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If it seems like the gaming industry is booming, you’re not far off — and with new artificial intelligence technologies abound, AI and gaming have grown to be as synonymous as peanut butter and jelly.
Few could imagine AI’s influence on gaming during the transition from sprite to 3D graphics in the 90s. Yet, innovations in AI have done wonders for enhancing interactive experiences. Let’s explore how AI is changing the gaming industry now and in the future.
Artificial Intelligence Is Everywhere
You might not realize it, but you likely use AI every day. Whether searching the web or playing with your smartphone, AI is everywhere.
Have you ever visited an e-commerce website and had a chatbot appear on the screen? These AI-based human conversation simulations aim to assist customers on the buying journey. Some help you with return processes, too. Eventually, these chatbots will become even more personalized and capable of anticipating user needs.
AI streamlines just about every industry, such as health care, education, finance, human resources, agriculture and data security. For example, the health care sector deploys AI applications to detect medical conditions and cancer cells, analyze lab tests and provide early diagnosis.
Likewise, companies now integrate AI solutions to protect their systems, sensitive data and assets from cyber threats. It catches malicious malware and vulnerabilities humans may not realize are occurring on the backend.
What Is AI in Gaming?
AI and gaming now go hand in hand as more industries adopt applications for advancing technology. In fact, experts predict generative AI in the gaming market will increase by a whopping 23.3% by 2032 — from $922 million to $7,105 million. The non-player characters (NPCs) accounted for most of the sector’s growth at 35.2%.
Generative AI plays the following role in gaming:
- Applies machine learning algorithms to adapt games to user behaviors and performance — game level difficulty automatically adjusts using an algorithm.
- Allows developers to use a nondeterministic technique to code various behaviors without knowing the outcomes.
- Enhances game quality and experiences.
- Helps create new game levels and unique open-world environments.
Those who were never interested in gaming may wonder what the hype is. According to the 2022 Digital Media Trends survey by Deloitte, millennial and Gen Z gamers spend 11–13 hours weekly playing video games. Gen X isn’t far behind, though, at about 10 hours.
Nearly 78% of respondents say gaming helps them unwind. Another 53% agreed gaming facilitates connection with others — a possible factor in its growing popularity during the COVID-19 pandemic. Serious gamers sometimes turn their hobby into a career, making six-figure salaries or millions with the right skill sets.
Today’s AI and Gaming Innovations
We live in an exciting age of technology where AI continues transforming the gaming industry with new virtual realities.
For example, the Oculus Quest is an immersive all-in-one VR headset that puts you behind the driver’s seat without ever leaving your home. One of the more popular Oculus Quest games — Dash Dash World — offers 100 hours of gaming experiences and cloud storage, so you can always pick back up on your last achievements and highest scores.
Those wary of AI advancements call it disruptive to how we live, work and engage. In the gaming world, AI is transformative. Developers lean into AI solutions to simulate real-world scenarios, integrating weather patterns, topography and physics to create a more lifelike virtual world.
AI has especially altered NCPs — pre-programmed characters with predictable behaviors and patterns users could easily beat. With AI, developers can make NCPs more human-like by learning from and adopting player behaviors and techniques in real-time. NCPs analyze player strengths and weaknesses to make games more challenging and engaging.
Natural language processing and voice recognition are the cornerstones of NCPs, enabling them to better understand verbal commands and questions. They also can reply through generated text and personalized narratives.
Some of the more current AI-based games include Civilization VI, Middle-earth: Shadow of War, StarCraft II, The Last of Us, Alien Isolation, Minecraft and Grand Theft Auto 5.
AI Shaping Tomorrow’s Virtual World
AI applications in gaming show little signs of slowing down. In fact, developments are rapidly shaking things up as demand for more sophisticated immersive gaming increases. In the future, gamers can expect AI to influence the gaming industry in the following ways:
- Enhance graphics and visuals for more realistic experiences
- Generate more tailored gaming experiences to user behaviors and techniques
- Implement automated game testing to troubleshoot system bugs and glitches
- Create new and exciting challenges and unpredictable plays
- New types of games could instead teach life skills or ways to improve mental health
- Increase game accessibility for those with disabilities
- Deliver more interactive experiences with other users
Sony is a prime example of a company looking to increase system accessibility for the visually impaired. Its latest patent deploys AI modules to depict scenes and offer feedback with audible tools using the DualSense controller. The modules will describe actions and settings, alter color and graphical styles and provide captioning.
Developers and psychological professionals are also exploring using AI and machine learning to create diagnostic games. We’ve already begun seeing applications and chatbots detect mild symptoms of depression and anxiety. However, future games must take privacy and ethics into account. AI contains human biases that can spread negative, harmful and dangerous messages.
Additionally, the future of AI and gaming will likely hone in on cheating in online multiplayer virtual realities. Hacks and cheats have become more prevalent since the beginning of online gaming. Unfortunately, cheating gives some players a competitive edge over others and creates a negative playing experience. Game publishers also suffer financial losses as cheaters exploit games for free.
AI can identify cheating patterns based on player movements, making it easier for developers to integrate anti-cheating mechanisms in future games.
AI Changing the Gaming World for the Better
Concerns about how AI will alter the workforce are valid, as the technology is expected to streamline and take over many careers. However, the gaming industry looks bright with AI solutions. Gamers can enjoy AI applications in their gaming experiences today but have much more to look forward to in the future.
Jack Shaw is a senior writer at Modded. Jack is an avid enthusiast for keeping up with personal health and enjoying nature. He has over five years of experience writing in the men's lifestyle niche, and has written extensively on topics of fitness, exploring the outdoors and men's interests. His writings have been featured in SportsEd TV, Love Inc., and Offroad Xtreme among many more publications.