Sony May Soon Adjust Game Difficulty In Real-Time Based On Your Skill Level

This could provide a more immersive experience.

Story Highlights

  • A new Sony patent wants to automatically adjust the difficulty of games in real-time based on players’ skill levels.
  • It talks about simulating the difficulty organically; a player weak at a certain thing won’t see a spike in difficulty there.
  • A system similar to this is already used in a few titles. The company likely wants to upgrade the method and secure it.

The difficulty levels provided in games can make quite a huge contrast for many players, and it can still be quite unbalanced in its implementation. A patent recently issued by Sony wants to make the difficulty curve more organic by adjusting the games’ difficulty in real-time based on the skill level of users. It is a system still barely and primitively used in the gaming scene.

The legal document dubbed “ADAPTIVE DIFFICULTY CALIBRATION FOR SKILLS-BASED ACTIVITIES IN VIRTUAL ENVIRONMENTS” will dynamically adapt the difficulty of a Sony title depending on how well a user is playing. Slaying through swaths of enemies will cause it to slowly raise the difficulty of enemies over time. However, it will ensure not to bump the difficulty of specific challenges that are still a weak point for the user.

The collected data maybe evaluated to identify whether a user gaming performance level corresponds to an expected level of performance. When the user gaming performance level does not correspond to an expected level of performance, parameters that change the difficultly of the game may be changed automatically,” mentions Sony in the patent.

The flowchart shows series of steps to be performed when parameters are met.
The flowchart shows a series of steps to be performed when parameters are met.

Sony also lays out the specific parameters that the system can affect. Characteristics relating to movement speed, strength of character, number of enemies, difficulty in enemy AI, and more can slowly be incremented or decremented over time as the game session goes on. A certain expectation level needs to be met before it considers the player worthy of more difficulty. It can repeat as the skills of the user develop over time.

The publisher argues that the current games tend to have unbalanced enemies and challenges. You may have a pretty easy set of enemies that can be killed without breaking a sweat, or you could experience the complete opposite in the next round. A user could also simply be lacking skills against a particular type of enemy.

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The image shows repetition of the parameter process.
The image shows a repetition of the parameter process.

Since games today have fixed levels of difficulty, a user that enjoyed playing the game at one level may not enjoy the game very much at a higher level of difficulty.”

The patent’s implementation will remove the boredom and frustration that can happen because of the aforementioned reasons and more. It is worth noting that a few games already use a system akin to the one discussed in the legal doc. Titles like Resident Evil 4, Lead 4 Dead, and even the first Crash Bandicoot employed a version of this system. Sony wants to take it to the next level and likely secure the idea in the process.

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Shameer Sarfaraz is a Senior News Writer on eXputer who loves to keep up with the gaming and entertainment industries devoutly. He has a Bachelor's Degree in Computer Science and several years of experience reporting on games. Besides his passion for breaking news stories, Shahmeer loves spending his leisure time farming away in Stardew Valley. VGC, IGN, GameSpot, Game Rant, TheGamer, GamingBolt, The Verge, NME, Metro, Dot Esports, GameByte, Kotaku Australia, PC Gamer, and more have cited his articles.

Experience: 4+ Years || Education: Bachelor in Computer Science.

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