Sony Computer Entertainment America has filed a patent for in-game advertising that pauses play.
Invented by Gary M Zalewski and filed last July, the patented system is designed to suspend "playing of the interactive content," display an advert and then resume the game again. Players will get a warning that their game is about to stop.
The specific text of the patent describes it as such:
"A method for use in advertising includes initiating playing of interactive content, suspending playing go the interactive content, displaying an advertisement, and resuming playing of the interactive content."
In the small print it adds that this advert could be initiated by a server signal to make sure all players see it simultaneously, which should prevent multiplayer fans getting hit with an inappropriate advert and being disadvantaged. It also notes that the same advert could be played on multiple client devices.
While its easy to predict the outcry Sony would see if it introduced the system into triple-A titles, the scheme could work as part of a free-to-play business model.