Last year, a Sony patent indicated that the PlayStation 5 may be getting its own digital assistant called PlayStation Assist. Now, there’s another patent to that effect, but it looks like the digital assistant may not be a benign one. An illustration on the patent in question suggests that it may actively try to entice you to partake in microtransactions.
The patent in question has appeared on the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO)’s website. The idea behind the PS5 patent is essentially an expansion on the PlayStation Assist patent from before. Specifically, it describes the tech behind a player asking for tips for a puzzle or boss fight. The software goes through player and community data, and tells the player the possible methods to do so.
The problem with this PS5 patent is the accompanying drawing. It suggests that if the most common method in defeating a stage boss is by buying power-ups via microtransactions, then the digital assistant will suggest it without hesitation.
To be fair, many games featuring microtransactions already do this, especially right after you fail a challenge. But for the digital assistant of the PS5 to push microtransactions, needless to say it sounds quite insidious, and pushy.
Of course, there’s plenty of incentive for Sony to do so. Push Square reports that the PS Store made the company US$12.48 billion (~RM51.73 billion) last year. That’s a lot of money, and a big cut would’ve come from microtransactions. No doubt Sony wants more of this throughout the life cycle of the PS5.
While the initial idea of a PlayStation 5 digital assistant sounded simply like a good idea, this one shows a potential caveat to its implementation. Gamers would have to be extra careful if it makes it to the commercial console.