In 2020, Sony made a patent for a new technology that would allow spectators and participants of a match to vote to eliminate a particular player, even for real money. The United States Patent and Trademark Office, or the administrative body in charge of issuing patents and trademarks registered in the United States of America, accepted Sony’s patent today, publishing it on its official website.
The operation of the new technology is relatively simple. If players are dissatisfied with a teammate’s performance during a live-streamed match, they can vote to remove them from the match with immediate effect. The same action can be performed by spectators, who can gather and vote (even by paying a certain amount) to kick a player.
To avoid abuse of this system, it is required that the vote reaches at least 60% of votes in favor of removing the player, with the votes of the pro players that should have a different weight. Once the voting is complete, the system should display the relevant player’s score and other statistics and finally proceed with the removal. A “cloud gaming system would manage all this,”
The “benching” system, as defined by Sony in the patent, should serve to eliminate the frustration of players who, for one reason or another, cannot achieve certain results due to teammates. It is not uncommon for competitive multiplayer video games such as League of Legends, Overwatch, Rocket League, or Rainbow Six: Siege to have players rowing against the team, for example, by voluntarily sabotaging matches and Sony seems intent on solving these problems with the new patent.
With the acquisition of Evo after all, it is natural that SIE is willing to take the eSports and competitive gaming sector even more seriously, and activating this new feature during tournaments could ensure a greater balance between players.
Of course, as many of you may have noticed, several elements don’t add up. First of all, it is not clear why Sony is thinking of introducing a system that allows them to pay to remove a player, given that giving such power to the spectators of a game could create serious problems due to “trolling.” The patent also refers to the possibility of the chat directly writing a message to the player, ordering him to “improve his gameplay” if he does not want to be kicked out.
Furthermore, as pointed out by Kotaku, it is not clear whether this technology was designed exclusively for eSports or not, since it is always possible that Sony decides to activate it as a new feature for PS4 and PS5. According to several users, this technology’s inclusion could also create discrimination problems based on sex, as girls are generally considered less suited to competitive play.
Filing a patent doesn’t necessarily mean activation is imminent, so Sony may have patented the idea to keep all options open. Despite everything, the very idea of allowing the spectators of a game to kick a player for real money can only be seen as a very dangerous precedent.