May 20, 2021
Electronic Arts has reportedly resubmitted a patent that allows for an adaptive difficulty system in its video games. The patent is aimed at organically adjusting difficulty based on player performance, as well as keeping players engaged and progressing steadily through the duration of their game session.
The patent was filed in 2016, but was resubmitted in October 2020, and published in March 2021. The intent of the system is to “perform automatic granular difficulty adjustment”, which would be undetectable by the player.
This technology is not entirely new – many games have experimented with “adaptive difficulty”. However, EA’s technology is able to predict how long someone’s game session will be, and adjust the challenge to progress comfortably and steadily within that time frame. Developers have struggled with difficulty – easy modes can be too easy and hard modes too difficult, and vice versa.
It is uncertain whether EA’s patent will be implemented in its future games, but it does have a number of games in the works that could benefit from the technology, such as the upcoming Dragon Age 4.
Authors: Shannon Skillings and Scott Kerr