EA considers using AI to raise and lower game difficulty as you play


(Pocket-lint) – Electronic Arts has filed a patent with the US Patent and Trademark Office that describes an in-game system to raise and lower difficulty based on a player’s skill level.

The idea is that artificial intelligence will asses a player’s ability as they play. It will then adjust the difficulty of the game accordingly, rather than suggest different skill levels or ask the player to choose.

It allows for games that are more naturally suited to player skill rather than present an experience that is either too hard or too simple. It could also put an end to “easy mode” shaming.

One benefit to AI difficulty assessment is it could help boost longevity and engagement. For example, if you die repeatedly while trying to beat an end-level boss, the AI can adjust the game settings to make it fractionally easier, yet still offer a decent challenge for your skill level.

We’ll admit, there have been many times we’ve put down a game because we were stuck in one section, without ever really picking it up again. That impacts our thoughts on whether or not to buy a sequel in future too.

Dynamic difficulty technologies have been implemented before – role-playing games have often used such mechanisms to level-up enemies to match the player’s character or party. However, this is designed to work in real-time and without the player noticing significant change.

We hope this is the first instance of EA adopting real-time AI in its games. Several years ago, we put to the FIFA team that AI could be employed to analyse and copy player play styles for offline matches, much like the Drivatar deployment in Forza games. It’d certainly make the Ultimate Team single-player grinds more interesting.

Writing by Rik Henderson.

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