A Sony Patent Application, published late last month, describes "a computer-implemented method for processing operations for integrating audience participation" which could be set for PSVR2.
'Asymmetric VR' as a concept is nothing new. It basically just describes local VR multiplayer where some users are in VR and some users are not.
But a recent Patent Application filed by Sony contains an interesting twist on the technique which could allow spectators to shape the adventure in real time...
The situation described is basically just an asymmetric VR audience voting system. An example drawing supplied below the description gives a example of how this will work in practice. A user in an HMD is told in their view that the "spectators are voting" on which item he will receive in-game. Independently, a party of four sit on a sofa in front of a television with a camera mounted on top.
The television set displays a choice with a message to "VOTE NOW!", given the option of a sword (option A), some sort of alien creature (option B), and a soup ladle (option C.) The four spectators in front of the television hold cards (or perhaps their mobile phones?) which display their choices. The audience votes 3:1 to hand the player a soup ladle.
The user in the HMD is then told the audience's choice and proceeds forward with their adventure in VR. By the way, the fourth spectator wanted the strange creature: and I can't say I disagree.
Companies file patents all the time, and they more often than not come to nothing: something we're well familiar with over here at VR Final. But the fact that Sony are working on VR at all is quite exciting, particularly as the PSVR hype has started up again with HITMAN 3.
Here is the patent application abstract in full, so you can hear straight from the horses mouth how Sony are scheming to improve PSVR party-play:
"A computer-implemented method for processing operations for integrating audience participation content into virtual reality (VR) content presented by a head mounted display (HMD) of an HMD user is provided."
"The method includes providing a VR scene to the HMD of the HMD user and receiving indications from one or more spectator devices of respective one or more spectators. The indications corresponding to requests for audience participation content for participating in the VR scene."
"The method includes sending audience participation content to the one or more spectator devices. The audience participation content configured to be displayed on respective displays associated with one or more spectator devices."
"The audience participation content further includes interacting content for obtaining spectator input from the one or more spectators via the one or more spectator devices, respectively."
"The method includes augmenting the VR scene based on the spectator inputs in response to the interactive content of the audience participation content."