A new PlayStation patent could let spectators kick players from online games.
Earlier this week, a patent called "Spectators Vote to Bench Players in a Video Game" was granted by the U.S. patent office, after Sony originally filed for the patent all the way back in January 2020. The patent points to a system of voting, whereby spectators in an online game can vote to kick an active player in the online game that they're spectating (via OPAttack).
Additionally, the patent also specifies that a notification would be provided to others in the online match, explaining that a player had been kicked by spectators. It's important to remember that this is all done through a voting system however, judged against whether the votes to kick a specific player exceed a threshold, so it's not as if one solo spectator can go around kicking whoever they please.
However, the spectators could also have the option to "warn" a player to up their game. A diagram provided with the patent filing lists "warn player to improve" as one option that a spectator can employ against a player in a match, as well as "provide custom message," indicating that a spectator could even set up a custom message to be sent to players that they deem aren't playing fairly.
It's a pretty fascinating patent filing, but as ever with these patents, there's no guarantee that it becomes a reality. Just earlier this month, Sony filed another PlayStation-specific patent, detailing a system where users could manually reassign their internet bandwidth to be applied to areas such as downloading games. This system could rapidly speed up download times for new games and updates, but again, there's no guarantee it ever sees the light of day.
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