Enhance Your Gaming Experience: Microsoft Introduces AI Characters for Xbox

Microsoft has partnered with Inworld AI to collaborate on the development of Xbox tools that will enable developers to create AI-powered characters, stories, and quests. This multiyear partnership will introduce an “AI design copilot” system that Xbox developers can utilize to craft intricate scripts, dialogue trees, quest lines, and more.

Haiyan Zhang, the general manager of gaming AI at Xbox, explains, “At Xbox, we are convinced that with better tools, creators can produce even more extraordinary games. This partnership brings together Inworld’s expertise in generative AI models for character development, Microsoft’s cutting-edge cloud-based AI solutions like Azure OpenAI Service, Microsoft Research’s technical insights into the future of play, and Team Xbox’s strengths in revolutionizing accessible and responsible creator tools for all developers.”

The AI toolset, designed for multiple platforms, will include the AI design copilot for scripts and dialogue, as well as an AI character engine that can be integrated into games to dynamically generate stories, quests, and dialogue.

Inworld has been working on AI non-playable characters (NPCs) that can respond to players’ questions, much like ChatGPT or Bing Chat responds to natural language queries. These AI NPCs can provide responses in unique voices and incorporate complex dialogue trees or personalized dynamic storylines within a game. Inworld’s technology can also be utilized for narration, allowing companions in top-down RPGs to warn players of upcoming groups of enemies.

Ilya Gelfenbeyn, CEO of Inworld AI, states, “AI has long been an integral part of game development, with applications ranging from enemy AI to procedural generation. The emergence of large language models and generative AI has opened up new opportunities for storytelling and character engagement within games.”

Microsoft will offer these tools as optional resources for game developers, allowing them to decide on the extent of generative AI implementation in future titles. Embark Studios, the developer of The Finals, faced criticism for their use of AI-generated voices, but defended their approach by stating that “making games without actors isn’t an end goal.”

The use of generative AI in creative fields like game design and voice acting has generated controversy, as demonstrated by the recent vote from the SAG-AFTRA actors union to authorize a strike for video game performers. Ray Rodriguez, SAG-AFTRA’s chief contracts officer, comments, “Between the exploitative uses of AI and stagnant wages, those working in the video game industry face similar challenges as those in film and television.”

Microsoft positions its tools as a collaborative aid, similar to its Copilot system for Microsoft 365 and Windows. Zhang states, “We aim to assist developers in realizing their visions, exploring new concepts, pushing the boundaries of gaming, and experimenting to enhance gameplay, player connection, and more. We will work together and innovate with game creators within Xbox studios and third-party studios as we develop tools that meet their needs and inspire new possibilities for future games.”


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