Subscriptions typically succeed based on two things: Value and features. Sony's new PlayStation Spartacus subscription might offer both.
Sony is readying a new subscription service to rival Xbox Game Pass. The service is codenamed Spartacus, and would merge PS Plus and PS Now together complete with legacy PS1, PS2, PS3, PS4, and even PS5 games. Reports say there may be three pricing tiers:
- Tier 1 - Basic PS Plus membership
- Tier 2 - Tier 1 + PS4 and PS5 games (similar to PS Plus Collection)
- Tier 3 - Tiers 1-2 + game streaming, demos, and PS1, PS2, PS3 and PSP games
On paper that sounds incredibly ambitious. Depending on total cost, the value proposition is there. But Sony could go way beyond our expectations with an innovative new feature that allows Spartacus subscribers to create and share their save states and custom game demos with friends.
Sony has patented a unique feature that would effectively let you turn recorded videos into playable "slices" of content. The patents mention "cloud-based game slice generation and frictionless social sharing with instant play."
You know how you can watch user-created gameplay videos on the PlayStation Network? Imagine if you could actually take control of that sequence and play the game with someone else's save, complete with loadout, character progression, etc. You would literally be playing a video.
The new feature would let you edit slices of gameplay, piece them together in a free playable demo, and send them off to friends.
Here's how it would work: Spartacus subscribers would record their "gameplay slices" and upload them to the network. These "gameplay slices" would actually be playable snippets of interactive content.
Creators can select a starting point and an ending point for their shareable game demo (referred to as a "game slice" in the patent) and then upload it to the PlayStation Network. They may also be able to share links via PSN messaging with friends to provide instant access.
The PlayStation Network would have a special section with clickable videos that are both watchable and playable via cloud streaming.
We've written about these patents in length across three different articles:
- New PS5 Sony patent allows frictionless game sharing with instant play
- Sony patent turns shared videos into playable game demos
- PlayStation game demos are coming back with Sony's ambitious new plan
In one embodiment as illustrated in FIG. 2, the game manager module 312 identifies the various games that are popular or highly rated within the game network/social network and generates the GUI with the identified games organized in a ranking order of popularity. In one embodiment, the games/game slices returned in the GUI are organized into categories. FIG. 2 illustrates a sampling of the various categories into which the games are organized by the ranker module 312- a within the game manager 312.
FIG. 6 illustrates flow chart operation of an alternate method for processing game slices over a cloud game network, in another embodiment of the invention. The method begins at operation 610, wherein a plurality of games is retrieved and returned for rendering on a display of a client device, in response to a request for accessing games received from the client device. The games are presented on graphical user interface (GUI) at the client device.
The games include a plurality of game slices. Each game slice is a portion of the game that is less than the entire part of the game and is defined by a user. Passive selection activity is detected proximate to an initial image of a selected one of the games at the GUI, as illustrated in operation 620.
The passive selection activity causes the server to retrieve and present a primary video segment for one of the plurality of game slices associated with the selected game for rendering at the display of the client device. During the rendering of the primary video segment, active selection activity is detected for the primary video segment, as illustrated in operation 630.
There's no full evidence that this feature will actually show up in PlayStation Spartacus. But if it does, Spartacus could evolve and help transform the subscription-based cloud-streaming market and offer real competition to Xbox Game Pass.
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