Sony Patents Playing Games in Chunks as They Download

Sony Interactive Entertainment recently filed a patent for a system allowing players to download games in smaller playable chunks. This is distinct from current systems, which let players start the game after the installation progress reaches a preset percentage.

Sony patents system of “application chunks”

As VeryAli Gaming recently broke down, the patent outlines a new technique that splits games into what Sony calls “application chunks.” Each chunk contains data estimating the playtime for that section of content. The game data also includes a threshold for the minimum amount of playtime.

The system then compares the estimated playtime of the downloaded chunks to the estimated time to download the next chunk. If the estimated playtime meets the threshold and is longer than the time to download the next chunk, Sony’s system installs the previous chunk. Users can then play those chunks as the download continues in the background.

Sony’s latest patent application also includes a system for prioritizing chunks based on their importance to the program. The system also factors in how the individual user plays the game and uses that information to update its playtime estimates. Sony’s system will use the chunk’s priority, playtime data, and user preferences to select the next chunk to download.

If the system works as intended, it should help players get into the game faster without waiting for lengthy downloads. However, it is worth emphasizing that that is still an “if.” This is also just a patent application and not something Sony plans to roll out tomorrow. It may be a long time before Sony puts this theory into practice, assuming it ever does.

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