The easier it is for players to share their gameplay footage, the more data you—or, perhaps more importantly, a platform holder—will need in order to sort through it all. To that end, a new Sony patent filing suggests that the company's working on a machine-learning assisted player ID system to help sort and surface players' gameplay footage. This may give us an idea of how Sony's new social features for the PlayStation 5 will work.
Filed by Sony in 2019 and published by the World Intellectual Property Organization last week, this newly surfaced patent goes step-by-step in describing a method for automatically detecting the names of players in a still frame or captured video of gameplay. The process could also be extended to pick out other data, such as "tournament information" like points earned and game results, or even additional information like players' social media profiles.
In the filing, Sony lays out a number of indicators it could use in order to accurately detect player names in gameplay footage and stills. Machine learning-driven techniques could try to spot player IDs by looking for them in commonly used on-screen phrases, such as notifications for when players enter or leave games. Methods could also be used that search for characters that commonly appear in player names. "For instance," the filing proposes, "the character sequence 'xXx' is often found in the names of online players while not appearing in words found in the dictionary."
It looks like the ultimate goal of such a system may be to improve how Sony's gameplay sharing features work, perhaps giving us a glimpse at changes coming for the PS5. It seems like streamers or popular content creators could benefit most from such features: "[T]he generated data may be used to associate the video content with an identified player's player profile. This enables a player's profile to be automatically populated with relevant video content, improving their online presence in addition to assisting users in finding content associated with that player."
We've not yet seen much of the PS5's new, overhauled interface yet, let alone its creation-minded and social features, but Sony has promised to share more details closer to launch. With the unveiling of the DualSense controller in April, Sony noted that the Share button has been replaced by a Create button and that "pioneering new ways for players to create epic gameplay content to share with the world" is a focus for the PS5. Certainly, a player ID system in line with the filing could be part of these new or improved systems tied to the Create button.
All that said, it's worth noting that patent filings like these may be a better look at what the PlayStation R&D team is working on, rather than an early look at features destined for the PS5. Other recent filings from Sony point to work on contextual hint and microtransaction systems, interface revisions, and even finger tracking controllers for virtual reality. Until we see these ideas rolled out in Sony products, they're just a look at what might be coming our way.