Sony has patented an autonomous robotic gaming companion that emotes and emotionally responds to its user’s emotions during gaming sessions as perthe US Patent & Trademark Office website.
The patent shows a robot as a fuzzy companion next to the user on the sofa who is playing games. The robot looks like a cloud with no mouth but a pair of big eyes and boots. It is supposedly capable of talking and empathizing with players as well as move its appendages in reaction to the player’s emotion.
The patent filed mentions that the robot will most probably be “autonomous” to a point where it will sit beside you based on its own accord and not just by you placing it next to you.
The patent states “An object control system controlling an object, the object control system comprising: a feeling deduction unit configured to deduce a user’s feeling; a user internal state storage unit configured to store an internal state of the user including the user’s feeling; an object internal state storage unit configured to store an internal state of the object including an object’s feeling; an internal state management unit configured to manage the internal state of the object and the internal state of the user on a basis of the deduced user’s feeling; an action management unit configured to determine an action of the object on a basis of the internal state of the object, and an output processing unit configured to cause the object to perform the action determined by the action management unit.”
This means that it will have a system in order to detect the emotions of the users and react accordingly. The robot will be able to evaluate “feeling indexes such as joy, anger, love and surprise” and will be complemented by a biological sensor that can track the user’s heart rate and sweating state.
The motive behind the creation of this robot is to usher in a “joint viewing experience” in order to motivate users to play games and react to them in absence of a face-to-face relationship with another person.
Sony later in the patent explains “It is expected that the user’s affinity with the robot is increased and motivation for playing a game is enhanced by the robot viewing the gameplay next to the user and being pleased or sad together with the user. Further, regarding not only the game but also a movie, a television program, or the like, it is expected that the user may enjoy content more by viewing the content with the robot as compared to the case of viewing it alone.”
The robot will have a “love index” that will be affected by how the user speaks to the robot in moments of tension. If you act out at the robot, it will do the same by not empathizing with you.
The patent also mentions a computer-generated version of this companion which can be experienced in virtual reality via VR headsets. “A mechanism is proposed in which the content is reproduced in front of the user, and when the user turns sideways, the user may see how the virtual character is viewing the content together with the user,” the patent reads. So you can watch your virtual sympathy robot watching you play games if you want.” Said the patent.