Imagine playing Crash Bandicoot 3 from the PS One on your PS4 via Gaikai. Now imagine that you've reached one of the game's bosses but instead of simply having to defeat him, you have to do so within a certain time limit or with less lives, or using specific conditions. That scenario is possible with Sony's recently gone-public patent called “PlayStation Remix”.
The PlayStation Remix patent is setup to work as a buffer for new ways to experience old content via the upcoming Gaikai streaming service for the PlayStation 4. The idea would be to breathe new life and potential (re)playability into age-old classics from Sony's illustrious library of software that stretches the extent of four generations.
The patent's publishing was discovered by iGame Responsibly, where it was discovered that the patent had originally been filed back on June 29th of 2012.
The patent is vastly fascinating and anyone who regularly dabbles in emulation development or programming is probably scratching their head on how this is going to work exactly without requiring completely overhauling the game. But as mentioned in the filing by Sony Computer Entertainment, the PS Remix will allow 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’”
It's speculated by iGame Responsibly that the Remix software may work as a “wrapper”, working around the emulated content instead of actually changing it directly, very similar to the way emulation hacks/cheats work for ROMs.
This isn't a bad way to go about revitalizing classics, and it would be a nice gesture from Sony to at least bring back the old-gen titles with some new ways to interact with them. The patent also further describes on what sort of ways players might be able to interact with the software titles via Gaikai, saying...
“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. “ (contd)
For those wondering how these mini-games could be implemented, a lot of it would be “on top” of the game stream, similar to how you can mess around with various options in the emulator itself while emulating a game. So technically the “mini-games” would be running through the emulator, gauging game progress and user activity by monitoring debug data and reacting or modifying the gameplay experience based on manipulating that data. As mentioned, this sort of thing is prevalent already in hacked versions of popular ROMs, including things like Super Smash Bros. Project M.
Sony hasn't detailed exactly how the Gaikai setup will work, but we all know that Gaikai will offer a form of backward compatibility streaming for PlayStation 4 users. Whether or not the network infrastructure will support proper streaming for the average PS4 user remains to be seen, but if they can get it working properly and allow developers to exercise a measure of ingenuity into old titles with PlayStation Remix, then Sony just might have a real winner on their hands. Well, unless you have to re-buy games you already own.