News about the PlayStation 5 at this point is coming mostly from secondhand sources, as Sony is being pretty quiet about the system and its features. The company’s even dropping out of events like E3 where it could, theoretically, tell us more about it. So when I hear that Sony has a patent to let the DualShock 5 controller measure your hands’ sweat secretion, I begin to picture an abomination of a device that wants to know the player on an uncomfortably intimate level.
The specifics of the patent (thanks RespawnFirst) say the controller could have sensors on its grips that will read “biofeedback information” with the intention of creating “an immersive and highly interactive experience for players.” This includes things like an increased heart-rate (which other current systems like the Nintendo Switch do as well for games like Ring Fit Adventure), as well as your gross, sweaty hands.
The intent here seems to be to read a player’s reaction to in-game stimuli, like say you’re playing a horror game and your heart starts racing or your palms start sweating because the game scares you and your body reacts accordingly. But what if you’re just a naturally sweaty person? What if every time you put a controller down there’s a disgusting film of body perspiration whether you’re playing Resident Evil or Animal Crossing? What does the DualShock 5 get from these skewed readings, Sony?
While what developers hope to gain from these readings is unclear at this point, the buzzwords used in the patent like “immersive” and “experience” tend to go hand-in-hand with VR games, which Sony and the PlayStation brand have been leaning into since the launch of the PlayStation VR in 2016. Presumably, the PlayStation 5 will see some major updates to the hardware when it launches this year, and adding other kinds of updates to the ways the PS5 and VR headset can make games feel more “real” is probably a major bullet point on Sony’s list of things to achieve this generation. So maybe if the player’s heart-rate is high that could be represented in a hide-and-seek horror game where their character’s breathing becomes heavier and they’re more easy for an enemy to find? No idea how the sweat could play in, though.
It’s worth noting that a patent doesn’t mean these features will actually ever see the light of day. Companies put a ton of patents out for things they never end up using, and this isn’t even the first one Sony’s done for the DualShock 5 specifically, including last year, when it put a patent down for rear triggers akin the DualShock 4’s back button attachment.
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Otherwise, the controller shown in the patent looks mostly the same as the DualShock 4. But these aren’t necessarily indicative of what it will actually look like when Sony finally reveals it and the box itself sometime this year.
In other PlayStation 5 news, Sony…revealed the system’s logo? Also the company is apparently having difficulty nailing down a price for the console, as its manufacturing costs are making it a challenge to decide on something that is both profitable and market competitive.