This clever Sony patent could mean the end of annoying keyboard timeouts when tested.
Ever had to drop your controller while playing one of your favorites FPS games to answer the door, only to return to find your character dead on the floor, brutally slain by a hidden enemy? What if there was a way for your controller to pause the game for you by simply putting it down?
That’s what the creators of the “method to detect inactive controller” (opens in new tab) patent hunting. The patent, filed with Sony in 2021 and published on November 3 this year, proposes using a combination of existing motion sensor technology and camera feed information to add a feature to the DualSense wireless controller which would autonomously pause games when the player puts down their PS5 controller.
After the news about the position posted on a prominent gaming forum (opens in new tab)PS5 users took the time to weigh the pros and cons.
“So I change positions to get comfortable and the game randomly pauses itself?? No, thank you,” says one user, while another points out that Sony would do well to extend the battery life of the DualSense controller first before spending time developing other features.
If the patent went through, it wouldn’t just become one of nearly 36,000 granted Sony patents (opens in new tab) worldwide, but it could completely revamp in-game pause systems.
The patent explains that currently “when a user puts down a controller, the game doesn’t know if the user is way ahead or just unresponsive.” This triggers the start of a long AFK timer that usually kicks in the moment you’re idle in a game. This can take up to 20 minutes for certain games to time out, and only then will the game register you as if you weren’t there.
The patent also proposes using existing motion sensor technology to give controllers an autonomous sense of where a user is and when they put the controller down to do something else.
However, this information can be verified by additional data from microphones and even camera feeds. “Voice information can be implemented on the acoustic signals,” the patent reads, and “images from the camera can also be recognized.”
While this all helps the device get enough data to register when you put down a controller rather than just sit there for a while, it could be a concerning security or privacy issue for the more risk-averse gamers.
If the submission is honored by Sony, it will be a long time before it is patched into the DualSense via a firmware update.
As with this motion sensor patent, it can take up to 18 months for a filed patent to actually be published. As the number of patents filed has dropped significantly from nearly 12,000 submissions in 2019 to just 2,421 in 2021, Sony is still catching up with publishing patent filings from pre-Covid times.
While it would be great to have a pause-savvy controller standing by your back when you need to step away from yours temporarily, we shouldn’t get too excited just yet.
Besides, unless there’s a way to stop pauseless games like Elder ring without it being necessary Elden Ring modsfans of online co-op gaming will probably still find themselves in an awkward position when their takeaway arrives just as they are in Warzone Caldera.