a16z thinks a creative AI revolution is coming to gaming


Summary

Generative AI can create text, audio, images, and 3D assets. The games industry combines these media – and could therefore benefit greatly.

At least that’s what venture capitalist Andreessen Horowitz (a16z) assumes, making him the second major Silicon Valley investor after Sequoia Capital to embrace the potential of generative AI. In a blog post, the company specifically addresses the benefits of generative AI for the gaming industry, where it expects the technology to have the most significant impact.

Image: a16z

Magic potions made by machines

The basic thesis of investors: games are the most complex form of media and therefore have a particularly high barrier to entry into development. Generative AI lowers this barrier by reducing the complexity of asset production while increasing quality, quantity, and speed.

“There hasn’t been such revolutionary technology for games since real-time 3D,” write authors James Gwertzman and Jack Soslow. “There hasn’t been such revolutionary technology for games since real-time 3D.”

A d

Early conversations with developers showed they were excited about the “dramatic reduction in time and cost”, they say. One developer says he’s cut the time it takes to complete a single piece of concept art from three weeks to an hour. The venture capitalist expects similar savings rates across the entire production pipeline.

The developer “Emm” shows concrete examples on Twitter. He focuses on producing 2D assets with Stable Diffusion. It does this by refining Stable Diffusion with sample assets using the Dreambooth API. This allows it to generate game-specific and consistent graphics. With Scenario_gg, it plans to offer a platform for AI-generated gaming assets from December.

While the productive use of generative AI for concept art, 2D assets, and text is already underway, 3D objects are a step further. Early approaches include Google’s Dreamfusion research project and Nvidia’s GET3D, which is open-source.

More games, new games and micro studios

The following graphic from a16z shows an overview of commercial projects and startups working on generative AI that game studios might be interested in. Despite all the excitement, generative AI for games is in its infancy, writes a16z. In addition to large foundational models like Stable Diffusion, AI tools developed specifically for the industry could add value.

Generative AI market map for games. | Image: a16z

The venture capitalist expects the use of generative AI to become a professional discipline in its own right. Additionally, if generative AI lowers barriers to entry, it could lead to riskier and more creative game projects.

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