For those that like to start a new game free from spoilers, the internet becomes a minefield weeks or months before the launch of the game as the recent near-complete leak of The Last of Us Part II proved.
Well, Sony is sympathetic to this complaint and has just recently been granted a patent for a "cross-platform spoiler block service" that could potentially be integrated into the PS5 to help you avoid any and all spoilers for games that you haven't finished yet (via Inverse).
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The basic premise of the patent is exactly what you would expect it to be, a service that prevents players from seeing any content that would spoil a game that they haven't played yet. But naturally being a patent application the volume of words that must be used in order to convey every possible version of how that is being done is impressive.
And while most of it is far from page-turning, there are some interesting takeaways in there.
One is that this seems to be more granular than you might think, the patent suggests that it wouldn't merely block all content related to a game that you hadn't completed, but that it could specifically block content relating to sections of the game that you hadn't completed yet.
"The technology disclosed herein can allow players to engage with friends and the community around narrative games with the confidence that they will not accidentally see spoilers (which can include an activity, character, item, outcome of activity, action, effect, location, and attribute of character or item)."
The other piece to this is that it suggests a level of community interaction on the console that is beyond what we've seen on the PS4 for example, while we are still eagerly awaiting more PS5 info the company has made it clear with the shift to the Create button that community-generated content is going to be a bigger part of the PS5 experience.
If you are wondering how these things will be determined it doesn't seem like Sony has any magic sauce there, "Game developers can mark specific game objects as `hidden` via an appropriate tool, and the details of those objects will be hidden from players until they discover them in the game themselves." That is slightly less encouraging as it is yet another task on the plate for developers, but for heavy narrative-driven games, if this system proves effective, I can certainly believe that they will utilize it.
While it's interesting to see Sony taking a pass at dealing with spoilers, there is nothing to suggest that this extends beyond the console, meaning that the entirety of the internet and all of the various social networks remain a problem. But this would at least prevent you from cleverly dodging every spoiler online and then booting up your PS5 to be greeted by a user video detailing the ending of your newly-purchased game.
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Sean Riley has been covering tech professionally for over a decade now. Most of that time was as a freelancer covering varied topics including phones, wearables, tablets, smart home devices, laptops, AR, VR, mobile payments, fintech, and more. Sean is the resident mobile expert at Laptop Mag, specializing in phones and wearables, you'll find plenty of news, reviews, how-to, and opinion pieces on these subjects from him here. But Laptop Mag has also proven a perfect fit for that broad range of interests with reviews and news on the latest laptops, VR games, and computer accessories along with coverage on everything from NFTs to cybersecurity and more.