PlayStation Patents “Player Benching Feature” Able to Warn Players to Get Good or be Removed
Online gaming has been a constant source of fun for many, especially with the effects of 2020. With all manner of players jumping into their favorite games to play with friends both near and far. With the rise of multiplayer titles and esports, players of all ages are clamoring for the opportunity to play some of their favorite games with their friends, as well as be able to gear up and take the fight to other players and win. However, this new patent from PlayStation might throw a wrench into the mix by adding a player bench feature.
The Player Benching Patent
PlayStation’s focus for online gaming is to create a safe and open environment for all players. With gaming companies attempting to make safe spaces online for players, dealing with toxic players can be a pain. However, this new patent is going to help players with dealing with these players who might be throwing games or causing a disturbance in the gamer’s experience.
How The Patent Works
According to the patent from PlayStation, “As more and more people have become interested in watching video games and esports events, game developers have sought to enhance the viewing experience by providing increased functionality and interactivity for spectators.”
This functionality is meant for players who are playing online in a streaming setting. If implemented, this will probably become part of the Streaming Suite that PlayStation uses, and will link to other accounts like Twitch or Youtube. The PlayStation player bench patent functions in games where the player is in a multiplayer game or setting. Focusing on the team, much like the ban option in other games, this ban option has been extended to the players in the Spectator section of the stream. These viewers will be given the option to ban players or put them “on the bench” removing them from the game for either a set period or indefinitely. However, one person isn’t going to have the power to remove a single player from the game. Much like the vote kick options in multiplayer titles, it’s going to be a vote to remove the player from the game. However, where this differs is with the option to “warn” players to improve their gameplay, as well as send custom messages to the player using this function. Once a vote is reached, it will be sent to the game through its rules engine, and viewers will be able to either vote them off the team or keep them in the game.
“A player that is removed, therefore, may still be eligible to return to active gameplay and may still be considered to be part of the game. In other embodiments, removal can include full removal from the game, e.g. the player is banned from future participation in that game.”
How this could be abused
While this sounds like a good idea on paper, an actual implementation of this program could horrendously backfire to make games unenjoyable for other members of the team. This falls into the fact that the viewers are playing Judge, Jury, and Executioner in this situation. Players won’t have any control over who’s being removed, or benched in the game. The main issue lies within what the viewers are capable of, rather than the players.
One example of this is that players who are playing a game as a team, consider something like Knockout City, a game that requires teams of three, and teamwork to complete the game. If a player is playing the game with their friends, and they happen to be streaming it, viewers who don’t like, or think that one of their team members is a bad player, can warn the said player to improve, and then subsequently ban them, ruining the team cultivated by the player and their friends. While the player isn’t banned from the game in its entirety, they’re being removed from the match until it’s over. This ruins the flow of a team-based game, by cutting out one player from the match, they’re putting the viewer at a disadvantage, despite the fact that they’re playing with someone who they chose to be on the team. With the player unable to do anything about it, if the viewers vote to remove a player, the player hosting the stream is helpless to do anything. Custom messages can also be used as reasons to remove the player from the game, leading to a whole new wave of trolling with this system. Since PlayStation is focused on making online gaming a safe space, this would go against what they’ve been trying to work towards.
With esports matches being online as of late, if this idea was implemented, there’s also the chance that the audience would be able to “sway” online matches as well. Consider this as an example. A Call of Duty match between two teams is currently playing out on Twitch. Players from one team are watching their team play, however, they could be raided by the fans of another team, who shows up in the chat and starts using this next PlayStation banning system to bench the team’s best player, this would sway the match, and cause the team of the raiders to win. This is an unlikely option, but for smaller, more amateur tournaments, this could very well be an option for players who are wanting to sabotage matches between teams.
There’s plenty of ways that this new PlayStation player bench system could backfire on the experiences of players and ultimately esports matches, and with Sony’s focus on using this system for both casual and competitive play, the good intentions of the developers could be squandered. However, this hasn’t been implemented yet, whether or not Sony is going to go through with this feature is unknown, seeing that companies will usually make patents for the sake of implementing them in the future, but will also file patents for ideas that are still in the concept stages, such as some of the PSVR 2 Patents filed by Sony earlier this year.
However, with all this in mind, there’s a lot of intrigue with this new patent, and the intentions, while good, could be used to ruin the experiences of players if not properly moderated.