Nintendo takes stance against generative AI in games

Nintendo president Shuntaro Furukawa has outlined Nintendo's stance on AI in a new investor Q&A.
nintendo direct zelda echoes of wisdom key art

Amid a sea of enthusiasm for generative AI, Nintendo president Shuntaro Furukawa has spoken out against the technology, stating Nintendo is cautious about its potential use, and will likely avoid using it in the years ahead.

In a new investor Q&A, Furukawa specifically outlined generative AI as a risky technology for its potential infringement of intellectual property rights. Typically, generative AI is taught on large swathes of copyrighted content – and while it has a transformative impact on this content, questions remain around legality and ownership.

While Furukawa acknowledged that generative AI has the potential to inspire new creativity, the concerns over its use currently outweigh the benefits for Nintendo – and further, Furukawa maintains that Nintendo’s existing knowledge, skills, and talent is enough to create the best video games for players.

“We have decades of know-how in creating optimal gaming experiences for our customers, and while we remain flexible in responding to technological developments, we hope to continue to deliver value that is unique to us and cannot be achieved through technology alone,” Furukawa reportedly said, as translated by TweakTown.

Read: The Legend of Zelda: Echoes of Wisdom features a very cool crafting mechanic

Nintendo’s own creativity outshines generative AI

As Furukawa points out, developers at Nintendo have a wealth of experience and creativity that can be drawn from, without a need to rely on generative AI tools. More to the point, it’s this uniqueness that allows them to stand out.

When using generative AI, ideas produced are often an amalgam of everything that’s come before, and the content soup generated tends to be beige and unoriginal. It lacks the flavour of individually-produced work.

Nintendo’s appeal has always been its creativity and its originality – the way it produces games that bottle childhood joy, and allow a freedom of creativity. AI certainly plays a part in that, and Furukawa has acknowledged the close relationship between game development and AI technology, but it is a tool to aid human creativity and streamline processes. Impactful game development isn’t typing a few words into a machine, and having an amalgam product shot out the other end.

Going forward, it appears Nintendo will maintain a caution around the use of generative AI, and instead rely on the endless creativity and experience within its own team.

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.