Sony PS5 could one day play itself — here's how

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Update: The latest PlayStation patent application could see the PS5, or a future console, could get improved ray tracing

A Sony patent has been uncovered that suggests the company is looking into creating artificial intelligence that can learn from an individual player’s behavior and eventually mimic it to the point where the computer could take over and play through games for you. 

The wording in the patent states that it's for an “automated artificial intelligence control mode for playing specific tasks during gaming applications.” Sony originally filed for this in April 2020, as discovered by SegmentNext, and it sounds like something ripped straight from an episode of Black Mirror.

According to the patent, the artificial intelligence (AI) would begin with a default human behavioral program, but over time it would learn to simulate individual behaviors by “monitoring a plurality of game plays of the user playing a plurality of gaming applications.” The AI would then replicate the way the user it had been studying plays games. 

Once the AI has a playstyle profile of you, it would be able to take over and continue progressing through the game for you, while you go about the rest of your life. Now, while on the surface this sounds extremely dystopian, and probably a precursor to SkyNet, the patent does note some practical applications. 

The filing specifically mentions how it could be used to help in “tasks that are difficult for the user.” So imagine if you were stuck on a boss in PS5 exclusive Demon’s Souls, you could just switch the AI on and it would complete that section of the game for you. It could also be used for tedious grinding tasks in looter games like Destiny 2 or Outriders

Demon’s Souls review: The best reason to own a PS5

(Image credit: Sony)

It could even have implications for co-op games. Maybe your usual gaming partner isn’t available. Well, use this AI program and you blast through games like It Takes Two with just you and a computer program that simulates the way you play. 

Further applications outlined in the patent include its use in “competitive multi player games.” For example, if a player leaves mid-match the AI could simulate how they play so the game can be finished without one team being at a disadvantage. Your “online presence is maintained” even when you’re offline essentially. 

Of course, the idea of forking over hundreds of dollars for a PS5 itself and then dozen more dollars for games only to let an AI play for you will seem completely pointless to some, but the patent does make a convincing argument for why it could be useful. Just so long as the ability to become sentient and destroy all human life is kept in check.    

It’s worth noting that companies file patents all the time for intellectual property protection reasons, and often don’t follow through with the products and ideas contained within them. This isn’t the first slightly whacky Sony patent discovered either, earlier this year one involving controlling a PS5 with a banana was unearthed. 

While we wait to discover if the dream (or should that be nightmare) of having AI complete games for us becomes a reality, you might still be trying to pick up a PS5. Our where to buy a PS5 guide will help you do just that. 

Rory Mellon
Entertainment Editor (UK)

Rory is an Entertainment Editor at Tom’s Guide based in the UK. He covers a wide range of topics but with a particular focus on gaming and streaming. When he’s not reviewing the latest games, searching for hidden gems on Netflix, or writing hot takes on new gaming hardware, TV shows and movies, he can be found attending music festivals and getting far too emotionally invested in his favorite football team.