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Meta Explores Generative AI to Revamp Metaverse Gaming

ByHuey Yee Ong

Jul 5, 2024

Meta Explores Generative AI to Revamp Metaverse Gaming

Meta is actively expanding its use of generative AI in metaverse games, targeting both its proprietary and non-Meta platforms like smartphones and PCs. The initiative focuses on enhancing the gaming experience in virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR), and mixed reality games, aiming to revitalize Meta’s metaverse strategy, which has shown lackluster results thus far.

A recent job listing from Meta calls for research and prototyping of “new consumer experiences” driven by generative AI. This includes developing games with dynamic, ever-changing gameplay that provides non-deterministic, varied experiences each time a game is played.

Furthermore, Meta plans to either develop or collaborate with third parties to create AI-powered tools designed to streamline the game development process, reducing time-to-market and improving overall workflow.

The primary focus of these efforts is on Horizon, Meta’s suite of metaverse games, apps, and creative tools. However, the company is also considering expanding these generative AI functionalities to games and experiences available on platforms not owned by Meta, such as PCs and smartphones.

Challenges in Meta’s Reality Labs

Despite these promising developments, Meta’s Reality Labs, the division responsible for these metaverse initiatives, has yet to produce a flagship product that gains substantial traction. Even though the Meta Quest headset has sold tens of millions of units, the Horizon mixed reality platform has not successfully attracted a considerable user base, contributing to substantial financial losses for the division.

In an effort to address these challenges, Meta has recently adjusted its strategy by allowing third-party headset manufacturers to license some of the Quest’s software features, such as hand and body tracking. Concurrently, Meta has increased its investment in developing games for the Quest headsets, a move reportedly influenced by Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s personal interest in enhancing the gaming capabilities of these devices.

Meta’s Previous Generative AI Endeavors

Meta’s engagement with generative AI in the metaverse isn’t new. In 2022, Zuckerberg demonstrated a prototype called Builder Bot, which enabled users to create parts of virtual worlds using simple voice prompts.

Additionally, last year, Meta’s CTO and head of Reality Labs, Andrew Bosworth, described in a blog post how generative AI tools could democratize metaverse content creation, comparing the potential impact to how Instagram empowered individuals to become content creators. These tools, Bosworth noted, would not only enhance the capabilities of individual creators but also serve as a “force multiplier” for developers, allowing smaller teams to operate with the efficiency and creative power of larger studios.

Is the Gaming Industry Embracing Generative AI?

The adoption of generative AI in game development has been gaining momentum across the industry. Companies like Disney-backed Inworld and Artificial Agency have begun integrating this technology to create more dynamic and responsive game dialogues and narratives.

Moreover, various platforms are now offering AI-generated game art assets and character voices, although this trend has sparked concerns among traditional game developers about the security of their professional roles.

Earlier this year, Meta announced plans to invest billions in generative AI and established a new senior team dedicated to developing generative AI products, including AI characters and advertisements.

Despite these efforts, Zuckerberg has cautioned that it will likely take years for these investments to become profitable, suggesting a long-term trajectory for the company’s generative AI endeavors in the metaverse.

Featured Image courtesy of Bing Guan/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Huey Yee Ong

Hello, from one tech geek to another. Not your beloved TechCrunch writer, but a writer with an avid interest in the fast-paced tech scenes and all the latest tech mojo. I bring with me a unique take towards tech with a honed applied psychology perspective to make tech news digestible. In other words, I deliver tech news that is easy to read.

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