Sony Patents Playing Games In “Chunks” As They Download
PlayStation Studios | Source: PlayStation
Sony Interactive Entertainment’s new patent aims to enhance video game startup speed by introducing “application chunks,” allowing players to engage with parts of a game while it’s still downloading.
Each application chunk comes with playtime information, estimating the time for players to reach a specific point.
The system predicts download time and installs a chunk if it’s faster than the stored playtime information.
Thresholds are introduced, considering factors like minimum playtime, providing flexibility for different player preferences and application characteristics.
Players can access and interact with installed application chunks while the download continues, reducing wait times and improving satisfaction.
The system intelligently prioritises download sequences based on playtime importance, accommodating diverse player needs and usage styles.
Today, we discovered a newly released patent by Sony Interactive Entertainment titled “ACCELERATED APPLICATION START USING ESTIMATED PLAY DURATION,” filed in August. The patent, published last week, outlines a technique to enhance the speed of video game startup by enabling players to engage with portions of the video game while it is being downloaded.
“A method for accelerating the start time of an application is described herein, comprising receiving application chunk information from a user, wherein playtime information is associated with the application chunk information, wherein the application chunk is a discrete portion of the application and the playtime information is an estimated time for one or more similar users to reach a chosen state or landmark in the application; predicting a download duration from the application chunk information and network information; comparing predicted download duration to stored playtime information associated with a previously received application chunk and the playtime information associated with the application chunk information; and installing the previously received application chunk when the predicted download duration is less than the stored playtime information,” reads the patent’s abstract.
In the recent past, numerous video games introduced a functionality known as “preloading,” enabling players to experience specific segments of the game before its full download completion. Nevertheless, this approach mandated a partial download for playability and resulted in predominantly unfavourable gameplay experiences.
Recognising this challenge, the patent introduces a method that fundamentally redefines the process of application download and installation. The key innovation lies in the concept of “application chunks” — discrete portions of an application that can be downloaded independently.
What sets this method apart is the integration of playtime information associated with each application chunk. When a player initiates the installation of an application, the system receives information about application chunks from the player.
Each application chunk comes with associated playtime information, representing the estimated time it takes for similar players to reach a chosen state or landmark within that part of the application.
Utilising both the application chunk information and network details, the system predicts the duration required to download the next application chunk. This is where the magic happens. The predicted download duration is compared to the stored playtime information associated with previously received application chunks.
If the predicted download duration is less than the stored playtime information, the previously received application chunk is installed. This means players can start using a portion of the application even before the entire download is complete.
The method also introduces the idea of thresholds, allowing the system to consider factors such as a minimum playtime requirement before deciding to install a chunk. This adds a layer of flexibility, accommodating different player preferences and application characteristics.
One of the most significant advantages of this method is its ability to grant players access to the installed application chunk. This means players can start interacting with and using the application while subsequent chunks continue to download in the background.
It marks a departure from the conventional method where players had to wait for the complete download or a specific threshold before gaining access to the application. This not only improves player satisfaction by reducing wait times but also allows for a more dynamic and interactive experience.
While the remaining components are being downloaded, players have the opportunity to explore various features of the application, ensuring a seamless and engaging gameplay experience. Central to the innovation is the concept of playtime information. This data is not just a measure of the time it takes to download a chunk but is intricately linked to player interactions within the application.
The patent recognises that different application chunks may have varying levels of importance in terms of playtime, and it intelligently prioritises the download sequence accordingly. Moreover, the playtime information is associated with application chunks through a sophisticated system.
Whether stored in tables, embedded as meta-information, or included as entries, this data becomes the guiding force behind the system’s decision-making process. Taking into account player preferences, usage styles, and the specific type of application chunk, Sony Interactive Entertainment introduces a level of adaptability that resonates with the diverse needs of today’s players.
In the fast-paced world of technology, where player expectations continue to rise, innovations that address pain points in user experience are always welcome. Nevertheless, it is crucial to emphasise that, at this juncture, this method exists solely as a patent and does not assure development or implementation. Only time will reveal how Sony Interactive Entertainment plans to integrate this system into its existing and future technologies.
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From writing short stories in his room to finding true enthusiasm for video game and computer hardware journalism, Huzaifa plays video games and write all the latest and greatest news about them. Currently pursuing a Bachelor of Science degree in Data Science, he dives deep into the news, authenticating every tiny detail to serve his audience. When he’s not breaking news, he becomes a master storyteller, conjuring up captivating tales from the depths of his imagination. With a wealth of experience as a Video Game Journalist. He has also worked with Publishers like eXputer, The Nerd Mag and Gamesual making him an expert in Gaming News Industry.