New patent suggests PlayStation Assist is Sony's answer to Alexa and Cortana

"Hey PlayStation!"

Following Microsoft's Cortana and Amazon's Alexa, Sony has filed a new patent for an AI-powered voice assistant called PlayStation Assist.

According to games industry analyst Daniel Ahmad, the assistant will work in-game, so you can ask a question - such as, say, where's the nearest health pack, or help on where to head to next - and the assistant will mark its location on your in-game map.

Sony itself describes the feature as "a method for gaming assistance".

"For example, when a player gets stuck on a part of a gaming application, the player can request help through a query to a back-end game assist server," says the science bit of the patent application. "The query may be of any format, or a combination of formats, including audio, text, video, etc. The game assist server is configured to match the query to modelled responses based on a current game context from which the query was presented."


The patent explains the matching will be performed by "deep learning engine", managed by the game assist server or by a third party AI, so the "gaming experience of the player is improved".

"The player may want to gain more information about some aspect of the gaming application, such as character information, strategy information, overall popularity of the gaming application, scheduling a time to play with friends in a multi-player format through a cloud gaming service, gaining information about social network friends who are playing the same gaming application or another gaming application (e.g., discover what gaming application a friend is playing, obtaining information about that gaming application, obtaining purchasing information about that gaming application, etc.), obtaining information about how to overcome some obstacle preventing the player from advancing in the gaming application, etc.," adds Sony (via that very long sentence).

"As a result, the player has a more immersive experience with the gaming application, such that rather than just playing the gaming application out-of-the-box, so to speak, the player can enhance his or her game play with information that is presented (e.g., audio, text, video, etc.) simultaneously with the game play, and/or a running conversation with an automated gaming assistant (e.g., gaming butler/navigator) during the game play that is configured to provide psychological and informational support to the player."


The patent also includes details of a companion mobile device which could also track your in-game achievements and statistical information, such as how long you've been playing, and so on.

Of course, we see plenty of patents that never come to fruition, and this too could be one of them. But it's certainly plausible we could see this one come to life, particularly as the range - and scope - of digital AI assistants continues to grow, both in the games industry and beyond it.

Last month, a patent filed by Microsoft hinted at plans to turn smartphones into a handheld gaming device. The patent wasn't for the controller device itself, though; instead, it detailed a charging device for "removable input modules" that would feature two halves of a controller, each of which could be clipped around your smartphone to create a handheld gaming device not dissimilar to the Nintendo Switch. Unlike the Switch, however, it's suggested this device can only be used to control games streamed via Project xCloud games.

Sometimes we include links to online retail stores. If you click on one and make a purchase we may receive a small commission. For more information, go here.

Jump to comments (13)

About the author

Vikki Blake

Vikki Blake


When​ ​her friends​ ​were falling in love with soap stars, Vikki was falling in love with​ ​video games. She's a survival horror survivalist​ ​with a penchant for​ ​Yorkshire Tea, men dressed up as doctors and sweary words. She struggles to juggle a fair-to-middling Destiny/Halo addiction​ ​and her kill/death ratio is terrible.


Call of Duty Modern Warfare 2 Remaster launches tomorrow

UPDATE: Activision finally confirms - and announces PS4 timed exclusivity.

Long-running Official Xbox Magazine shuts down

Future bosses say they've taken pay cuts to reduce lay-offs.

FeatureAs Riot bids to take on Blizzard and Valve, the studio faces challenges of its own making

"There are no limits" co-founder Marc Merrill tells us, as a new world order emerges.

Someone's built the entire Earth in Minecraft - to scale

And he wants your help to add buildings.

You may also enjoy...

FeatureSomeone tried to rob me in Animal Crossing

To the victor, go the spoiled turnips.

Bethesda will skip holding digital event in June

"Given the many challenges we're facing due to the pandemic."

Rayman Legends is currently free on PC until the end of the week

As part of Ubisoft's month-long stay-at-home event.

Comments (13)

Comments for this article are now closed. Thanks for taking part!

Hide low-scoring comments