Sony has filed a very interesting patent that may change the way PlayStation games provide us with immersion. The patent describes using biofeedback to augment the gaming experience. But from the looks of it, its implementation can go both ways.
First off, the patent describes having sensors around your DualShock controller. The location of the sensors are where your hands will be wen you’re holding the controller. This could include on the buttons. The images in the patent show a number of variations of sleeves for the DualShock 4. Though it’s important to note that this may not be the way it will ultimately be implemented.
The idea is that your gaming experience will be a unique one, altered depending on your biofeedback readings. The Sony patent describes a horror game as an example. One scenario is where you’re feeling elevated levels of fear, to the point of being to afraid to continue playing.
If the game detects this, then it may turn things down so that the lighting and sound of the game is less scary, and the number of enemies toned down. On the flip side, if your biofeedback indicates that you’re not experiencing enough fear, then the game will turn things up instead.
Another way biofeedback may affect the way you play is that the game may make certain decisions for you, depending on your biofeedback. The example given here is when you face an imposing enemy. If you were given the choice to fight or flee, your heightened levels of fear getting picked up by the biosensors will make the game choose the option to flee for you.
The Sony patent argues that this will allow players to be “appropriately immersed in the game and experiencing the game as intended by the producers“. But it sounds like the opposite will happen. With this, it feels like the feature will warp the creative work of games’ makers to suit the player.
On the flip side, there is a more benign implementations of the biofeedback. For this, the lighting of the DualShock 4 changes in response to the biofeedback it gets from you. You can use this to gauge if the biofeedback sensors are getting accurately reflect what you’re actually feeling.
Of course, the patent does not describe specifically if this will be a change towards new DualShock controllers. And as with all patents, it may not actually end up as a purchasable product. For now, it’s best to not assume that this will be a feature for the PS5.