PlayStation Assist: 8 Ways That Sony Is Leading the Future of A.I.

December 5, 2019

Gamers love to fight over which console is best. The truth is that each console has its strengths and weaknesses. However, every new generation of gaming manages to completely change the landscape for players.

Sony is a great example of this. In this generation, Sony has cornered the market on game exclusives and pioneered the PlayStation VR.

What’s next on their agenda? Artificial intelligence. Here are eight ways Sony is leading the future of A.I.

PlayStation Assist

It all started when Sony filed a new patent in September 2019. The nature of the patent describes a kind of virtual assistant that players can access while using the PlayStation 5. Sony calls it PlayStation Assist.

At first blush, this sounds a bit like “same old, same old.” After all, the PlayStation 4 already features voice commands. And the Xbox offers access to both Cortana and Alexa. What makes PlayStation Assist so special?

Sony believes that this innovation will go far beyond existing features.

More Than Navigation

Think about the ways that you use smartphone A.I. such as Siri. While Siri is not a perfect system, it makes it very easy to ask for directions, call friends, get weather reports, and so on.

Existing console features in this regard have been much more limited. For example, existing PlayStation voice commands mostly let you take screenshots, start broadcasting, and jump between the home screen and games.

Sony conceives of Playstation Assist as actually integrating with games. You might be able to ask where a nearby health pack is or get tips on how to defeat a typical boss (the patent explicitly mentions helping players defeat God of War bosses).

While Sony hasn’t said much more than this, such announcements illustrate their commitment to taking A.I. to a whole new level.

Major Organizational Moves

“Put your money where your mouth is” applies pretty literally to gaming companies such as Sony and Microsoft. A cool idea will only get the company so far. What matters is how extensively they are willing to truly invest in the idea.

And it certainly looks like Sony is taking this seriously. They haven’t just filed a patent: in November 2019, they announced they are launching a division called Sony AI to figure out exactly how far they can take this technology. Headquartered in Tokyo, Japan, Sony AI will also have offices in Austin, Texas and Europe.

If Sony can figure out how to revolutionize A.I., then gamers are likely to see Sony innovations pop up in televisions as well as in the PlayStation 5.

Triumphing Over Stiff Competition

Sony is certainly leading the pack right now when it comes to A.I. development. However, it looks like they may have some stiff competition moving forward.

Microsoft, for example, keeps absorbing other ecosystems into Xbox. Players can now enjoy access to both Alexa and Google Voice Assistant along with Microsoft’s own Cortana. 

All of this existing technology is improving at a constant rate. Therefore, Sony will have to really knock our socks off with this new app if they want to truly revolutionize A.I.

Overcoming Limits of Current Tech

Many gamers have an “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” mentality. Why develop an all-new system when the existing one works very well?

As noted above, existing tech focuses mostly on simple navigation around the system. And while it’s convenient to take a screenshot or start a stream with a vocal command, such A.I. is extremely limited.

Sony’s got big dreams of changing the games themselves and not just just improving navigation. Whether they succeed or not will basically be up to the game developers.

Leaving Things in The Hands of the Developers

It’s one thing for a company to create a gaming innovation. It’s another for new games to really take advantage of it.

Microsoft’s Kinect sensor suffered from this harsh reality. While the tech worked surprisingly well, there were only so many games that used it. And of those, even fewer games used it very well. 

Therefore, the success of Sony’s newest venture is more than a matter of technical excellence. It’s largely a matter of which third-publishers are willing to take a risk on something new!

Creating In-Game Boosters

Skepticism aside, it’s tough not to get excited about the possibilities of the PlayStation Assist. Being able to ask for help in a game is a lot easier and more convenient than looking up a YouTube video or a walkthrough.

And it would be fun if this system integrated with the game’s trophy system. Who wouldn’t want a virtual cheerleader letting you know how close you are to completing a difficult trophy?

In short, Sony is out to change not just how players game but how they view gaming as a whole. And such ambition should be commended.

Helping Casual Gamers Rejoice

So, who is the biggest winner when it comes to this technology? The answer is “casual gamers” by a country mile.

Some players prefer that games retain a high level of challenge. This is why so many players grumbled when World of Warcraft added things like dungeon queues and casual raids: it made some of the in-game accomplishments a bit less special.

While such players may grumble all over again with the PlayStation Assist, casual gamers are sure to love Sony’s dream of the future.

Are you excited about PlayStation Assist? Let us know in the comments below!

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