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Sony: gamers want 'perfect digital human'

"Dangerous" experiences could emerge.

Gamers want to see the "perfect human being in digital form" in their games, Sony has said.

In a behind closed doors discussion on the future of video games, Sony president of Worldwide Studio, Shuhei Yoshida, outlined his vision of what games may be like in 2021.

"I think what people want in games in 10 years is the perfect human being in digital form," he said, "where you can't tell the difference if it's real or digital. In your reality it's a human."

According to Sony's 3D chief Mick Hocking, who also took part in the discussion, the next 10 years will see crucial improvements to AI that should help realise Yoshida's prediction.

"In 10 years, are we going to be able to interact with characters in the games? In Uncharted you can see they're getting ever closer to real acting performances with great scripts and great interaction, but the more accurate they become, it's still an acting performance that's coming back at you.

"Will we have AI that allows us to truly interact with a character, talk to a character, show the character objects and it can recognise them?"

Complimenting this "perfect digital human" is the idea that players may become "actors" in the virtual experience, with the console using a camera to study facial expressions and biometric sensors to study mood.

"Perhaps you're playing a detective game and you're playing a witness," Hocking suggested. "The game has got to decide whether you're lying, rather than you deciding whether the character's lying in the game, because we can look at your expression on your face.

"That kind of stuff would be really exciting - bringing the player in as an actor themselves.

"In 10 years' time it would be nice to think we could form a map of the player. Your facial expressions, your heart rate, you can see how you build over time a map of a player and learn their emotional states and learn how their emotional state changes. Maybe even their social network can comment on them.

"The more accurate that map can become the more accurate we can be about delivering an experience to change that emotional state. If they're feeling sad we can make them feel happy again. It would be great to think that's possible within 10 years."

"In the future, in 10 years, I like to think developers will have access to information of the player in real-time, and will be able to create some almost dangerous activities," Yoshida stated.

Perhaps in the nearer term, 3D and holographics technology will come together to create new video game experiences – something Sony has already begun experimenting with.

"Holographics is definitely feasible within the next 10 years," Hocking said. "We can produce a pseudo-holographic effect now by head tracking the player with a Sony 3DTV and EyeToy. You bring something out of the screen and you can look around it, which is quite a different experience to just having standard 3D.

"We're right at the start of doing the R&D on this, so, we're really looking to our game designers taking these types of technologies and working out what they can do to enhance the actual gameplay."