Sony Patents PlayStation Remix (Cloud-Based Emulation)


UPDATE: This patent MAY be used to add elements to classic titles. From the description it sounds like PlayStation Remix would effectively swap between emulated and new content. Objectively, PS Remix may act as a sort of “wrapper” that could incorporate new content into emulated games.

We may be one step closer to seeing what PlayStation and GaiKai have been up to. Today a new patent has surfaced called PlayStation Remix. It was first filed on June 29th, 2012 and was finally published as of today.

A brief run-down of the service states that SCE filed a patent for “methods providing developers to ‘quite easily’ create mini-games within cloud-based, emulated legacy titles. It’s called ‘Suspending State of Cloud-based Legacy Applications’”

Moving forward the nuts and bolts of the application are as follows, “The present disclosure is related to video game emulation. Among other things, this application describes a method and apparatus for emulating a video game that includes generating snapshots that can be used for incorporating new content into the emulated video games.”

This application is presumably what will be used to stream classic games on the PS4. We’ll update this post with more information as it becomes available. The images below illustrate the application run-time environment.

A further description of the intention of the invention is as follows:

[0006] Finding new ways to play preexisting video games can increase the longevity of older games. Instead of replaying the same level or completing the same missions repeatedly, gamers often desire new challenges when replaying legacy games. In response to this need, game designers have begun to produce mini-games. Within a mini-game, the gamer can be instructed to complete new objectives or challenge their friends for high scores in a format that was not originally designed into the legacy game. Further, since the mini-game is derived from a legacy game, the gamer already knows the characters and basic components of the game, and is therefore more likely to play the mini-game. 

[0007] Mini-games often do not begin at traditional starting points that were used in the original game. For example, the mini-game may begin near the end of a level, just prior to facing a final opponent, or the boss of the level. A boss is an enemy-based challenge which is found in many video games. Bosses are generally seen at the climax of a particular section of the game, usually at the end of a stage or level. Due to the climactic nature of fighting a boss, mini-game designers may choose to use this section of the game as their starting point. In order to make the mini-game more challenging than the original version, the game designer may also want to limit the number of lives a player may use, or change other game parameters such as the amount of health the main character has remaining Other game scenarios may be chosen as starting points for a min-game. For example a mini-game may begin with the game player being the batter in a baseball game where there are two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning and the batter’s team is down by one run. 

[0008] However, in order to generate mini-games that start with these specific circumstances a game designer must reverse engineer the underlying code in each game and then rewrite the code to enable the mini-game to start under these specific conditions. This process is time consuming and expensive, because it may require multiple engineers to redevelop a single legacy game. Additionally since mini-games are shorter than full-length games, there is a need to produce mini-games in larger quantities.


Source: US Patent & Trademark Office


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Dylan Zellmer

Dylan splits time between games journalism, designing video games, and playing them. Outside of his deep involvement in the games industry, he enjoys It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, Shameless, A Song of Ice and Fire, fitness, and family.
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