Microsoft is taking its first official steps into artificial intelligence with AI-made characters for Xbox. The software company is partnering with AI developer Inworld to create an AI design copilot system that Xbox users can use to "explore more creative ideas, turning prompts into detailed scripts, dialogue trees, quests and more."
For the past year, developers have attempted to use AI in different means beyond generating art or voice performances. Some (like Activision Blizzard) are using it to moderate in-game chats, while Sony hopes to use the technology for streaming purposes.
With Inworld and its own in-house research and AI teams, Microsoft aims to "deliver an accessible, responsibly designed multi-platform AI toolset to assist and empower creators in dialogue, story & quest design."
Along with the design copilot, Microsoft and Inworld will create a character runtime engine for integration into the game client. That engine can subsequently be used to generate stories, quest, and dialogues, which could be helpful for Xbox's RPG-focused subsidiaries like Bethesda Game Studios and Obsidian Entertainment.
"Our approach to AI is based on three principles: meaningful innovation, empowering people and organizations, and responsibility," explained Microsoft's gaming AI GM Haiyan Zhang. "We are committed to creating responsible AI by design, building on Microsoft’s AI principles and Microsoft’s Responsible AI Standard."
Zhang further cited game developers that have experimented with AI language models and OpenAI GPT this year as impetus for the partnership. Microsoft will "collaborate and innovate with game creators inside Xbox studios as well as third-party studios as we develop the tools that meet their needs and inspire new possibilities for future games."
Some developers are hesitant towards generative AI trends
Some developers have voiced concerns about the use of generative AI tools, particularly in the realms of voice acting, art, and other content production. Many of those concerns stem from a fear that gen AI tools will be used to supplant human labor: "Developers and artists have expressed nervousness over how eager business leaders are to replace their work, and no matter how things shake out, those anxieties probably aren't going away."