If legendary gaming studio Blizzard has its way, generative AI may be the next step in immersing in a game. Blizzard isn’t a stranger to looking toward AI for ways to enhance user experiences while in-game. Just last November, we reported a patent that sought to use AI to provide players with custom background music based on their actions, and game choices.
Now, according to a report by The New York Times. Blizzard is looking toward generative AI as a means to improve the gameplay experience. Last month, Blizzard’s chief design officer, Allen Adham, emailed employees about the initiative using generative AI. According to the email, the internal tool is called Blizzard Diffusion.
Obviously, it’s a nod to Stable Diffusion, one of the popular image generators that enable anyone to turn text into art. In the email, he said in part about the tool, “Prepare to be amazed…We are on the brink of a major evolution in how we build and manage our games.”
But it’s not just Blizzard that’s looking to AI as a means to improve player experience and bring down production costs. Last year, Xbox’s Matt Booty commented about the possibility of using AI to help with QA aspects development. Then a few months ago, Ubisoft unveiled Ghostwriter, an AI-powered tool to create NPC dialogue.
Something similar was done by modders on Skyrim. Using ChatGPT, they provided in-game NPC’s the ability to both have memories, and create original dialogue when they interact with players in the game. So it’s clear that AI will only grow in influence for the foreseeable future.
Though the use of AI isn’t new in gaming, it’s clear that studios are hoping that by investing in new generative AI, and other AI technology, they’ll get ahead of the market by expanding offerings to players. But not everyone who works or has worked with Blizzard is on board.
Valentine Powell, a former World of Warcraft engineer said of the studio’s push, “Leadership’s focus on A.I. doesn’t feel like it is solving a problem that individual contributors care about…It feels like ignoring their problems and focusing on hype words that they think will sound impressive to shareholders.”
Andrew Guerrero, Blizzard’s vice president of global insights, sees it in another way. In a statement to The New York Times, he said of the point of using AI, “The goal is to remove a repetitive and manual process and enable artists to spend more time on creativity,…Our goal with A.I. has been, and will continue to be, to try to make creative work easier.”
Like with any other industry, it’s too soon to determine the effects of generative AI and other AI tools will have. But as of right now, almost every company is willing to invest and find out.