Could That PS4 Controller Offer Fully Positional 3D Sound?

A recent patent and a bit of common sense suggests so.

ps4 controller 3d sound

That happy guy there? He’s happy because what he’s listening to is 3D. There’s a central device that knows where he and his cute little circular cheeks are in the room. From there, the audio player can adjust the sound to each ear, balancing it out using clever maths.

Funny, because the PS4 apparently comes with a couple of cameras (at least according to some recent leaks) and the shots of the controller have what looks like a Move strip on the top. From that, the PS4 can work out where you are in the room and the direction you’re facing.

And – hey – there’s a headphone jack on the bottom of the controller.

Think about it: turn your head to the left and the sound moves around to the right. Look out of your window at a passing Nissan GTR and hear it roar in full 3D. Look around in Killzone 4 and hear the bullets react to where you are in the room. You get the idea.

Not convinced? Well, Sony have just published a patent (via) doing pretty much this. That’s where the pictures of the happy guy are from. Think of it like a little punchline on a Saturday afternoon. It might not happen and might not be announced on Wednesday – but it’s possible, I think.

If you weren’t hyped for the PS4 reveal before, you might be now.

30 Comments

  1. I’m not sure I get head tracking. I mean, in theory it’s great. And If I had a three screen display it would be fantastic. But sat at the other end of a room to a TV, if I turn my head to the left, all it’s going to mean is that I will have to work a little harder to stare at the screen. Am I missing something? Admittedly, I’ve not tried it, so it could be fantastic. I guess I’ll have to wait and see.

    • You’re not missing anything really (though the camera usually turns more than you actually turn your head), some people seem to like it but I couldn’t get the hang of it.

      Not writing off all head tracking yet though, the Oculus Rift looks amazing.

    • Having audio port on each controller means games can dish out different audio track to each player.

      Think of a game where several players all have their missions described to them individually…

      Opens up LOTS of new gameplay possibilities.

  2. I really like the idea of the sound ‘shifting’ when you’d move your head. But does that mean I have to tape a ‘Move strip’ to my forehead?

  3. Now THIS sounds brilliant.

    There doesn’t appear to be as much room for a leap in graphics as there has been with the last two Playstation updates to PS2 and PS3, but sound? Aside from allowing those who have access to surround sound systems to use theirs, it hasn’t really been touched.

    Christmas 2011 I was given a pair of wireless headphones so I could finally use the PS3 with headphones (couch is too far away otherwise) and the immersion when I started Skyrim was just brilliant. It makes such a difference.

    Please, with this set-up, bring back horror in the vein of Siren Blood Curse. Proper terror please.

  4. With young people being deaf like they are, due to the fact that they always have their head phones set on high volume, I would say: “What’s the point of this?”

    • yeah, you would say that Master Chief.

  5. As cool as it sounds it seem like it would be better on a surround sound speaker setup than one little tiny speaker on a controller. If Sony is going to include this on the PS4 I’d rather they sold a separate speaker box or something that could push around a 100 watts.

    • Headphones, via that jack.

      • I’m not sold on having wired headphones. After having wireless I cant go back. It would be like putting a 3 ft cord back on the controllers. If I have to chose headset or 7.1, I’m going 7.1.
        Now if that little speaker on the controller was one of those speakers with sound wave so tight that only the person directly in front of it can hear it that would be a different story.

      • The patent does show images with a surround sound set up as well as earphones so it should work with both.

  6. Who cares what the patent is about when it looks this cute? Is that not just the most adorable application ever submitted?

    • I though that too, then I thought who would win in a fight him, or the Fallout boy.
      Is it wrong to want to watch cute things fight til the death? ;)

      • No not at all. I lead the UK’s biggest, underground Hamster fighting club.

      • yiddo, this comment makes me very happy. Ahh my imagination is running wild.

      • Some of the hamsters have been found with weapons in their little pouches. Needless to say they were disqualified and put into a Tescos burger (you heard it here first).

      • lol, I’m glad I’m not the only one, plus my psychiatrist should be releaved to hear its more common then he hoped.

  7. Siiiick

  8. So it’s like how in some games currently (if your using headphones for your game sound or a gaming chair, surround sound etc) when a characters talking and you turn to the right, his voice comes into the left sided speakers etc? But this is on a much grander scale?

    • If you mean turn in the game, then no, that’s just stereo or surround sound. But if you mean turn in real life, then yes.

      • Yeah I meant in game. Turning in real life to hear things in 3D seems inconvenient to me though, i just want to focus on what’s going on in front of me… or am i missing the point?

  9. This could be really cool if it works.

  10. Not sure that this would be any good for me.

    I have a 1080 projector and a 5.1 Dolby Digital surround sound system connected to my PS3, so what would be the point (to me) of a little 3D sound thingy coming from the controller?

    Sure, if I was in a tiny room with a nice 32″ LCD TV a couple of feet away, then maybe, but so many people have so many different set-ups, that this (if this is all true) would be unuseful for quite a lot of people.

    • The sound won’t come from the controller, it would be via headphones, no?

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