The PlayStation 5's new DualSense controller has lots of nifty improvements, but the new Create button might be a gateway to a new kind of interactivity that console gaming has never seen before.
Let me preface this article by saying this is all theoretical, and my points are centered around patents that may not actually manifest into PS5 features. But it seems very likely to happen. And yes, this is a big article.
Sony just revealed the PlayStation 5's controller, the DualSense. It's a new next-gen controller design that kicks off a brand new type of peripheral; the DualShock had motion tracking and rumble, the DualSense has haptic/tactical triggers and a new kind of sound output with the PS5's Tempest audio engine. Those are exciting, sure, but the biggest innovator might be hiding in plain sight. It's the Create button that could ultimately change how users interact with games.
The Create button replaces the Share button, and its name has all sorts of implications. It'll do everything the Share button did including screenshots, video clips, and probably even direct speedy broadcasting with Twitch and YouTube streaming hooks.
But it might not just create shareable media. It could create shareable games.
It's possible the DualSense's Create button can create customized game demos that can be shared with other PlayStation Network users. The idea is you'd create a clip of a game that can be watched as well as played.
Your gear, your character, your setup--everything would be preserved in these small gameplay slices. You'd essentially be sharing a save state of your progress with someone online.
It's a replay in the literal sense of the word.
Users would create these interactive gameplay session demos with specialized editing software built into the PlayStation 5. Hence the "Create" nomenclature.
The potential here is staggering: Gamers could sample games with user-created demo clips, get tips on how to beat bosses, and generally interact with each other on a whole new level.
Gamers could create sharable links to their creations and put them in messages to friends, host them on groups, or even upload them to a special section on the PS Network. It's kind of similar to Stadia's innovative save state sharing feature.
This prediction is based around patents that Sony published in 2019 and 2020. The Create button fits perfectly with these patents.
The patents lay out three distinct pieces of the interactive demo puzzle:
- Creating the gameplay slices
- Tagging the slices
- A uniform UI platform that hosts the clips
The patent images are large so be sure to scroll down to check the rest of the content.
The first patent is the most ambitious. It essentially centers around recording actual gameplay, not just footage, but creating an actual demo based around your session, and sharing it online.
At first I thought these patents were for PlayStation Now, but in light of the DualSense developments, I think it's increasingly likely the functionality will be available across the PlayStation Network.
The initial patent does explicitly mention cloud gaming though:
A method for sharing a gameplay experience is provided, including: executing a video game by a cloud gaming system, wherein executing the video game includes processing a game state of the video game to provide gameplay of the video game; streaming the gameplay of the video game over a network, the gameplay of the video game being defined for a first user; receiving a command to share an interactive playable portion from the gameplay of the video game; responsive to the command, sharing the interactive playable portion of the video game through a social interface, the social interface enabling access for gameplay of the interactive playable portion by a second user.
We have a massive breakdown of this particular patent over here.
Next up is a patent for scene-tagging.
This is basically an extension of the first patent that lets you tag the interactive demo clips you create. It's a means of organizing and sorting the content that's uploaded to the network, and reinforces the scope of Sony's possible new plans with the PlayStation 5.
"In particular, scene tagging is used to characterize user generated content associated with gameplay information associated with video games. Exemplary user generated content include video recordings or screenshots from within the video game that pertain to events that have occurred.
"..Furthermore, the metadata associated with the user-generated content will allow viewers to experience the same content that is recorded."
Finally we have a patent for a new instant launch system on the PlayStation 5.
This system is basically what holds everything together. It'd be the interface mechanism that launches, hosts, and arranges these gameplay slices into an interactive UI. The content would be hosted as templates that can be downloaded by other gamers; templates for gameplay sessions, templates for content creation, the works.
The instant access UI serves as the gateway to everything and will tap the PlayStation 5's ultra-fast SSD to decompress and process the uploaded data.
Remember all of this is based on patents, and patents are never a sure bet. But I really think these patents will manifest into something with the PS5. It may not be exactly like the features described in the patents, but something should come out of them.
If Sony handles this properly it will open a new dimension of play, interactivity, and social engagement for PlayStation. Right now PlayStation services are big because of the PS4 console's massive install base, but even still, only ~30% of all PS4 owners buy into PS Plus.
Tying these kinds of features to PlayStation services will be tremendously potent and should spike subscribers like never before.
Now remember there's some big questions here. How long will the clips be? Will developers control when and where the clips can be made? Will certain games completely opt out of the feature? We'll leave those for Sony and game developers to answer, but this new feature could ultimately revolutionize how gamers share and play.
DualSense PS5 Controller Features:
- USB Type-C charging
- Adaptive triggers with improved actuators/haptic feedback
- Built-in Mic lets you chat without a headset
- New Create button
- Lightbars on the sides of the touchpad
- Improved battery
- Built-in speaker