A new patent from Sony Interactive Entertainment patent intends to make local co-op into a big event. For a long time, the local co-op has been limited to small numbers of players that can fit onto a single console (in this case, mainly meaning four), but the patent intends to change that. The summary of the patent reads:
A technique for scaling a multiplayer co-op and competitive computer gaming to dozens or even scores of people playing simultaneously, for example, in a movie theater. The gameplay occurs on the giant screen at the front of the theater. Each person has a controller to control one character or avatar in a gameplay space that is projected on the screen. In a theater with one hundred people in the seats, for example, one hundred respective avatars can appear on the screen, each controlled by a respective different player.
The patent further reads:
As recognized herein, local multiplayer cooperative (co-op) and competitive gaming is usually done with two to four players in a room together. These experiences are built for a limited number of people playing on a single console, usually in a home.
Local co-op has been a dying art with the creation of various online game services such as Xbox Live, Playstation Plus, and more. However, the patent believes that, with the right technology, the number of players in local co-op can grow exponentially, along with other uses, such as augmented reality, as the patent explains.
There is also an opportunity to build local multiplayer games in AR, which also introduces novel challenges of rendering many slightly-different points of view of the same game.
Large numbers of players in augmented reality games have already been shown to be possible; back when Pokemon Go was first released, it sparked a frenzy of players all walking around roughly the same space, looking for wild Pokemon to catch. The patent even goes into detail on multiple ways that it could work.
In some implementations of this embodiment, at least one server communicates with the computer simulation controllers over a wide area computer network and is configured for sending audio video content representing the computer simulation to at least one display
A setup like this could make it far easier to grab a large number of people for some kind of significant gaming event like a cooperative raid or a competitive multiplayer game rather than creating a spiderweb of various consoles. We’ll have to see how this patent turns out, but until then, hopefully, the idea will bear fruit.
Just imagine a theater with 100 people in it (maybe more), and there is one giant screen. Everyone has a controller and will play together on that giant big screen. It could even be Theater Room 1 vs Theater Room 2, as the patent is not restricted to co-op. But again, we can only imagine for now, as the concept is just a patent. However, I would want to see this patent see the light of day soon, and I am sure that some of you would too.