In a patent application here, Sony is exploring a controller accessory that can collect select biofeedback from players specifically: heart rate measurements and electrodermal activity aka sweat.
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“There is a desire in computer gaming to provide an immersive and highly interactive experience for players, so as to enhance the enjoyment of the player,” says Sony in the patent description. “This has become of particular interest with the increasing availability of head-mountable displays (HMDs), which are provided with the intention of fully immersing a player in the in-game environment.”
The last part of the description is likely a reference to VR headsets, a field Sony dominates, at least in the console space, thanks to the PS VR headset. This means the biofeedback accessory could work specifically with VR games.
Biofeedback is a field in gaming that companies have experimented with before. Common suggestions for biofeedback accessories include usage in horror games where these tools can track when players are most scared. Health tools are another use for biofeedback and Nintendo once announced the Wii Vitality sensor for exactly that purpose before shelving the project indefinitely.Another detail in Sony’s patent application is how “there is a need to provide a low-cost peripheral” that can “provide increased functionality for a range of different applications[.]” So while there’s a chance the biofeedback feature could be found on PS5 Dualshock 5s, there’s an equal chance that this accessory is designed as a low-cost add-on similar to the DualShock Back Button attachment.
Sony hasn’t announced the biofeedback accessory officially, but it is the latest in a string of patent filings that hint and tease some new features the company is exploring and may end up on the PlayStation 5 controller.
Matt Kim is a reporter for IGN. You can reach him on Twitter.