In mid-2012, Sony acquired Gaikai, a company that specializes in cloud-based services. It was an acquisition that many saw as the first step towards a new generation of gaming experiences/services, but one that also raised a lot of questions.
However, since that time, Sony has been relatively quiet with regards to cloud streaming — more specifically how they plan to take advantage of Gaikai. There has been talk of streaming PS3 games through the service, a feature that may hit the PS4 this year, but nothing definite has been announced.
Just recently, a patent filed by Sony in 2012 has surfaced, which indicates yet another way the company might utilize cloud streaming to benefit gaming. This patent would allow developers to improve classic PlayStation games by adding new obstacles or challenges on the fly.
While the particulars of the patent are a little complex, it basically gives developers a way to add a new dynamic to classic games. For example, a developer could add a new objective or restriction to a level like collect X number of coins or complete the level with only one life.
The feature would essentially suspend the game through a specific “trigger” and add those new objectives almost instantaneously. Here’s the rhetoric of the patent for a little more explanation:
“Finding new ways to play preexisting video games can increase the longevity of older games,” the patent states. “Instead of replaying the same level or completing the same missions repeatedly, gamers often desire new challenges when replaying legacy games. In response to this need, game designers have begun to produce mini-games. Within a mini-game, the gamer can be instructed to complete new objectives or challenge their friends for high scores in a format that was not originally designed into the legacy game.”
Although it’s still not entirely clear how the feature will work, and how “instantaneous” these new mini-games might pop into the main game, there is a ton of potential there. Being able to experience classic PlayStation games, only with new objectives, not only encourages fans to revisit their favorite games, but is yet another incentive for new gamers to try these classics out as well.
It’s important to note, however, that the patent was filed back in June of 2012 (right before Sony bought Gaikai), so it might be nothing more than a preliminary measure. Logic dictates that if Sony was going to do something with the patent soon they would have already announced, or at least teased, the feature. Nevertheless, it’s interesting to consider how cloud streaming can benefit gaming not just for save file storage, but to actually improve or change games.
What do you think of this patent? Would you like to see Sony introduce the feature for classic game streaming?