Embracer unveils its “human-centric” AI-powered game development ambitions


A hot potato: Embracer Group, the conglomerate that owns several studios and IPs, including The Lord of the Rings, has just revealed its plans for using AI in game development. It’s a contentious subject at the best of times, so it’s causing even more controversy in light of Embracer laying off more than 1,500 employees and canceling 80 games over the past year. The company did emphasize, however, that it is taking a “human-centric” approach to this AI policy.

Embracer Group said in its annual report that AI has the “capability to massively enhance game development by increasing resource efficiency” and “adding intelligent behaviors, personalization, and optimization to gameplay experiences.”

Embracer notes in a portion of the company’s Risk and Mitigation Overview section that “by leveraging AI, we create more engaging and immersive experiences that provide each player with a unique, dynamic, and personalized experience. We also see great opportunities for AI in game development speed, logistics and planning.”

There’s also a warning that the company understands the potential risks associated with the use of AI. That’s a reference to it producing unethical, biased, discriminatory, or completely wrong results. There’s also the backlash firms face for using the technology, and the prospect of more jobs being replaced by AI.

Many companies fear that not going all-in on AI, even when it isn’t a good fit for a firm, is bad business. “Certainly, one of the major risks for a company is not to use AI, as this would mean a competitive disadvantage vis-à-vis other industry players,” Embracer privacy and AI governance head Tomas Hedman said. “Most companies will move forward on AI integration in different ways. For us, it is the way that we do this that is the most critical element.”

Will this AI policy result in more job losses? Hedman says Embracer wants to empower people with AI, not replace them, adding that it is taking a “human-centric” approach to leveraging its potential. He then talks about using AI to assist creative teams with “scriptwriting, image creation, idea generation, quality control, and more,” all of which sound like jobs that humans currently do.

Another game company singing the praises of AI is Electronic Arts. CEO Andrew Wilson said earlier this year that it is set to make EA 30% more efficient while boosting monetization by 20% over the next five years. He also thinks it will convince players to spend 10-20% more money on its games too, due to “real personalized content, bespoke to me and bespoke to my friends.”

Embracer Group and its employees haven’t been having the best time since a $2 billion deal reported to be with Saudi government-funded company Savvy Games Group fell through last year. It led to Saints Row developer Volition and Timesplitters dev Free Radical Design shutting down, the sale of Borderlands creator Gearbox to Take-Two for $460 million, and many unannounced games being canceled, including a new Deus Ex title that had been in development for two years.



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