Sony is developing ‘AI agents’ that can assist or compete with gamers

Sony's AI division has been working with PlayStation to improve artificial intelligence in video games

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Sony has revealed that its artificial intelligence division has been working with PlayStation to improve AI in video games.

CEO Kenichiro Yoshida made the announcement during a corporate strategy meeting this week. During the talk, he noted that the two groups are leveraging reinforcement learning to develop “Game AI Agents that can be a player’s in-game opponent or collaboration partner.”

Yoshida didn’t provide any further details, but what he mentions is similar to an AI model that Sony patented earlier this year. In that patent, Sony outlined an AI that could study a player’s gameplay in order to understand and even predict future behaviour.

While this was specifically positioned as an “autopilot” tool for players in instances when they’re busy, it’s easy to see how an AI that knows how your habits could also be used to play with or against you in real-time.

As always, it’s important to stress that patents don’t necessarily point to a product or feature that will ultimately see the light of day. That said, this patent is part of a larger ongoing investigation from PlayStation into offering more features to aid the player in various ways.

On PS5, there’s a PlayStation Plus-exclusive ‘Game Help’ feature to provide short video guides in supported games. And earlier this month, another PlayStation patent surfaced that pointed to Sony enlisting “expert” gamers who could assist players in real-time in exchange for in-game rewards.

Elsewhere in the presentation, Yoshida reiterated PlayStation’s larger goals beyond just selling PlayStation consoles and games. Specifically, he said it aims to further grow its PlayStation Network, PlayStation Plus and PlayStation Now services, which it might look to do via an Xbox Game Pass rival or upcoming Discord integration.

Additionally, Yoshida says PlayStation is looking to bring its franchises to mobile (an area in which it’s been looking to hire an executive) and film and television (such as this year’s Uncharted movie and the undated HBO adaptation of The Last of Us).

Sony’s full presentation can be found here.