Sony has filed a patent for its PlayStation VR, describing a feature that could work outside of its VR ecosystem as well. Specifically, the patent describes replacing spectator figures that appear in sports games with an avatar of your friends.
The feature is applicable with virtually (pun intended) any game with spectators. Sports titles immediately come to mind, but certain fighting game stages will also be applicable. The patent argues that this will enhance the social connectivity elements of games, but in what way this works remains to be seen.
One way this can be implemented is to have your friends’ avatar show up with their account profile picture next to it. This will help in identifying them among the faceless crowd. The model used for your friends’ avatars will also be modelled after the person in real life. The data is collected via the camera of the PlayStation VR, and then preset options are cobbled together to create as close a representation of your friend as possible.
When both of you are online, the one spectating will also get an option to watch the other’s gameplay from a spectator’s standpoint. Essentially allowing them to spectate as if they were really there, from whichever spectator spot their avatar is placed. You’ll also be able to see clips of gameplay that used your avatar as a spectator. Likewise, you’ll also be able to watch clips where your friend joined in as a spectator.
Seeing how a physical scan is needed for the avatar creation, there is the suggestion that both you and your friends will need to have a PS VR HMD in order for the feature to work. Assuming of course, the feature even gets implemented in the first place.