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Sony's Latest PlayStation Patent Might Make Some People Angry

Could Sony look to sell more microtransactions in the next generation? The company hasn't really been known to milk consumers in the way that an EA or an Activision might, but the publication of a new PlayStation patent raises serious questions.


The patent lays out plans for an "in-game resource surfacing platform," which is just a fancy way to say, "Thing that shows players the items they might need." It basically looks at where the player might be stuck in a specific game and offers some targeted assistance. This all seems innocent enough until you see a drawing associated with the patent. That's when things go south.

The sketch shows someone playing a game and asking, "Hey PlayStation, how do I defeat the boss?" The PlayStation UI then displays something on the screen: "resource X. Buy now!" That's more than enough to send a shiver down your spine — if it doesn't make you angry first.

Microtransactions are becoming more prevalent

If there is one thing the majority of gamers agree on, it's that microtransactions have infiltrated software to a stunning degree. Most major titles now have microtransactions of some kind, whether they're in-game item shops, loot boxes, or battle passes. These offer developers additional revenue on top of a game's price, which can help fund live services like events.


Some games go a bit overboard with them, though; take Call of Duty hiding your kill/death ratio behind a purchase, for example.

It's entirely possible Sony's patent only covers in-game resources, like Raid Banners in Destiny 2 or better pieces of armor in The Elder Scrolls Online. That's a more innocent and more useful way to implement something like this. If Sony is indeed giving developers an easier path to sell us extra stuff, though — and that stuff will be pushed on us when we're asking for a little bit of help — that is not going to make many gamers very happy.

We'll keep our eyes peeled for an explanation from Sony on this one. Hopefully this idea is better than it looks.