Will Sony AI Win The Race To Build Smarter Games?

Credit: Pxhere.com

If you’re a gamer, you’ve likely spent many hours plowing through enemies running cliche routines or stuck behind an AI ally that can’t quite make it through a door:

Sony AI is looking to change that with smarter gaming artificial intelligence, delivered through smarter teammates and opponents that’ll give an enhanced gaming experience on PlayStation.

Yet, gamers have heard this countless times, but there’s something different this time – the tech Sony is focused on is reinforcement learning, and it is backed with live proof.

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The big focus on reinforcement learning

Sony AI was announced in 2019, but was officially founded in April 2020, with a focus on developing Game AI Agents that can serve as a player’s teammate or in-game opponent through something called ‘reinforcement learning’:

But what is reinforcement learning? Reinforcement learning relies upon trial and error techniques to teach AI agents (characters) how to carry out particular tasks or missions.

What this means is that, the more you play, the more the AI learns. And with all this hooked up to a central network, AI’s learnings can be shared, so what an agent learns against one player could end up being replicated against countless other gamers.

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Proof reinforcement learning works

Reinforcement learning has been proven to be a natural fit for video games, especially those games where AI agents can run and operate at high speeds. This has been the focus of years of research that initially showed up in DeepMind’s StarCraft II AI:

Based on reports, StarCraft II’s AI is better than 99.8% of all human players.

While many gaming companies have an investment in gaming AI, and many people believe Sony and Microsoft are sworn rivals, both companies are actually working together on AI.

So, no one will win the AI race – except for gamers looking for better gaming experiences.

However, Sony is making more moves than just AI. Read on for more.

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The future of Sony PlayStation

In other strategic developments at Sony, the company also plans:

To convert more Sony game titles into TV shows and movies

The company plans to do this through another subsidiary company, PlayStation productions. The biggest example of this is the soon-to-be-released Uncharted movie, which stars Spiderman-fame Tom Holland as Nathan Drake.

Expand on its first-party game titles and franchises to mobile gaming

PlayStation owns a massive catalog of various first-party IPs that can be transitioned into smartphone gaming, thus complementing PlayStation’s live service games or AAA games.

However, it is noteworthy to point out that Sony has a dedicated subsidiary, established in 2016, to developing smartphone games, but the company has not made any considerable progress yet.

Expand PlayStation Now, PlayStation network, and PS Plus Networks

Sony has firmly announced plans to expand its user base of 160 million to 1 billion in the coming years. However, reaching this massive number also means growing and expanding the company’s many online services and subscriptions, including PlayStation Plus.

While growth in PlayStation Plus has remained steady, it has not been the type of explosive boom the company is looking at to meet the estimated 1 billion users. On the other hand, it is interesting to note that Microsoft has made an enormous move in pushing its subscription gaming through the very popular Xbox Game pass.

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With Sony recently announcing that it has implemented various structural reforms, the gaming community awaits with bated breath to see what new enhancements PlayStation and AI can bring about in their gaming experiences.

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