Generative AI’s Role in Video Game Development Will Grow From 5% to 50% Within a Decade [Charts]
Half of a video game’s development will rely on generative AI support in the next five to ten years, according to a study by consulting firm Bain & Company. That’s a more than ten-fold increase from the under 5% of content for games built with generative AI right now, but the survey of gaming executives found most believe generative AI will enhance game quality and speed up development processes substantially in the coming years.
The executives are also skeptical of the financial benefits of generative AI, however. Only 20% of respondents said generative AI would significantly reduce overall development costs, and most question whether the technology could replace human talent. This suggests that while generative AI can augment human developers, it may not replace them wholly or wipe out a large number of jobs, at least. Advances in natural language processing enable AI to generate gaming assets like character designs, environments, sounds, and even gameplay mechanics from text prompts. This can boost developer productivity. However, effectively implementing AI alongside human creators requires rethinking how video games are made, and there are risks if the technology is deployed without enough oversight.
As the chart on the right shows, the usefulness of generative AI isn’t universal across all stages of video game development. Most executives expect generative AI to show more potential in production and later phases. In particular, the tech can help with writing stories and scripts for nonplayable characters (NPCs), producing visual assets, managing player support, and enabling players to create their own custom content.
“Most of these executives see generative AI improving quality and bringing games to market faster. Generative AI will also help make bigger, more immersive, and more personalized experiences a reality,” Bain explained in the study. “As with any form of automation, there may be concerns about generative AI taking jobs. But most of the executives we spoke with (60%) don’t expect generative AI to have a significant effect on their talent model or alleviate the industry’s critical talent shortage.”