What the Gaming Industry Can Gain With AI

Generative AI is weaving its way into a vast array of business sectors, including money management, logistics, food and beverage management, and auto manufacturing, among others.

One sector where artificial intelligence is really making waves is in digital entertainment – and especially the gaming sector.

Over 50% of the video game manufacturing process will be AI-driven in the next five to 10 years, according to a new study from Bain and Company.

In the study, titled “How Will Generative AI Change the Video Game Industry”, Bain tracked 25 global gaming executives and asked what they expected from their company’s AI investments in the next decade.

The vast majority of execs said they “expect generative AI will improve game quality and deliver games faster”, although a significant minority (20%) believe the technology will wind up curbing development costs. Another 60% of gaming gurus believe AI won’t have a big impact on talent acquisition and development, which is a rising challenge in the industry, gaming executives say.

“Although most executives we spoke with believe generative AI may free developers from mundane work, they do not believe it will replace the creative spark necessary for game development, emphasizing the importance of human oversight,” said Andre James, global head of Bain’s Media & Entertainment practice. “Despite implementation challenges, most respondents expect generative AI will affect gaming in ways that are far greater than impacts felt by other technologies such as virtual reality (VR) and cloud gaming.”

Most gaming leaders believe that AI is destined to play a massive role in more creative areas like story generation, live gaming applications, and user-generated content.

“While it’s an exciting time for the industry, games are growing in size, and development costs are ballooning,” said Anders Christofferson, leading gaming expert in Bain’s Media & Entertainment practice. “Enter generative AI, which, if harnessed properly, has incredible potential in addressing industry hurdles while at the same time providing capabilities that can benefit creators, publishers, and consumers.”

A ”Free Market” for Gamers

It’s not just Bain who sees a big future for AI and the gaming sector.

At MIT’s recent annual Sloan Gaming Industry Conference, keynote speaker Tim Stuart, the chief financial officer of Microsoft’s Xbox division, told the audience that the marriage between generative AI will be “magical”.

“It’s going to be a world where we go from two million to three million core game developers to 200 million game developers that can now use AI as a tool,” Stuart noted.

AI also shouldn’t be a “job stealer”, an accusation that’s tossed around as AI edges into various industries, Stuart believes.

“I don’t think that is going to happen,” he said. “AI’s going to open up the funnel of who can actually create games, and you’re going to have people whose jobs in the next level are going to be about how to use the AI, how you make it fun, how you think about network and social connections.”

Stuart also believes AI can free up the market for new content creators. “That’s what’s powerful about gaming,” he says.

“People can play free-to-play versions of Fortnite, or they can spend a great deal of money within the game,” Stuart said. “That’s really where the magic of our industry can take over.”

“It’s not about a money grab. … It’s really about gaining that player for life,” Stuart added.

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