The Head Of Xbox Game Studios Wants Artificial Intelligence For QA Testing

Matt Booty emphasized the potential time-saving power of such technology.

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At a Q&A during PAX West, Xbox Game Studios head Matt Booty expressed a desire to bring AI technology to QA and testing in video games.

As spotted by VGC, Booty stated that he has asked AI researchers to develop a system that could test games. Booty emphasized how difficult and multifaceted game development can be, so that adding small features can have long-reaching effects. He said, "A game... can be ready to ship, and a designer’s like, ‘I’ve got this one little feature, I’m just going to change the color on this one thing’ and then it somehow blows up something and now the first 10 minutes of the game doesn’t play." These knock-on effects ensure that the entire game must be thoroughly tested with every new addition. That testing costs plenty of time and manpower.

In theory, AI might be able to pick up some of the difficulties there, enabling developers to complete more testing faster. Booty speculated, "I would love to be able to start up 10,000 instances of a game in the cloud, so there’s 10,000 copies of the game running, deploy an AI bot to spend all night testing that game, then in the morning we get a report." Thereby, thousands of hours of work could be completed overnight. Whether such testing would work as envisioned, or how much human assistance such an AI would need, is still pure speculation.

The scale of games has gotten larger over the last couple of generations. In the same Q&A, Matt Booty pointed out that multiple game studios working on a single game is a new normal rather than a cause for concern.

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