Sony AI Announces Full Global Release of AI Driver Gran Turismo SophyTM for Gran TurismoTM 7 Players in Latest Update
Breakthrough AI agent is now a permanent in-game feature in the hyper-realistic racing simulator, with the ability to drive more than 340 cars on nine tracks
November 1, 2023
Tokyo, Japan — November 1, 2023 — Sony AI, in partnership with Polyphony Digital Inc. (PDI) a subsidiary of Sony Interactive Entertainment, today announced the full global release of Gran Turismo SophyTM (GT Sophy), Sony AI and PDI’s co-developed breakthrough AI racing agent, in Gran TurismoTM 7 (GT7) PlayStation® racing simulation game. This new feature, named Gran Turismo Sophy 2.0, is only available for players with a PS5TM console. It is included in GT7 Spec II Update (Patch Update 1.40, internet connection required), the latest update to the game, and gives Gran Turismo (GT) players of all levels and abilities the opportunity to go head-to-head against the AI agent. Players will see the number of cars that GT Sophy can drive go from just four in its limited time release to more than 340 cars on nine different tracks. In this expansive release, GT Sophy 2.0 now offers a more interactive experience supporting races that cover 95% of player car models.
GT Sophy 2.0 appears in the Quick Race mode (formerly Arcade mode) in GT7, which will go live on November 2 at 2 a.m. ET (November 1 at 11 p.m. PT / November 2 at 6 a.m. GMT / November 2 at 3 p.m. JST, internet connection required). Here players can select “GT Sophy” on supported tracks and face off against the autonomous AI agent. The selection of GT Sophy’s cars is automatic and based on the car chosen from the player’s garage.
First revealed on the cover of Nature in February 2022, the initial research goal for GT Sophy was to create the first superhuman AI agent to outrace the world’s best drivers of the highly realistic racing simulation game, Gran TurismoTM Sport. This AI breakthrough demonstrated how AI can deliver new and exciting gaming experiences to top players around the world. Once this goal was achieved, Sony AI addressed the challenge to make GT Sophy a more dynamic racing experience for GT players of all levels while maintaining the hyper-realism of the game. This required finding a balance. GT Sophy had to exhibit behaviors that would not only inspire players to take their creativity and technique to the next level, but also display sportsmanship, finesse, and a racing temperament that would make races enjoyable and challenging for all.
Sony AI’s time-limited release of GT Sophy earlier this year enabled the team to get feedback from players worldwide to understand how GT Sophy would impact their gaming experience. The release involved GT Sophy controlling four cars in a race on four tracks with a fixed selection of player car models. This allowed the team to evaluate how well the neural network performed when embedded in the game and guided the engineering tasks involved in making the AI agent fully integrated, as well as the game design itself. The GT7 audience voiced strong support for incorporating GT Sophy into the game as a permanent feature, with many remarking how closely GT Sophy mimicked racing another human opponent. Players were also looking forward to a version of GT Sophy that aligns with players of all skill levels. With GT Sophy 2.0, the AI agent showcases a wider range of behaviors to create new racing experiences for all players.
“We have evolved GT Sophy from a research project tackling the grand challenge of creating an AI agent that could outperform top drivers in a top simulation racing game, to a functional game feature that provides all game players a formidable, human-like opponent that enhances the overall racing experience,” said Michael Spranger, President, Sony AI. “From the beginning, our mission at Sony AI has been to advance the research and development of AI to enhance human imagination and creativity as well as entertainment experiences. This new milestone for GT Sophy showcases our work to support this mission as well as our close partnerships with creators to leverage AI in a unique way to develop new, enriching experiences.”
“Introducing GT Sophy to a wider range of users from the beginner to the expert, is a huge milestone in the evolution of Gran Turismo. GT Sophy is a revolutionary new technology that will change the way players experience racing games,” said the president of Polyphony Digital, Kazunori Yamauchi. “GT Sophy, which continues to evolve daily through our partnership with Sony AI, is a key element in keeping Gran Turismo exciting beyond its 25-year history. We are very satisfied with this achievement and am looking forward to seeing GT Sophy evolve even further in the future.”
The development of GT Sophy was featured in a three-part documentary series, “The Team Behind GT Sophy,” The episodic film was included in the 22nd Tribeca Festival as an Official Selection of the Tribeca X Competition in 2023. The films offer viewers a glimpse into the trials and tribulations the team experienced as part of the development process and showcases the tremendous achievements of both the team and GT Sophy. All three parts can be viewed on the Sony AI YouTube channel.
For more information on the availability of GT Sophy and to watch the trailer, visit gran-turismo.com.
About Sony AI
Sony AI, a division of Sony Research, was founded as a subsidiary of Sony Group on April 1, 2020, with the mission to "unleash human imagination and creativity with AI." Sony AI aims to combine cutting edge research and development of artificial intelligence with Sony Group's imaging and sensing technology, robotics technology, and entertainment assets such as movies, music, and games to accelerate Sony’s transformation into an AI powered company and to create new business opportunities. To achieve this, Sony AI has launched four flagship projects to date aimed at the evolution and application of AI technology in the areas of Gaming, Imaging & Sensing, Gastronomy, and AI Ethics. For more information visit https://ai.sony.
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