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Latest Sony Patent Outlines Shadow Banning on PlayStation VR

VR players could be banned without any warning.

Over the last year or so patents filed by Sony Interactive Entertainment (SIE) have generally focused on hardware, showcasing some interesting ideas for the company’s next headset. The latest patent to be published is very different, looking at a social system to shadow ban PlayStation VR players if they behave inappropriately online.

Originally filed back in 2017 only a few months after the launch of PlayStation VR, the patent was published earlier this month by the United States Patent and Trademark Office. Shadowbanning is generally used by developers to discreetly remove players from an online community, usually without any warning, so players only become aware after the fact.

In the patent, SIE talks about “tracking inappropriate behaviors including inappropriate language and comments; inappropriate gestures and inappropriate movements.” The last two could be highly useful where virtual reality (VR) interactions are concerned due to the amount of motion control afforded to players to make the gameplay more immersive. The idea is to remove players known as “griefers” by generating a safety rating from a series of variables.

The patent proposes a range of inputs such as voice recognition, gaze tracking, motion tracking, and behaviour tracking, identifying foul language or inappropriate touching which would add to a users rating. Once they manage to reach a particular threshold they receive a shadowban.

Sony Shadowban patent

While it’s important that SIE tackles this subject due to VR’s unique immersive qualities, there’s no indication that the system has been implemented. This could very well be the groundwork for PlayStation 5’s unnamed VR headset which has more tactile controllers “Orb” controllers.

Social interaction in VR is viewed by companies such as Facebook as a highly important part of the tech’s future, with avatars becoming even more expressive thanks to eye-tracking and facial tracking. If shadowbanning becomes part of SIE’s VR plans, VRFocus will keep you updated.

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