According to a recently accepted United States Patent and Trademark Office patent (spotted Digital Trends) filed by Sony back in 2014, the company is working on a "system for combining recorded application state with application streaming interactive video output".
In other words, a cloud gaming service which could rival the Google Stadia and could potentially launch with the PS5.
- PS5 games: all the games confirmed and expected on the PlayStation 5
- PS5: All the games, specs, news, and rumors for Sony’s Playstation 5
- Best PS4 games 2019: the PlayStation 4 games you need to play
How would Sony's cloud gaming service work?
The patent details "apparatus for recording application state information over time while simultaneous recording application streaming interactive video output".
What it means, in laymen's terms, is that players could stream a game through a hosting server. So if you have a device that connects to the internet, be that a mobile device, console, or PC, you can connect to that server and the game you're wanting to play will be streamed to your monitor or screen, allowing can play using your preferred input device. Imagine Netflix for gaming.
Rather than downloading a game, it is instead streamed directly to your device and you would play real-time, cutting the need to delete games to make storage room on your device and reducing the hardware requirements - although you wouldn't technically own the title.
Sony also points out that this cloud gaming service would benefit game developers as the service would prevent piracy (as the games exist only on the server) and developers would be able to design games to specifically utilize the service's capabilities.
But how would player's pay for this service? Sony details two particular models in its patent. The first would see Sony itself collecting a subscription fee from users, then paying royalties to the developers. The second sees the developers themselves collecting a subscription fee from players, then paying Sony a fee for using the hosting service. However, neither model specified a price range.
We expect Sony would implement this cloud gaming service alongside the PlayStation 5, although the company hasn't specified if this is the case.
What does this mean for the Google Stadia?
Sony's cloud gaming service could be up against stiff competition when it comes to the Google Stadia. The upcoming Google Stadia promises great gaming from Chrome tab to 4K, 60fps game, in five seconds. No installation required.
In addition, Google has promised that Google Stadia's cloud computing power is the equivalent of a console running at 10.7 GPU terraflops, which is more than the PS4 Pro and Xbox One X combined - meaning it could be game-changer.
However, we currently don't know what the fees for the Stadia will be like or when it will actually release. While Google's servers arguably could handle cloud gaming more successfully, there's no denying Sony's prowess when it comes to gaming.
- Check out our hands on: Google Stadia review
And an eye-tracking VR headset?
A cloud gaming service isn't the only interesting patent Sony has had accepted. According to another recently published patent (spotted by Upload VR), Sony is working on "prescription glasses with eye gaze tracking and electro optical signaling to a HMD".
These Sony developed prescription glasses would be custom-designed for the wearer and gaze would be able to be detected by the VR headset via an encoded sensor. In other words, glasses-wearers could use VR much easier. We don't expect these glasses to come cheap, but the implementation of eye gaze software does mean we can probably expect it to arrive in the PSVR 2...