How AI impacts gaming

AI Video & Visuals

Key Takeaways

  • Nintendo is shying away from AI in favor of unique experiences, Xbox is deeply invested in generative AI, and PlayStation is getting into AI to support creativity.
  • Ubisoft is experimenting with generative AI for dynamic NPCs; EA is going all in, expecting 50% of the process to be affected; Take Two is taking a balanced approach, prioritizing human creativity.
  • The potential of AI in game development ranges from improving efficiency to creating more personalized experiences, but its impact is a topic of debate among industry leaders.

The gaming industry is in the midst of controversy. Microtransactions, loot boxes, and NFTs were all hot topics back then (and some still are), but AI seems more inevitable than anything else. Whereas previous examples were greedy attempts to squeeze more money out of consumers, AI has the potential to have a much bigger impact on the industry for both developers and players. This is because, as a tool, it's all about how AI is used. There will be situations where AI is a win-win for everyone, and there will be situations where it only sees value in those looking to make an easy profit.

AI is becoming increasingly sophisticated and accessible, and it already has the potential to have a meaningful impact on games. With many industry players concerned about whether major publishers and platform holders will embrace AI, many have made explicit statements about their current roadmap regarding AI. While not all major players have spoken out on the subject, here are some current statements from publishers regarding AI in current and future game development:


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Screenshots of the Nintendo Switch game


Nintendo is the latest company to talk about AI, specifically generative AI. When asked during a shareholder Q&A what plans the company has for using AI in game development, president Shuntaro Furukawa replied, “In the game industry, AI-like technology has long been used to control the movements of enemy characters, so game development and AI technology are closely related. Generative AI, which has been a hot topic in recent years, has a stronger creative element, but we are also aware of the issues of intellectual property rights. Our company has accumulated know-how for decades in creating optimal gaming experiences for our customers, and we would like to continue to provide our unique value that cannot be realized by technology alone, while flexibly responding to technological evolution.”

So, it seems Nintendo is perfectly happy to not use any of the current AI tools in the development process.


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Deeply invested

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Meanwhile, Xbox is ready to fully embrace generative AI. The company is partnering with Inworld AI to not only create AI characters, but also generate entire stories. “At Xbox, we believe that with better tools, creators can make more amazing games. This partnership brings together Inworld's expertise in generative AI models for character development, Microsoft's cutting-edge cloud-based AI solutions including Azure OpenAI Services, Microsoft Research's technical insights into the future of play, and Team Xbox's strength in innovating creator tools that are accessible and responsible for all developers,” said Haiyan Zhang, general manager of gaming AI at Xbox.

While this is currently an optional tool offered by Xbox, the partnership speaks to how valuable Xbox sees the technology to its game production.


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The last console manufacturer, PlayStation, acknowledges that it has used AI in game development, but also says that it will not replace the human element. Sony Chairman and President Kenichiro Yoshida said, “AI, which has evolved significantly in recent years, has been used in creative work. AI can also be considered a computing technology. AI is not a substitute for human creativity. We position AI as a technology that supports creativity. Creativity resides within humans. We will continue to contribute to people's creativity through technology.”

Based on this quote, PlayStation's approach won't be to replace people in creative roles with AI, but rather to harness the power of AI to unlock more creativity from developers.


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Already being experimented with

Assassin's Creed: Shadows

Assassin's Creed: Shadows

Ubisoft, one of the largest third-party publishers in existence, is very optimistic about the power of generative AI to have a positive impact on game development. This applies not only to technical and non-creative aspects, but also to the way players interact with the game. During the financial report, CEO Yves Guillemot said that one division of Ubisoft is looking at “how to improve the quality of our games and make them more alive. So, at our last conference, we presented new NPCs, which were well received and showed what we can do to make games more alive and rich. So, we hope to see games taking advantage of generative AI, making them more interesting and allowing people to have a really personalized experience.”

For now, Ubisoft seems most interested in creating dynamic, responsive AI for NPCs, rather than the entire story, but it's too early to tell how far they intend to go.


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Fully committed to AI

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Of the companies that have made public statements about AI, EA may be the most bullish. During EA's investor call, CEO Andrew Wilson said, “We're still in the early stages of the AI ‚Äč‚Äčrevolution, or at least the evolution of generative AI. More than 50% of our development process will be positively impacted by advances in generative AI.” Other notable remarks include AI's increased efficiency in asset creation. Regarding FIFA, Wilson said, “What used to take six months to create a stadium, we can now do it in six weeks.” Regarding the possibility of losing personnel to the technology, Wilson said AI “will not replace our jobs, but rather augment, enhance, extend and expand the nature of interactive entertainment, much like YouTube has done for traditional film and television.”

EA intends for over 50% of its processes to be influenced in some way by AI, and it seems very keen to embrace all that AI can do for its development.


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Take 2

A balanced approach



Take-Two president Strauss Zelnick has a fairly balanced and realistic view of AI. He has made many comments on the subject at his company's investor conferences, saying, “You know, I'm skeptical of people who make big claims, but [but] When it comes to AI, I'm pretty enthusiastic…The latest developments in AI are surprising and exciting to many. For us, while exciting, they're not a surprise at all. Our view is that AI will improve the quality and efficiency of work. You're talking about tools, and AI is simply a better and more effective tool.” For those worried about AI replacing the human element in Take Two, the most reassuring statement was undoubtedly “Hits are created by genius. And genius doesn't come from a combination of datasets and computing and large language models. Genius is and I believe will remain the domain of humans.”

Take Twp's stance is a more direct and clearer version of PlayStation's: we plan to use the best possible tools for developers, but we don't foresee AI replacing people's creativity.


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