Sony Could Soon Pause Games Automatically By Detecting Controller Motion

The controller could allow the game to pause on its own by detecting controller motion if the user leaves it running mid-session.

It is no surprise that sometimes users have to leave the game running on a PlayStation in the midst of a sudden occurrence. Moreover, putting the controller down for a long period to enjoy a cinematic in-game experience can also lead to hindrances to the user experience if the controller detects AFK. Sony’s latest patent attempts to reevaluate the design for good.

Sony has published a new patent dubbed “METHOD OF DETECTING IDLE GAME CONTROLLER” that discusses making the pausing system more intuitive than ever before. Until now, the controller has been unable to differentiate between the user simply not using it or leaving it on its own entirely. 

Fortunately, the new patent by Sony seeks to make the controller more intelligent and dynamic by utilizing the controller’s motion sensing system to detect if the user is away or not using the controller on purpose.

Major Takeaway

  • Sony has published a relatively new patent that elaborates on the concept of pausing the game by detecting controller motion. The method will also warn the user if they lose attention by alerting them with cues.
  • The proposed system will make it viable for the controller to detect whether the user is on a short break or has left the game for a long while.
  • The patent, if realized, will make controllers provide an intelligent and more emotive experience.
  • The patent could suggest controllers be able to use a specific gesture for the user to pause the game, but only an automatic method is described.

The current system cannot distinguish whether the user is near the controller or abruptly left the space. Having to leave suddenly sometimes results in unfortunate events where users forget to pause the game themselves. 

Sony adds, “when a user puts down a computer simulation controller such as a computer game controller, the game does not know if user is away or simply not responding.

Sony’s new system will be able to pause the game instantly without triggering the AFK timer, leading to a longer pause time. The new proposed system can save the player from dying unwilling deaths by pausing the game automatically when required. It can also detect whether the user is away or is not using the controller.

Block diagram showing the overall working of the patent.

Present principles make it possible for the game system or the game to determine whether the user has abandoned the game or simply is on a short break, so that the simulation system can take immediate action without waiting for the elapse of an AwayFromKeyboard timer.

The patent dives into various methods in how the system can be applied. One way may cause the game to run in slow motion to alert the user if inactivity is noticed. If there is still no motion detection in the controller, the game will be paused after an elapsed duration.

The instructions can be executable to, at least in part responsive to the motion state being stationary, initially slow down presentation of the computer simulation and after an elapse of a period, pause presentation of the computer simulation.

It is viable if the user is watching a cinematic scene and not using the controller, it will prevent the game from being paused automatically in that situation. The motion signals will be determined to be active in those moments and let the game play out without causing unneeded pauses because of the AFK timer.

Sony states, “When the user is binge watching a streaming video service, the service may keep playing while the user is holding the controller as indicated by motion signals from the controller and paused shortly after the user is away when controller is detected to be stationary (e.g., on the floor or dropped.)”

The patent also describes using visual and auditory cues to alert the users if they lose attention. It could wake sleepy users up, hopefully not giving a jumpscare.

The system mentions, “a visual or audible prompt may be presented on the display device 202 to the user to alert the user that the system believes the user may be losing interest in the simulation.” The game will pause until the user responds by moving the controller.

An example diagram utilizing all the discussed methods and showing visual cues to alert the user after detecting controller inactivity when a specific period elapses.

It further continues, “the simulation may be paused until such time as the controller 200 is manipulated again by the user or signals from sensors described herein indicate that the user has regained interest, with a high confidence.” The patent will also utilize AI or machine learning models to apply these examined variations.

As made clear by the patent, the motion detection system of the controller will be heavily utilized to achieve the proposed results. The patent only discusses automatically pausing the game using aforesaid methods.

However, the patent may also allow us to pause the game using a controller’s motion-sensing technology manually. It would be fantastic to pause the game by performing specific gestures with the controller. Regardless, we suggest taking this specific notion with a grain of salt

Sony arguably stands at the top of proposing eccentric yet innovative ideas in the form of patents. It recently published a patent for in-game asset generation using voice and adding controller overlay support for recorded gameplay. Not all patents will make it, but hopefully, some of these visionary ideas may become a reality soon.

What are your thoughts about Sony’s newly published patent wanting to automatically detect that the user is away by using the controller’s detection system? Do you think Sony will utilize the patent? Do let us know your opinions in the comments below.

Similar Reads: Games Market Will Generate $184.4 Billion in 2022, Down -4.3% Year On Year.

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Shameer Sarfaraz is a Senior News Writer on eXputer who loves to keep up with the gaming and entertainment industries devoutly. He has a Bachelor's Degree in Computer Science and several years of experience reporting on games. Besides his passion for breaking news stories, Shahmeer loves spending his leisure time farming away in Stardew Valley. VGC, IGN, GameSpot, Game Rant, TheGamer, GamingBolt, The Verge, NME, Metro, Dot Esports, GameByte, Kotaku Australia, PC Gamer, and more have cited his articles.

Experience: 4+ Years || Education: Bachelor in Computer Science.

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