A recent Sony patent suggests that the company may be working on a new A.I. system which could replace leavers in multiplayer matches.
The patent, which spread after being posted by Reddit user WolfgangKaipZ, is more than a little wordy and a bit confusing in regards to its overall intent. However, the bulk of the language which is relevant to gamers outlines several ways that a designer could achieve the basic concept of replacing a human player with A.I after they leave a competitive multiplayer match.
As many have already pointed out, we’ve seen variations of this concept before in games such as the Forza series and certain fighting titles. The idea of replacing human players with A.I in certain instances isn’t exactly “new” in and of itself.
However, this patent introduces a couple of ideas that are far more interesting than the traditional versions of this concept. Namely, it’s based on the idea that it may be possible to design an A.I. which not only replaces a human player but mimics the actions of that player through an advanced learning system.
Again, we’ve actually seen variants of this concept before in the form of things like time trial ghost cars in racing games that mimic the path taken by a player at the top of a leaderboard. One of the things that this patent suggests, though, is that it may be possible to replicate that concept in more “complicated” games such as first-person shooters and MOBAs.
While the idea of A.I. replacing leavers and replicating human actions is intriguing enough, what really catches our attention regarding this particular patent is the idea that this technology could also be used to temporarily replace a human player. That means that you could actually walk away from a multiplayer match if the need arises and return to it in order to pickup wherever your A.I. replacement left off
Obviously, there are some serious questions that need to be answered regarding the implementation and specifics of this technology, but the idea that you’d be able to “pause” a multiplayer game without ruining everyone else’s experience.
As with the other Sony patent we recently talked about (and as with all patents, for that matter) it’s entirely possible that the ideas outlined in this paperwork will not come to fruition. However, this sounds like the kind of concept that should perhaps be possible via the wonders of next-gen gaming technology.