Microsoft Is Giving Xbox Gaming A Major Boost With AI Tools For Game Devs

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Microsoft announced a new partnership with Inworld AI to expand the tech giant's ability to extend AI-enhanced tools to game developers. In a tweet, Inworld AI commented that generative AI provides new opportunities for game developers to leverage cutting-edge innovations to "foster limitless creativity and unparalleled immersion."

Xbox General Manager of Gaming AI Haiyan Zhang reminisced in an article remembering when Ms. Pac-Man was being chased by her "ghostly enemies, Inky, Blinky, Pinky, and Clyde." She noted that even though that was not the first AI in games, it was a "simple rule-based form of AI." Zhang went on to remark that since that time, game devs have incorporated AI into games to build living worlds, dynamic stories, and complex characters. It is for those reasons that Xbox has decided to enter into a multi-year partnership with Inworld AI to build AI game dialogue and narrative tools at scale.

"Together, we aim to deliver an accessible, responsibly designed multi-platform AI toolset to assist and empower creators in dialogue, story, and quest design," Zhang remarked. "As with all creator tools at Xbox, our goal is to deliver state-of-the-art AI for game developers of any size, anywhere in the world, and on every platform where players want to play. We want to help make it easier for developers to realize their visions, try new things, push the boundaries of gaming today, and experiment to improve gameplay, player connection, and more."

Inworld said in its own statement that the two companies will focus on developing two tools. The first is an AI design copilot that assists and empowers game designers to be more creative, while turning prompts into detailed scripts, dialogue trees, quests, and more. The second is an AI character runtime engine that can be integrated into the game client, providing new narratives with dynamically generated stories, quests, and dialogue for players to interact with.

Bing Gordon, an Inworld advisor and co-founder of Electronic Arts, remarked, "For decades the biggest advancements in gaming have been through improvements in visual fidelity and graphics. But AI will enable truly immersive worlds and sophisticated narratives that put players at the center of the fantasy. He added, "Moreover, AI that influences fundamental game mechanics has the potential to increase engagement and draw players deeper into your game."

Microsoft says that its approach to AI is based on three principles: meaningful innovation, empowering people and organizations, and responsibility. The company insists it is committed to developing AI responsibly and continuing its commitment to bring intentional, inclusive practices and thinking to everything it does at Xbox.

The use of AI in games is not without controversy. The Finals developer Embark Studios recently had to defend itself after it was revealed that the studio used AI-generated voices. It argued in a statement to IGN, "Making games without actors isn't the end goal." SAG-AFTRA actors are still on strike, with one of the major sticking points to a new contract with studios being the use of AI for voice and characters.

Microsoft says its partnership with Inworld is an important step in its journey to "empower game developers." There is little doubt that voice actors, writers, and others will be watching closely.