Microsoft to create AI tools for game development

Microsoft believes its partnership with Inworld will "empower game developers" worldwide.
xbox inworld microsoft

Microsoft has announced a partnership with AI company Inworld to build generative AI game development tools with a narrative and dialogue focus “at scale.” According to a new blog post, these tools will be integrated into development at Xbox studios, with the intention of aiding developers to “realise their visions, try new things, push the boundaries of gaming today and experiment to improve gameplay.”

Per details revealed in a blog post, the AI tools in development will include:

  • An “AI design copilot” that turns developer prompts into detailed scripts, dialogue trees, quests, and more.
  • An “AI character runtime engine” that integrates into a game client, and enables “entirely new narratives with dynamically-generated stories, quests, and dialogue for players to experience.”

“As game creators have begun experimenting with AI Large Language Models (LLMs) like OpenAI’s GPT (the AI that powers ChatGPT and Bing Chat), we see a world of opportunities to accelerate game developer creativity, reduce complexity, and enhance player experiences,” Haiyan Zhang, General Manager of Gaming AI at Xbox said. “At Xbox, we believe that with better tools, creators can make even more extraordinary games.”

The move comes at a time when the Screen Actor’s Guild in the US (SAG-AFTRA) is actively campaigning for protections against the use of AI in the film and video game sectors, with the US-based union poised to strike if a new Interactive Media Agreement cannot be reached. The Writer’s Guild of America (WGA) also recently initiated strikes over AI, eventually making a deal with major studios that it could only be used as a tool, and not as a replacement for real, human writers.

Read: The Finals criticised over use of AI for character voices

Microsoft will reportedly “collaborate and innovate” with developers at studios worldwide to create these incoming AI tools, with the overarching goal of meeting their needs, while adhering to three principles: “meaningful innovation, empowering people and organisations, and responsibility.”

“We are committed to creating responsible AI by design, building on Microsoft’s AI principles and Microsoft’s Responsible AI Standard. And we continue our ongoing commitment to bring intentional, inclusive practices and thinking to everything we do at Xbox,” Zhang said.

The decision to partner with Inworld for the creation of generative AI tools comes at a difficult time for the games industry. Over the last year, countless companies have slashed jobs and initiated widespread layoffs due to economic downturn, and years of overspending.

Microsoft kickstarted the year by laying off 10,000 people – including from its game development divisions. While AI is not a complete replacement for human workers, it’s fair to assume its integration will lighten the workload for narrative and dialogue specialists – and therefore reduce potential jobs in the longterm. As the global games industry and its opportunities shrink, implementing “responsible” AI of this manner will be a difficult task.

Leah J. Williams is a gaming and entertainment journalist who's spent years writing about the games industry, her love for The Sims 2 on Nintendo DS and every piece of weird history she knows. You can find her tweeting @legenette most days.