The Download: Playing games with AI

To make them feel alive, open-world games like Red Dead Redemption 2 are inhabited by vast crowds of computer-controlled characters. These animated people—called NPCs, for “nonplayer characters”—make these virtual worlds feel lived in and full. Often—but not always—you can talk to them.

After a while, however, the repetitive chitchat (or threats) of a passing stranger forces you to bump up against the truth: This is just a game. It’s still fun, but the illusion starts to weaken when you poke at it. 

It’s only natural. Video games are carefully crafted objects, part of a multibillion-dollar industry, that are designed to be consumed. You play them, you finish, you move on. 

It may not always be like that. Just as it is upending other industries, generative AI is opening the door to entirely new kinds of in-game interactions that are open-ended, creative, and unexpected. The game may not always have to end. Read the full story.

—Niall Firth

The Future of AI Games

If you’re interested in hearing more about how generative AI will revolutionize how we play games in the future, register now for our next exclusive subscriber-only Roundtable discussion. 

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