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Sony’s new patent outlines a system that gives livestream viewers way too much power

Viewers will be able to vote, or pay, to kick players from a game they are watching.

video game livestreaming
Image: Unsplash

Sony is apparently looking at a new way to monetize competitive gaming. The company was recently granted approval on a patent for a system that would allow the company to make money off of livestream viewers at the expense of the players in the game they are watching.

The patent, which Sony filed back in 2020, was approved by the United States Patent and Trademark Office earlier this week. It includes several pages of details surrounding a system that would essentially give livestream viewers the ability to kick players from the game they are watching based upon a vote.

How this system will essentially work is like this: viewers watching a competitive video game will have an additional interface that shows information about the players in that particular game. Viewers will see things like players’ statistics, time played, and competitive ratings.

The audience, as a whole, will have the ability to kick any given player from a game for whatever reason. Using that same interface delivered by a “cloud gaming system,” viewers can vote to have a player kicked if their performance is not up to par.

Is this a good idea from Sony?

rlcs competitive gaming
Image: Rocket League Esports

Now, I’m not saying that this is a bad idea from the company. There’s no doubt that the idea behind a system like this is genuine, adding the ability to remove potential trolls or underskilled players from an otherwise competitive and exciting game.

What I am saying is that this is an absolutely terrible idea. A system like this will almost absolutely lead to abuse from the toxic hive mind that is livestream chats. If you’ve spent any time in chat rooms on platforms like Twitch, you know the absolute toxicity that groups of angry people hiding behind computer screens can come up with.

The patent also outlines a system where viewers can pay for the ability to remove a player from a game. While this could definitely prove to be lucrative for Sony, there’s no doubt in my mind that a system like this would end up being abused.

To be fair, just because the company got approved for a patent for this system, it doesn’t mean that it will implement. In fact, other than this patent, there’s nothing that would lead us to believe that Sony is looking to implement something like this at all. All the patent means is that nobody other than Sony can develop this system in the future.

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