An official Sony patent itemizes a couple of next-gen features that could join PlayStation Assist.
Sony has filed a patent for an in-built microphone on a controller for the goal of receiving voice commands, and while it hasn’t been verified that it’s for use with the PlayStation 5, it is easy to connect the dots, given what we’ve already heard about the forthcoming PS5 console and its controller.
The DualShock 5 – as it seems to be called – is already stirring things up on the design front with the launch of a pair of back buttons, which have since made their way to the current DualShock 4 controllers through the new Back Button Attachment. The light bar also appears to have been scrapped, maybe making more space for something more inside the peripheral – like the on-board mic.
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As stated by the patent, the controller will sport “a controller device that is held by a user’s hand, including a speaker, a microphone and a tactile presentation device that provides a tactile sense to the user’s hand,” and goes on to describe that when players are giving voice commands through the mic, “the sound of the speaker is blocked, and tactile presentation control by the tactile presentation device is made.” So fundamentally, this will work like a smart speaker.
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The feature would be a perfect way for players to utilize the PlayStation Assist – an AI assistant designed to provide in-game help, so if you’re doubting where the nearest health pack is, you can just question your controller, and it’ll give you the reply. You won’t have to shuffle through your phone and scroll through pages of search results any longer.
With a functionality like a smart speaker, it would make sense that PlayStation Assist would always be listening in the same way to Siri or Google Assistant, but apparently is this is the case, it can be deactivated. The advantages of having an on-board mic in the controller is that it’s not dependent on everyone plugging in a headset to use, and is a much more organic way to communicate with the assistance, given the frequency of other digital assistants and how we’re used to interacting with them on everyday basis.
As always, the presence of a patent doesn’t mean this is a sure thing, or that we should start drawing conclusions, but it definitely would be a good fit going on everything else we’ve heard about the controller and console so far.
We’re expecting the PS5 to be revealed at an event next month on February 5, if the rumours are to be believed so there may only be a few weeks left before we have all of the official information directly from the horse’s mouth.