mumble a command, like asking it where to find the nearest health pack or what to do next, and the console will respond accordingly.
Plus, they depict a companion application (presumably for Android and iOS) that offers the facility to ask questions and receive additional information from both mobile- and console-based queries, like diagrams, definitions and explanations. All of this is said to be initiated by a Google Assistant-style hot phrase: "Hey, PlayStation."
Mobile users should also have the option to type their questions.
It's unclear where the instructions will come from, but we have some theories:
- Developers could upload blueprints detailing how to complete each level.
- The PlayStation 5 may use AI to solve the level on the fly.
- The console could analyse other people's gameplay and make observations.
If you haven't been keeping up with the leaks and rumours, the PS5 is tipped to be a beast of a console, bundling an AMD Ryzen-based octa-core CPU, a purpose-built GPU, a custom-made 3D audio chipset and ultra-fast SSD storage to boot. It should also support 8K Ultra HD graphics (opens in new tab) and consume less power (opens in new tab) than a PlayStation 4 (opens in new tab).