Tony Wang is the co-founder and Chief Revenue Officer at Agora.
In… of today $200 Billion Game Industry, game developers are constantly looking for new concepts and ways to keep players engaged and playing. In such a competitive and rapidly evolving industry, developers are required to keep a close eye on the market and analyze player behavior within their games. Left to humans, that is extremely manual and time-consuming work.
But left to technological solutions that can recognize patterns and adapt to their environment, developers can focus on the more creative aspects. AI, in particular, is already showing developers how to create better in-game experiences and develop their games more efficiently.
As gaming becomes more immersive and realistic, and as community and interaction become more important, users are increasingly looking for ways to feel connected within a game.
AI is a tool that many game developers use to build those connections, deepen engagement, and generate new content and interactive stories. They can do this by collecting user login information and analyzing user behavior to understand how gamers play, where they are most or most engaged, and what factors are causing them to stop playing. Those insights allow developers to fine-tune gameplay and find new monetization opportunities.
AI is also valuable for enhancing gameplay, not only in terms of design realism and avatar interactivity, but also appropriate to the gamer’s specific skill level and play method. Think of enemies and obstacles within a game. NPCs (non-player characters) need to be trained to get around obstacles, and AI can facilitate that training. It’s also possible enable better pathfinding by detecting the shortest path between two points that characters must traverse.
When it comes to the way of playing regardless of skill level, the gamer must have a way to win or advance against an NPC. Adaptive AI plays an important role in understand the player’s style, strengths or weaknesses so that the elements of the game adapt and provide personalized interactions. It is not every player’s intention or desire to play aggressively and move forward as quickly as possible. Some are more interested in relaxing and exploring the world of the game. Adaptive AI allows developers to accommodate a spectrum of play styles and keep the player engaged. This also helps the game stay within its limits. For example, it can help to program it so that one player is not endowed with greater powers such as speed or strength compared to others.
Developers can also turn to AI for insights on how to develop new games. AI can be used to identify development trends in gaming and analyze the competition, new playing techniques and player customizations to the game. This helps inform the methodology and technique of game development itself. Reinforced learning and pattern recognition can direct and evolve character behavior over time by quickly analyzing their actions to keep players engaged and sufficiently challenged. AI can also make the in-game dialogue more human, making the game immersive and realistic.
By looking beyond development insights and quickly putting those insights into action, AI has the potential to make gaming even safer for players by protecting player privacy and combating player toxicity. AI is used in online casinos, for example to process payments with SSI encryption (a form of AI) so that they are not accessible to third parties. As a side note, AI can also detect cheating, which is very important when real money is at stake, as is increasingly the case with casino games.
As mentioned earlier, toxicity is a pervasive concern among game communities and game developers. According to the Anti-Defamation League, 83% of the players ages 18 to 45 experienced harassment in multiplayer games, with 71% experiencing severe harassment such as physical threats and stalking. AI provides relief and a necessary sense of security to protect players from harm.
AI and machine learning models can identify bullying, abusive or abusive language, and other unwanted or aggressive actions. These tools can locate and report or ban offenders depending on the severity of their actions. Rather than simply analyzing dialogue for predetermined sets of “red flag” language or relying entirely on human moderators, AI uses semantic understanding and inference to contextualize language, consider tone and sentiment, and recognize how the language in the vernacular evolves.
AI already relieves game developers of the burden of being everywhere: looking at the competition, looking at in-game behavior and looking at the way players interact with each other. In addition to easing the burden of manual work, AI can and will add value to games development strategy and enable developers to increase engagement with their games.