As we march through 2023, there is one piece of technology being talked about above all others in the tech industry – Artificial Intelligence. The narrative has been driven by the success of OpenAI’s ChatGPT, and to a lesser extent, DALLE-2. We are talking about highly disruptive technology here – on par (according to proponents) with the arrival of the web in the 90s or the smartphone in the 2000s.
For those not aware, ChatGPT is a text-to-text AI assistant. Ask it to explain the origins of the First World War from the perspective of Germany, and it will provide an answer good enough to fool a college professor; ask it to compose a song in the style of Guns N’ Roses, and it will do a fair job of mimicking the lyrics of Axl Rose; ask it to write a marketing email to your clients, and it will do it. That’s just a taste of what ChatGPT can do, but you get the picture.
Gaming is expected to be disrupted
DALLE-2, which is also an OpenAI project, is a text-to-image AI, meaning it will create whatever image you want based on your text prompt instructions. Its success has caused a lot of consternation among artists and graphic designers, with many suggesting it could make their roles obsolete. Although, that might be a little premature. Regardless, the consensus is that AI will be disruptive to all aspects of society, including gaming and entertainment. Experts have predicted that other elements – crypto, NFTs & blockchain, the metaverse – might overhaul the gaming industry, but AI might be the most transformative.
For a start, developers can use elements from ChatGPT and DALLE-2 – or similar AI tools – to build games. ChatGPT can be used to build code (with a little supervision), and DALLE-2 can be used to create images and other design tasks. While designers won’t leave every element to an AI, it is uniquely suited to doing the “donkey work”, the repetitious tasks that a designer can set out under certain parameters.
The video below shows how ChatGPT can easily be used for creating a workable video game:
Away from the developers’ side, we can see AI being used by players. You can think of any number of ways an AI assistant could be useful. Consider playing live dealer casino games online, such as blackjack or poker, which can be played with real croupiers on casino sites. You could conceivably use an AI to give you advice on the optimum strategy in real time. These largely remain games of chance, so it would not be guaranteed that you would win, but an AI might give you an advantage over other players. While nobody (that we know of) is using an AI for casino games yet, it is something the operators of these platforms must look out for in the future.
NPCs could become more interesting
Of course, one of the most obvious uses for AI in gaming would be with NPCs (Non-Playable Characters). Even without AI, NPCs can add a lot of value to the gaming experience. We might consider NPCs in games like Cyberpunk: 2077 or Grand Theft Auto among the best. But an AI could make them more evolutionary and intuitive, and add a dash of personalization. The AIs in the game would grow with you as you play. The possibilities are endless.
Returning to the opening question in the title: How soon could all this happen? Our best guess is very soon, perhaps within three years. ChatGPT didn’t happen overnight – it’s actually the third generation of this particular AI from OpenAI. But its market-readiness has allowed it to fire the imagination like few products we have seen in a long while.
The current generation of AI tech wasn’t built in a vacuum, so it is already compatible with the current tech infrastructure. For proof, just look at the huge number of AI apps in the Apple and Google app store charts right now. Already, we have seen evidence that is being used to build games and gaming experiences. It won’t be long until that becomes truly mainstream.