Connect with us

Thought Leaders

AI-Powered Gaming Experiences: Infusing High-Quality Experiences with Personality and Creativity




In recent years, the global gaming industry has seen a huge transformation. Driven by a heightened appetite for exciting and rewarding experiences, increasing competition between gaming companies, and more interest in emerging technologies such as AI.

AI is already profoundly impacting the games industry and will continue to do so. We have seen AI used in gaming for non-player characters (NPCs) which sit alongside main characters to provide quests and dialogue to add depth to storylines and respond to player actions, too. AI has been able to add complexity to those elements by learning from players’ decisions.

This is just the beginning, however. When we talk about the evolution of AI in gaming, we’re not talking just about “games, but better” like in these examples where elements of gaming are bolstered by AI technology. We’re talking about what will be an entirely new form of storytelling which will exist within our (digital) culture. Blending between games, films, social and the digital economy.

Riot Games uses AI sentiment analysis to monitor player discussions across digital platforms allowing them to make informed decisions about game updates and improvements to enhance the gaming experience. NVIDIA’s DLSS technology, used in Cyberpunk 2077, employs AI-driven upscaling and delivers high-resolution graphics which allow players to alter scenes. Player-Experience Modeling (PEM) exists to mathematically model gamers’ experiences by altering complexity in real-time, and can even adapt to users’ interests to deliver highly tailored gameplay. AI in games is providing deeper fulfillment around fundamental human needs such as relatedness and our desire to express our individuality through design and personal expression.

It’s emerging as the new operating system for our society and culture. The existing business models and platform structures will be hugely disrupted. Hopefully, this will open up more opportunities for us all to share in our joint creation but also poses the risk of deeper, more entrenched monopolies we’ll all depend on.

On the one hand, AI can enable developers to create high-quality games for cheaper. The cost of producing high-quality artwork has been a limiting factor and this cost can be brought down by using generative AI, as it can produce large-scale backdrops, models, and assets which would usually require time and budget to produce traditionally. On the other hand, some elements will become more expensive as more intense uses of AI come with a cost that is still high. They also will require someone with the right expertise to ensure that the inputs create the right outputs which match the needs of the specific project. No doubt these will come down with time.

Bolstering creativity with AI tools for user-generated content (UGC)

Users themselves will be easily able to create content they like themselves with AI tools. In our mobile metaverse Avakin Life, the AI-powered design tool Avacraft enables players to create unique clothing in-game which they can share and will soon be able to trade on the marketplace. Integrating text-prompt AI in games and fashion is in its infancy and there aren't many integrations that have been achieved by businesses at this point – and certainly not on mobile.

This is a significant launch and a killer feature for the creator economy that will enable us to share financially with our community in our success as they’ll start trading and sharing their creations with others. We are likely to see more AI, gaming and fashion tools enter the mainstream in traditional and mobile gaming in the near future, as companies look to provide gamers with more personalised experiences, and gamers look to bring their digital and real selves closer together.

Making waves across the industry

Other areas we will see impacted are recommendation engines and data. We’ll see more and deeper personalisation of games and content as well as online safety and customer support. AI is already being deployed to make social games safer. Software companies operating in the gaming anti-cheat space like Anybrain GG use patented algorithms to analyse cheaters' behaviours based on Human-Computer Interaction (HCL) allowing them to detect cheats and deploy anti-cheat measures. There are companies also using AI to detect harassment in online spaces, like Unitary which reduces manual moderation overhead with human-like AI classification.

AI is impacting all aspects of creating and running a game and the systems we know and rely on for gaming experiences are becoming more powerful and useful with it. Ultimately, we’ll end up with new and wonderful things such as IP where it knows you to the extent that it can build you a specific adventure tailored to your playstyle. Imagine you and your friends going on an adventure with your favourite character in a world of your joint making with your real world being a gateway and reference. It will take escapism to the next level, blurring the boundaries between what we regard as a game, film and a social experience. Product placement will take on a new form as you’ll be able to seamlessly integrate promoted elements into the story or experience.

Game engines will be hugely impacted when AI can produce a consistent world and avatars to a decent frame rate and cost. This will also greatly impact platforms such as consoles; imagine Grand Theft Auto produced by Sora in real-time with you and your friends as main characters. We may be some time away from that reaching the mainstream, but we’ll soon see moves towards a hybrid model where AI content is converted to existing real-time formats. We’re already seeing companies and teams bridging these.

We’ll likely see games and aspects of running a game and rendering it moving faster to the cloud – a huge portion of Avakin Life is in the cloud already. Once the rendering is mostly passed to the cloud it’ll be hugely disruptive to the app stores and games consoles as they’ll bypass them. Cloud-based gaming takes away the need for gamers to download and install games on their devices – they don’t need to worry about losing saves, or even having the most expensive and sought-after devices to meet performance needs, as AI can help cloud servers perform better so even gamers’ outdated hardware can run new releases.

Gamers will be able to interact with IP in a way we’ve never seen before. If you’re into fantasy titles like Harry Potter, gamers can go on adventures with the characters and develop personal relationships with them. They will get to know you personally and respond in a way that a person would, rather than what we are used to with standard scripted content. The narrative and world will evolve around your response – but not just yours; your friends can participate as well. Movies and games will move into new interactive formats blurring the boundaries between the game and the real world together and infusing with our personality and imagination. It will unlock a new form of UGC the likes of which we have never seen, and we’re looking forward to seeing its potential unfold.

Last but not least we’re looking at the prospect of AI being able to produce games in their entirety to your requirements. I suspect it’ll take a while until it’s designing and making complex 3D games but on the road there I’m expecting more and more AI-aided UGC tools and creation opportunities fueling the UGC trend.

Ultimately, we have to consider the idea that AI will replace pretty much all of the games industry. So far, the best material I’ve seen created around AI has been expert assisted with intricate knowledge of a field such as filmmaking or architecture being vital in creating the best material. But it’s also possible that may pass. Either way AI is a must to engage with and to explore.

Halli Bjornsson is the CEO of Lockwood Publishing, the creator of mobile metaverse Avakin Life. Halli came to the UK from Iceland to study architecture before joining the games industry, working on several AAA titles published by Sony, EA, Sega and others. Halli has also been a Director of TIGA, the non-profit trade association representing the UK's games industry, for almost a decade.