What’s in Store for Blizzard Games? AI – the Game Changer!

Activision Blizzard Preparing for “A Major Revolution” with AI

“A Major Revolution”

According to The Verge, which is based on an article by Le Monde, Activision Blizzard is preparing its development teams for the massive arrival of AI. Indeed, if the Le Monde article relies on an email written by Allen Adham (Design Director) sent to the personnel of Blizzard, the American firm would be preparing “the potential benefits that AI could bring to business workflow“. Blizzard’s tools would be “on the brink of a major evolution in the way games are built and run“. “Prepare to be surprised” did he declare. The message tells us that as in other societies, AI is already used to create concept images (illustrations of environments and characters). However, it could go (much) further.

Yes, Blizzard seems to see a future where AI will be almost everywhere. Adham discusses the possibilities of making “Autonomous and intelligent NPCs“, of “design levels in a procedural but assisted way“, of “clone voices“, of “coding games” or to use this technology to “fight more effectively against toxicity. If there is nothing particularly shocking in seeing an AI help in the development of a game – thus facilitating purely technical tasks – it is already more surprising to see that it is envisaged to leave a machine regulate interactions between players.

Kind Words to Shareholders?

As noted, of course, all of this may come to nothing. The article refers to a tool for machine learning designed to produce environmental textures that was abandoned due to lack of support from Blizzard artists. The Le Monde article, which relies on the statements “from a former WoW engineer“, suggests that the emphasis placed by the direction on AI would not really be there to meet the needs of artists, but rather to “impress shareholders“. The promise of better productivity inevitably excites financiers.