EA Games Could Soon Teach You Foreign Languages Using AI

A new patent discusses an "Edutainment overlay" system.

Story Highlights

  • EA has published a patent that seeks to add an “Edutainment overlay” system to its games. The newly proposed system will use AI to generate mini-puzzles from game content to help them learn foreign languages.
  • The puzzles could range from text to visual-based experiences and could be automatically generated during gameplay moments. The puzzles could influence gameplay, like the current dialogue system in roleplaying games.
  • The difficulty level will automatically adjust as the user advances or struggles during the puzzles. The patent also discusses adding a method to track lips and tongue movement to correlate it with the correct method.
  • The players can receive various in-game awards, and the proposed system can help teach new languages and make communication easier in multiplayer games.

Video games are often used as an escape from real life; they are designed to provide entertainment and immerse you in alluring virtual worlds. However, using games to learn real-life skills can both be entertaining and educational, formally called the “Edutainment” system. EA’s latest patent is deeply exploring such a system.

We have recently stumbled upon one of EA’s latest published patent, dubbed “EDUTAINMENT OVERLAY FOR LEARNING FOREIGN LANGUAGES IN VIDEO GAMES,” which seeks to add an Edutainment overlay in its titles using artificial intelligence technologies. Electronic Art’s AAA games could soon be teaching foreign languages.

Electronic Arts’ latest patent notes varied ways to add the “Edutainment” overlay for learning foreign languages in video games. The patent says, “an automated (e.g., artificial intelligence (AI)-driven) system may generate mini-puzzles from game content that challenges a player’s knowledge of a selected language.

The mini-puzzles can be of varied types, ranging from textual-based to visual puzzles “that challenge a player to find an object by its name in the foreign language in a current stop-frame.” Moreover, titles that allow the ability to speak can ask the players to repeat a phrase in some foreign language; the pronunciation can be rated.

The flowchart image illustrates an instance of the Edutainment overlay system step by step.
The flowchart image illustrates an instance of the Edutainment overlay system step by step.

One aspect that makes this Edutainment system different than others is that EA will automate the creation of the overlay in games. It can automatically be produced using the game engine or the UX (user experience) design. The provided overlay can also feature a slew of tunable options, including the ability to toggle it on or off.

The system may function like a dedicated language learning tool. For example, the content may be created automatically from the game assets, including localized dialog lines, object names and their tags in the game assets, existing dictionaries and automated translation systems, etc.

Furthermore, the patent may also track the lips and tongue movement in a video input to ensure proper pronunciation of words. The user’s mouth movements could be compared to the mouth movements “correlating with the correct pronunciation of words to determine proper articulation of words in the selected foreign language.

The image shows an exemplary process flow for learning a foreign language through a video game.
The image shows an exemplary process flow for learning a foreign language through a video game.

EA notes its integration in a user-friendly and natural manner; it will seamlessly fit and go along the flow of normal gameplay. For instance, the user may see a dialog line from an NPC in the pre-selected language available in the Edutainment overlay system. It may also require the user to unlock a place by solving a puzzle.

The game will allow the option to pause the gameplay and solve the mini-puzzle. “The mini-puzzle may ask the player to select the right article, suffix or a correct word from a list of several options, place words in the correct order, etc.

In another scenario, an object could be highlighted during the gameplay, and the user has to choose the correct word to describe it in a foreign language.

That is not all; the Edutainment overlay method can become a very integral part of a game. EA’s roleplaying entries could use the overlay in place of the standard dialogue system. The mini-puzzles automatically generated by the system in a roleplaying title could wholly alter the way it progresses.

The image shows an example word and visual mini-puzzles generation for learning a foreign language through a game.
The image shows an example word and visual mini-puzzles generation for learning a foreign language through a game.

For instance, a native English speaker player could soon learn Spanish by playing an Electronic Arts game. A mini-puzzle may “ask the player to select a Spanish word to complete a sentence in Spanish. The word mini-puzzle may be generated based on in-game assets, and so content of the word mini-puzzle may be related to the content of the video game.

The difficulty of the mini-puzzles can be increased in parallel to the players’ ability; likewise, it can also be lowered if the user struggles to get the answers right, making it a dynamic experience for the player. The players can also receive in-game awards, including in-game currency, points, and more for completing the mini-puzzle.

One real-life benefit of EA’s proposed system is enhancing communication in multiplayer titles with foreign players, which can prove tough in traditional video games. It can increase player engagement, giving its games educational elements and adding another level of relatable fun in its gameplay.

Moreover, learning various languages can casually be well-integrated into EA’s AAA games and would not feel tedious and exhausting.

EA has published a plethora of intriguing patents in the past, ranging from populating in-game maps with structures using AI to exploring the prospect of potentially banning players from opposite sides that team up.

What are your thoughts regarding EA’s new patent, which suggests adding a new in-game overlay to teach foreign languages? Do you think this feature would help educate gamers in an enjoyable and appreciated manner? Do let us know your opinions in the comments below.

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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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