Will the PS5 Spark New Uses for Machine Learning?
Based on recent news, it seems that AI is going to end up making another appearance in gaming.
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The history of machine learning started in the 1950s, and by 1959, the first machine learning system was developed and could play checkers and improve based on past experiences. Technology has progressed drastically since that time, and the use of AI has shifted towards helping consumers and businesses connect.
We now see companies using AI to target customers using chatbots, predicting consumer behavior and responding accordingly, or even helping business owners view and track their site analytics in real time.
Based on recent news, it seems that AI is going to end up making another appearance in gaming, and this time, it’s much more sophisticated than learning to play checkers. We are going to take a look at recent news surrounding the PlayStation 5 console release and how Sony might use AI to create a gaming experience suited for everyone, regardless of skill.
Gaming and Machine Learning
Traditionally, if a video game wanted to implement any form of AI into their games, this had to occur during development. We see many games that use AI to craft custom experiences for gamers.
The most common example that comes to mind is Valve’s 2008 hit zombie game, Left 4 Dead. The game focused on situational levels with a hidden “AI Director” that was in charge of sending out hordes of zombies if they player was doing well, or spawning some extra med-kits if the player is struggling. Artificial intelligence in Left 4 Dead made the game replayable to the point that people are still playing the 2009 sequel, Left 4 Dead 2, a decade later.
If recent news surrounding the PS5 turns out to be accurate, gamers could be in for a much richer experience that’s tailor-made to the person holding the controller.
The PlayStation 5 Patent
It was recently revealed that the PS5 is in the works and scheduled to release at least a year from today. Many people are speculating that it will release during fall of 2020, the same time as Microsoft’s new console, which is codenamed, Scarlett.
Interestingly, it was recently uncovered that Sony filed a patent in October 2018, formally called US20190060759A1. The title of the copyright is “Personalized data-driven game training system,” an apparent reference to using an individual’s gaming experience to change the way the game operates on the PlayStation 5.
A deeper dive into the abstract only cements this idea. Let’s break down the patent abstract in two parts and figure out what this could mean for gaming.
Breaking Down the Abstract
The first section of Sony’s patent reveals the following:
“A video game console, a video game system, and a computer-implemented method are described. Generally, a video game and video game assistance are adapted to a player. For example, a narrative of the video game is personalized to an experience level of the player. Similarly, assistance in interacting with a particular context of the video game is also personalized.”
In other words, the patent is designed for a video game system — seemingly the PS5 — and can adapt to player behavior. The first example they give discusses the idea of personalizing a story-driven narrative for consumers based on their experience.
Imagine if you wanted to play a game, but you were not familiar with the genre. You may be inexperienced and need a little help getting through the first couple levels. It appears that this AI-based technology can pick up on a consumer having trouble with a game and scale down the difficulty so that they can still enjoy the experience.
The second example seems almost like the AI is going to predict whether or not a player is having trouble with a specific area of the game. If the device registers the user as having trouble, they can offer them a tutorial to make them a stronger player. The exciting part about this program is that it seems to be able to scale upwards too. If a game is too easy, the device can crank the difficulty up to present a more significant challenge to the consumer.
The abstract continues:
“The personalization learns from historical interactions of players with the video game and, optionally, other video games. In an example, a deep learning neural network is implemented to generate knowledge from the historical interactions. The personalization is set according to the knowledge.”
Here’s the interesting part of the abstract. According to what we see here, this new console will come with a deep learning neural network that can generate data from past experiences -- which is the actual definition of machine learning. The system will seemingly interact with players around the world, figure out an “average” and then use that baseline to make games more accessible or more challenging, depending on your skill level.
Machine learning has invaded every area of our lives, including business marketing, setting appointments, voice search, and soon, our gaming consoles. If Sony plans on implementing this technology with their PS5 console, is it a safe bet that Microsoft will do the same with Project Scarlett? Only time will tell, but one thing is for sure — AI is helping us get more done, learn more about customers, and very soon, it’s going to help enhance the gaming industry.
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