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Microsoft doubles down on AI as Xbox’s future with Inworld AI deal

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Microsoft and Inworld AI are now officially co-developing generative AI-powered tools designed to help game developers create complex stories, dialogue trees, quests, and more.

Artificial intelligence is gradually evolving into a staple for all well-known game developers. Electronic Arts has launched an AI-focused research and development initiative called SEED to improve the authenticity and intelligence of NPCs in its games. Similarly, Rockstar Games is reportedly planning to incorporate AI-driven car navigation in the upcoming Grand Theft Auto 6, while also making it more realistic. Further, NVIDIA and Unity have already begun using AI to improve graphics and create more advanced tools for the sake of game developers.

It was merely a question of when other companies would follow suit. Now, it seems that the gaming giant Microsoft has decided to proactively embrace the future of gaming by partnering with the NPC-focused AI company, Inworld AI.

What will Inworld AI do for games?

Microsoft’s partnership with Inworld AI aims to provide developers with an AI toolkit that can turn prompts into scripts, create dialog trees, and generate dynamically evolving stories and narratives in games.

Inworld AI’s focus is on helping developers craft lifelike NPCs. The toolkit will include a “co-pilot” feature designed to improve NPCs, according to the Microsoft-Inworld AI collaboration announcement. Further details are mentioned on Inworld’s official website.

The AI’s capabilities could allow NPCs to express emotions and manage relationships in real time. This can include recalling memories, autonomously initiating goals, and developing ambitions that are seamlessly integrated into the gameplay.

Inworld’s toolset will also introduce an AI character runtime engine that can be integrated into the game client. This is capable of working on a larger scale and allowing games to have dynamically generated stories and quests. In theory, this could result in every playthrough being completely different.

Is Inworld AI exclusive to Xbox games?

Microsoft says it will use this technology to collaborate with first-party studios as well as its third-party studios.

“Our goal is to deliver state-of-the-art AI tools for game developers of any size, anywhere in the world and on every platform where players want to play,” says Haiyan Zhang, general manager of Xbox Gaming AI in the collaboration announcement.

Microsoft will likely first make this available to its first-party studios. These tools could still be used by studios that publish multi-platform titles.

Microsoft doubles down on AI as the future of Xbox

Microsoft is seemingly looking to make AI central to the Xbox brand.

These plans go beyond just game design, which was previously confirmed in leaked documents related to the next-generation Xbox console. These documents outline a roadmap for a mid-generation console refresh for the Xbox Series X/S as well as a next-generation console. As of 2016, plans were for the Series’ successor will look to use cloud computing and have dedicated hardware for AI use.

According to the documents, Microsoft intends to use its new console and AI to improve game performance, offering super resolutions and increased frame rates for many games. This is similar to DLSS and other tools that are becoming standard in GPUs. Integrating AI into game creation was also mentioned as a part of these plans, and now there is tangible evidence that these initiatives are being implemented thanks to the Inworld AI partnership.

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Written by Mohamed Hassan

Mohamed still treasures his time playing games on the original PlayStation, speedrunning through the Megaman X games and replaying acclaimed role-playing game Chrono Cross countless times. Since then, his love for JRPGs and platformers has only grown and is among the driving forces behind his passion for writing about video games.

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