Microsoft is a big believer in AI–and of course they are, because the technology giant spent a reported $10 billion to partner with OpenAI on future projects–and AI will be baked into every product Microsoft makes. This includes Xbox. Tim Stuart, the CFO of Xbox, recently spoke about how he expects AI to impact the future of gaming at Xbox, and he sees a bright future. Like other Xbox executives before him, he did not discuss any potential downsides to AI like job losses or displacement.
“I’ve never been more excited for a technology shift in the gaming landscape,” he said at the Wells Fargo TMT Summit. “The last one we did was when we went from discs on consoles to let’s call it online games and games-as-a-service; things like Fortnite and Minecraft, which really changed the landscape of how people play. Mobile games being another one. I think AI is one of those inflection points for us.”
For developers, Stuart said studios spend millions of dollars on localization, scripting, and other elements, and he believes, “AI can take care of all of that.”
“You can say, ‘Hey I need a player to get from A to B.’ And instead of having to write a thousand lines of scripting or code, you just have the AI get you from A to B,” Stuart said, adding that AI can help with localization and game testing. AI might also help Microsoft find ways to make even more money, Stuart said. He gave an example of how a game like Minecraft can use AI to learn where players get stuck, but more importantly for the company’s bottom line, where they spend money, Stuart said.
He estimated there are around 100,000 game developers in the world, but with AI, the number of potential game developers could climb into the millions, he said.
“Anyone in this room can be a game developer. The barista at your local Starbucks has an awesome idea for a game, they can use AI to go create a great mobile experience,” Stuart said. He went on to say that some AI-generated mobile games will break through, and others might not, but overall, he expects there to be a new wave of game-creators thanks to AI in the future.
For consumers, Stuart said AI can help people have a greater “love for the game.” He gave an example of playing Minecraft and having your character talk to, for example, Hermione from Harry Potter using AI.
Stuart did not utter a word about how AI might impact or displace developers, though, which is a key concern for many. EA CEO Andrew Wilson recently spoke enthusiastically about the potential for AI to play a major role in the world of video games going forward, while also admitting that some jobs might be lost or displaced.
Before this, Xbox higher-ups including Phil Spencer and Sarah Bond spoke positively about the prospects for AI and also did not discuss concerns about job losses. Microsoft is already putting the wheels in motion to make games using AI and not humans through a deal with Inworld AI.
Microsoft was recently in the news concerning AI when OpenAI founder Sam Altman was fired from the company and then re-hired days later. Initially, it was believed he might join Microsoft for a new internal AI research team, but that did not happen. Microsoft remains partnered with OpenAI, and the AI company is reportedly not planning to give Microsoft a board seat as many expected.
In other news, Stuart said during the same speaking event that Microsoft wants to launch Game Pass on PlayStation and Nintendo.
The products discussed here were independently chosen by our editors.
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