Sony May Adjust Game Difficulty Based On Players’ Real Locations

Sony Interactive Entertainment is supposedly working on a system that could dynamically adjust the difficulty of an online multiplayer video game session between players based on their actual geographic locations through a physical activity rating associated with in-game objectives, according to a recently published patent.

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PlayStation VR | Source: PlayStation
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Rundown:

  • Sony Interactive Entertainment is potentially working on a system to dynamically adjust the difficulty of an online multiplayer video game session between players based on their geographic locations through a physical activity rating associated with in-game objectives.
  • The physical activity rating of certain in-game actions or training exercises is adjusted based on the difference in geographical elevation between the players connected to an online multiplayer video game session.
  • The method aims to ensure that players have approximately the same physiological effect while playing an online multiplayer video game or participating in a training programme, regardless of their geographic location.
  • The system can further include measuring the players’ physiological parameters, physical activity, and performance in the online multiplayer video game and adjusting the difficulty accordingly.

Due to its eminence and being one of the major players in the video game industry, Sony is constantly working to improve its existing technologies and develop further innovative ones for players and video game developers.

Earlier this month, we uncovered a recently published patent from the company that discusses a system to dynamically generate additional information (play data) about objects depicted in video game media, such as live-streams, which can be displayed alongside the media in real time.

Likewise, there are many other technologies that Sony Interactive Entertainment could potentially be working on at the moment as a result of patents being consistently filed under its name, one of which may be a system that could dynamically adjust the difficulty of an online multiplayer video game session between players based on their actual geographic locations through a physical activity rating associated with in-game objectives.

Earlier today, we came across a recently published patent from Sony Interactive Entertainment titled “ALTITUDE-BASED DIFFICULTY ADJUSTMENTS FOR MULTI-PLAYER GAMING INTERACTIVITY,” which was filed in June 2021 under the name of Sony Interactive Entertainment Inc. The patent, published earlier this month, describes a method for dynamically adjusting the difficulty of an online multiplayer video game or physical training programme based on the players’ geographic location.

The idea is that if one player is located in a higher altitude area, like Denver in Colorado, and another player is located in a lower altitude area, like San Diego in California, the player located in a higher altitude area would have to work harder to perform the same actions in the online multiplayer video game or physical training programme as the player located in a lower altitude area.

As a result, the difficulty of the in-game actions or exercises for the player may be decreased to compensate for the effect of high altitude on the body.

Sony
Simplified schematic diagram that illustrates the paths taken by two players to reach an objective in a video game during a gaming session. | Source: PATENTSCOPE

“A method for dynamic adjustment of interactive game play includes identifying a game session for a game played between first and second players, with the first and second players being connected from geographic locations having first and second elevations, respectively.

The method also includes determining an objective in the game that the first and second players are predicted to achieve, and identifying a first path to be traversed by the first player to reach the objective in the game and identifying a second path to be traversed by the second player to reach the objective in the game,” reads the abstract for the patent.

“Each the objective in the game and identifying a second path to be traversed by the second player to reach the objective in the game. Each of the first and second paths includes a respective plurality of game actions to be accomplished by the first and second players. The method further includes adjusting a physical activity rating of select ones of the respective plurality of game actions based on a difference between the first and second elevations.”

The method includes identifying the online multiplayer video game session and each player’s geographic location, determining the online multiplayer video game’s objective or training programme’s objective, and identifying the path for each player to reach the objective.

Then, the physical activity rating of certain in-game actions or training exercises is adjusted based on the difference in geographic elevation between the two players.

This method aims to ensure that both players have approximately the same physiological effect while playing the online multiplayer video game or participating in the training programme, regardless of their geographic location. This can be applied to both one-on-one gaming challenges and physical training applications.

The patent refers to “physical activity rating” to measure the difficulty of certain in-game actions or training exercises. However, it’s unclear whether physical activity, in this case, refers to virtual reality video games, which rely primarily on physical activity, or video games played through a controller. The patent describes physical activity in the context of gameplay and physical training but does not specifically mention its embodiment.

It can be interpreted that the physical activity referred to in the patent can be applied to any video game, whether it is played through virtual reality or with a controller.

The patent describes adjusting the physical activity rating of certain in-game actions based on the player’s geographic location, which can apply to any video game where the player has to perform physical actions.

Sony
Simplified schematic diagram that illustrates a game scene in which players perform game actions while traversing a path to reach an objective in a video game during a gaming session. | Source: PATENTSCOPE

According to the claims made by the patent, an “activity adjustment gap” is created, which compensates for the difference in elevation and makes the physiological effects on both players approximately the same.

Not only could the system decrease the difficulty of the online multiplayer video game’s objective or training programme’s objective for players located in higher altitudes, but it could also do the opposite by “increasing the physical activity rating of select ones of the plurality of games actions to be accomplished by the second player relative to the physical activity rating of select ones of the plurality of game actions to be accomplished by the first player.” Hence, the physical activity rating of certain in-game actions can be adjusted¬†for both players to compensate for the difference in elevation.

An intriguing detail that the patent mentions is the system’s ability to measure the players’ physiological parameters, such as heart rate, oxygen levels, and breathing rate, and adjust the physical activity rating of select ones of the respective plurality of in-game actions based on the measured physiological parameters.

Additionally, the system may measure the players’ physical activity, such as the number of steps taken, the distance travelled, and the calories burned.

In turn, the players may receive feedback on their in-game performance and their physiological parameters to help them improve their gameplay and physical fitness.

Of course, this would likely refer to virtual reality headsets and controllers since they can accurately measure the players’ physiological parameters and physical activity. However, this isn’t specified in the patent, so it can be assumed that the same method may also work for any other controller.

It’s unclear where Sony Interactive Entertainment plans to implement this system within its existing and forthcoming technologies, if at all, but the patent is expected to revolutionise the way players play video games and train, as it takes into account the unique challenges that players face based on their geographic location.

This will allow for a more fair and more enjoyable gaming experience for all players, regardless of where they are located. Of course, this is still a patent and has no certainty, but it can change how players think about gameplay and physical training within online multiplayer video games.

What do you think about this? Do tell us your opinions in the comments below!

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