AI isn’t about shortening game development, but enhancing it

The use of AI — generative AI in particular — in game development is fraught with controversy. Both gamers and developers have objected to the use of Gen AI in games for several reasons, but others have posited it as the next evolution in the medium. One of the panels at GamesBeat Next, moderated by Beamable’s Jon Radoff, was about the use of AI — Gen AI in particular — in the future of game development.

Radoff began the talk by discussing the benefits of Gen AI for game creation beyond acceleration. Kylan Gibbs, chief product officer at Inworld AI, said, “We generally see AI applied in two domains: Design time and run time. I think there’s a very clear application in design time, but at Inworld AI we’re more focused on run time. How does the game change? How do the mechanics change? Increases of revenue and playtime in gaming won’t come from the improved design time — which will cut costs — but will come from improvements to run time, which improves the experience of players.”

Stefano Corazza, head of Roblox Studio, said AI offers more flexibility in the creation sphere, which leads to more creativity overall: “Once you create the game’s geometries, textures, shaders, you’re kind of stuck with that style. The thing that excites me about Gen AI is that once you create your geometry, you can say, ‘Okay, let’s try ten different visual styles for this game.’ You can test them in under an hour. In the future you’ll be able to completely reskin a game within a matter of seconds, just by changing a prompt. That’s exciting for me, because I can see the creative experimentation will be orders of magnitude more than what we can do today.”

Generative AI as a vector for creativity

Negar Shaghahi, CEO of Auxuman, spoke about users of the company’s Auxworld platform, which uses Gen AI to create single-player games: “Most gamers want to play games versus creating them, and also share them with other people. From the users that we added to our platform, about 10% are streamers who want to use our platform to have fun experiences with their community… When the game happens, you’re not watching someone play, you feel like you had control and an impact — you engage more.”

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Gibbs said that games are slowly evolving to put more of the decisions in the hands of the player. “What the creator or studio’s job is to instantiate the world and core narrative, and allow people to interact with it however they want. That effectively begets all these experiences, and each person is playing a different game within the same world and the same storyline… We’re going to see that players are going to capture a wider range of experiences, and then [the streamer ecosystem] is going to expand as a result of the expansion of possibilities created by generative AI.”

Shaghahi added, “You will still have game-as-art. That’s not going to go away. But with the emergence of AI and creating games becoming so much easier, the risks of creating niche content becomes lower. We don’t have this preciousness around the content, and that’s a good thing. Games and culture have existed next to each other, but culture hasn’t been able to enter games as quickly as it has on social. That’s a change we’re going to see.”

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