PlayStation patent could let Sony build user profiles based on how you hold the controller

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How you hold your controller says a lot about you

Editor’s take: A recently published Sony patent application outlines a method for identifying users based on nuances in how they hold and interact with a controller. It could be an interesting alternative to traditional password-based authentication methods but what about privacy concerns?

Sony in the patent application notes that when logging into your account away from home (say, on a friend’s console), your password could become compromised by prying eyes in the room. What’s more, if you forget to log out of your account when you leave, others could potentially gain access to your profile. It’s also plausible that achievements and other in-game progress could be attributed to the wrong account.

Sony has conceived a solution that involves using a controller’s gyroscope, accelerometer, magnetometer, thumb sticks and pressure-sensitive switches (buttons) to create a unique profile of a user. The idea is that, when you go over to your friend’s house and play on their console, the system could automatically detect you based on how you uniquely hold and interact with the controller, potentially allowing you to bypass the traditional password-based login system.

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Obvious security concerns aside (do we really need yet another system building profiles for the purpose of tracking us?), one has to wonder just how effective the feature would be in the real world. I mean, are we really that cookie cutter? Do we really hold the controller in the exact same position, height and angle and press buttons with the same amount of force each and every time we play?

It seems there are just too many variables to account for here. In other words, the juice may not be worth the squeeze but that is just my opinion. What are your thoughts?

Masthead credit: Twin Design

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