Sony Patent Wants to Detect AFK Quickly Through Controller Motion

A new idle game controller (AFK) patent from Sony aims to enhance user experience by automatically pausing the game if the controller is stationary.

It’s an unfortunate fact of gaming that sometimes you have to put the controller down in order to attend to some other business. This can also happen when you’re in the middle of something in-game, but Sony has filed a patent to make that less of an issue for the game, according to the patent’s background.

As understood herein, when a user puts down a computer simulation controller such as a computer game controller, the game does not know if user is away or simply not responding.

If a person has to put a controller down mid-gameplay and doesn’t have the time to pause, this could happen in the middle of something like an action scene, where not being able to pause the game beforehand means a death could occur and reset progress. Being able to move without having to wait for a timer, in the patent’s words, can make the pause time happen faster.

Present principles make it possible for the game system or the game to determine whether the user has abandoned the game or simply is on a short break, so that the simulation system can take immediate action without waiting for the elapse of an AwayFromKeyboard timer.

Of course, the idle game controller patent also includes various different kinds of “pausing” the game over time if someone needs to put the controller down and can’t manually pause, such as if the person only needs to be away from the game for a short period of time.

In example implementations the instructions can be executable to, at least in part responsive to the motion state being stationary, initially slow down presentation of computer simulation and an elapse of a period, pause presentation of the computer simulation.

Exactly what kind of effect that this sort of patent will have on gaming remains to be seen, but Sony does appear to believe that such a system will be able to enhance the gaming experience, so who knows?

Hunter is senior news writer at He is a long time fan of strategy, RPG, and tabletop games. When he is not playing games, he likes to write about them.