The Game AI Agents will leverage reinforcement learning – a form of machine learning in which AI agents learn to achieve goals – so that they can be used in PlayStation games either as virtual opponents or as collaborative partners.
Speaking during Sony’s corporate strategy meeting on Tuesday, CEO Kenichiro Yoshida did not provide further details on the feature, but claimed that the overall AI collaboration would make game experiences “even richer and more enjoyable”.
The comments could be related to a recent Sony patent, which described an AI used to study a PlayStation user’s play style and potentially take over playing the game for them.
According to the patent, the method involves assigning a default AI profile to the player, which starts off with a generic set of behaviours.
As the player plays a game multiple times, the AI will study their behaviour and apply it to the AI profile, meaning over time it will start to make similar decisions to the player.
The idea is to eventually end up with an AI profile that plays similarly to the player, who will have the option to let the AI take over and play the game on their behalf.
An example given is players asking the AI profile to “proceed in automatic mode to complete specific game tasks that are difficult for the user”.
Another example given is online multiplayer co-op games, where a player may need to leave the game to eat or work. In this situation, instead of the game having to end, the player can turn on the ‘automatic mode’ and have the AI play with their friends in their absence until they can return to take over again.
Sony established a new organisation in late 2019 to advance research and development of AI.
With offices in Japan, Europe and the US, Sony AI was created to “drive the research and development of AI in both physical and virtual space through multiple world-class flagship projects”, and launched with three projects in gaming, imaging and sensing, and gastronomy.