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Phil Spencer Says AI Will Be An Additive, Positive Force For Video Games

Microsoft is a business partner with OpenAI and is looking to use AI tools in every product it owns, including Xbox.


One of the most-discussed elements of technology in recent times has been artificial intelligence, thanks in part to OpenAI's ChatGPT. Some are wondering how advancements to AI may impact the future of video games, and Microsoft Gaming CEO Phil Spencer believes AI can help games grow to another level.

"The intersection of AI and gaming has always been there. And now the AI capability on the planet is just getting bigger and bigger," Spencer said in an interview with XboxOn.

Microsoft recently partnered with ChatGPT creator OpenAI in a deal reportedly worth $10 billion, so Spencer is obviously not an impartial observer but instead someone with a business interest in seeing AI grow and succeed. He went on to say that AI has always been involved in video games, dating back to Pong, and it'll be a part of game development going forward, too.

"Absolutely, [AI] will play a role in video games. AI always has. I get excited about some of the work that the team is doing. It gives them more of a canvas," he said. "Whether it's simulated physics, whether it's 3D rendering, whether it's great audio technology. What I find is when you give our creators new tools to play with, they then work it--sometimes it takes a couple years to find them rhythm of how everything fits in."

He added: "Our creators are now spending a lot of time with our AI engineers thinking about how this can be an additive, positive force in the games that we are building."

Some observers have spoken critically about the impact of AI on video games, in part for how AI systems might carry a negative personnel impact for, among other disciplines, voice acting.

Before this, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella said every Microsoft product--including Xbox--would benefit from advancements to AI technology, so hearing Spencer speak positively about the potential for AI in video games is no surprise.

Looking at the wider gaming industry, Battlefield publisher Electronic Arts is working on AI technology, and has been for years. In 2018, EA announced Project Atlas, an R&D project with 1,000 people working on it that aims to change how games are made through AI and neural networks. This technology was implemented into the Battlefield series, and it was smart enough to play the game and even play the objective.

More recently, Take-Two boss Strauss Zelnick said AI may have a role to play in video game development, but it won't allow a developer to create a true GTA competitor very easily.

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