×
Cookies help us deliver our Services. By using our Services, you agree to our use of cookies. Learn More.

Rumored PS5 feature could give next PlayStation an edge over Scarlett

The next-generation console battle is just around the corner, and it seems as though graphics won't be the end all, be all measure by which these new systems are judged. Services will play an even bigger role in this next console cycle, which is likely why both Sony and Microsoft are scrambling to build out new subscription services in order to generate ongoing revenue. Not only that, the two gaming giants are looking for ways to make their consoles friendlier to a wider audience.

Which leads us to some news Sony made recently regarding a new feature we could see in the PlayStation 5; one that Microsoft's Project Scarlett may not be able to match.

According to a number of reports, Sony recently secured a patent for something called PlayStation Assist. And for those who've ever used a personal assistant like Alexa, Cortana, or Google Assistant, the functionality described in the patent for PlayStation Assist will sound awfully familiar. Assist will reportedly be a voice-controlled feature, just like those other personal assistants we mentioned. The main difference is, something like Alexa is helpful for adding items to your grocery list, or playing your favorite song when you get home from work. PlayStation Assist sounds like it'll be built with one major focus: helping gamers.

Need help figuring out where to go next in God of War? Ask PlayStation Assist for some advice and the feature could potentially draw you a path in-game. Having trouble with a fight in Bloodborne? PlayStation Assist could offer some advice on which weapons you should be using, or clue you in on the weakness of that particular boss. It all sounds incredibly helpful, and we're hopeful that Sony's done enough work in artificial intelligence to make Assist brilliant enough for these tasks.

But believe it or not, the folks at PlayStation aren't the first to tread into these waters. While PlayStation Assist could be a fantastic new feature for the PS5, and might be something Microsoft and Team Xbox can't counter right away, the Xbox One actually did something similar when it first launched in 2013.

Back when the Xbox One still had a Kinect and the "Snap" feature was still a part of the console's dashboard, Microsoft actually showed examples of players using voice commands to bring up strategy guides and YouTube walkthroughs while playing. Of course, there were no A.I. smarts behind this feature at the time; you simply used rudimentary voice commands to "snap" a browser window on the Xbox One and search for the content you needed. By the time Cortana came to the console later on, the snap feature was gone, along with anyone's desire to ever use voice commands on their Xbox One ever again.

And to further drive the point home that what's old is new again, you can compare PlayStation Assist pretty directly to what Google is trying to accomplish with Stadia, its new game streaming service set to launch in November. The official Google Stadia controller will have a dedicated Google Assistant button, giving players instant access to Google's vast wealth of knowledge. And Google Assistant on Stadia claims it'll give players more information on the game they're currently playing, help them search for guides, and more. Sounds an awful lot like PlayStation Assist, doesn't it?

The truth is, features like PlayStation Assist rarely come about in a vacuum. It seems companies like Sony, Microsoft, and Google have a bit of an idea what the others are doing, and what they themselves need to do to stay competitive. There's a chance Sony saw Google leaning hard into Google Assistant with Stadia and decided to develop its own personal assistant. And it's also possible Sony caught wind that Microsoft would be bringing a new-and-improved voice assistant to the next Xbox, spurring the team at PlayStation to respond.

However it all went down, you at least have the scoop on one feature that you could see in the PlayStation 5 when it arrives. We're not sure at this time when the PS5 will launch, nor can we confirm any features coming to the console. But the possibility of something like PlayStation Assist seems like a save bet, so don't be surprised in a year or two if you're asking your shiny new PlayStation 5 to help you find the path forward in God of War 2.