Your PlayStation 3 may become a reasonably priced, earthbound Satellite of Love, if Sony Computer Entertainment America's patent application for a Mystery Science Theater 3000-like interactive television becomes a real-life product.
Sony's patent for a "Method and Apparatus For Real-Time Viewer Interaction With A Media Presentation" was filed back in April, but eagle-eyed patent watcher Siliconera spied it today. The patent essentially describes a system that would show viewers in avatar form, overlaying a "media presentation" such as a movie or TV show, letting them interact with on screen action.
That interaction as described in the patent includes behavior like throwing tomatoes at an actor's face—complete with face and target tracking—and shooting games, specifically shooting a spider off an actor's back. A third example shows on-screen avatars kicking an actor "in the behind."
Kind of like Microsoft's Xbox 360 game You're In The Movies, only appealing.
Those avatars are shown seated in the foreground of the screen, on top of existing media, not unlike the cast of Mystery Science Theater 3000. (The patent actually makes mention of MST3K in the background of the invention.)
If we're reading the patent right, it looks like it may apply to pre-existing media, like DVDs or streamed Netflix content, as well as video content that could be meta-tagged to identify interactive areas. In other words, facial recognition from video content could be targets, but specific games could also be designed around the system.
Furthermore, the patent data has advertising already in mind, with Nike logos and Coca-Cola cans offered as possible overlays on top of existing media.
The diagrams showcasing the invention show off an interface that fits with Sony's motion controller set up, which uses the PlayStation Eye and its built-in microphones in tandem with handheld controllers.
Of course, all this avatar ass-kicking and spider shootin' misses a key component of the MST3K experience—the laughs.