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Nintendo says generative AI can be used in ‘creative ways’ but highlights IP issues

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Nintendo has commented on the controversial topic of generative artificial intelligence in video game development, outlining the pros and cons as it sees them.

In a shareholder Q&A, Nintendo president Shuntaro Furukawa was asked about the company’s initiatives involving AI. In response, Furukawa said generative AI could be used “in creative ways,” but said its use “also raises issues with intellectual property rights.”

Artificial intelligence and its use in games is one of the hottest topics in the video game industry, with several studios advertising AI-generated NPCs OR AI driven level creationOthers have expressed concern about its potential impact on work, particularly art, quality assurance and performance.

Generative AI so far has criticism withdrawn from the players and Creator due to a mix of ethical issues, rights issues, and AI efforts to produce content that audiences actually like. For example, Keywords Studios tried to create an experimental game from within using entirely AI. The game failedwith Keywords citing to investors that AI was “unable to replace talent.”

Shuntaro Furukawa (R) and Shigeru Miyamoto (L).  Photo by KASUHIRO NOGI/AFP via Getty Images.
Shuntaro Furukawa (R) and Shigeru Miyamoto (L). Photo by KASUHIRO NOGI/AFP via Getty Images.

As for Nintendo, which is preparing to reveal and launch the Switch’s successor console, Furukawa said the company is “open to using technological developments” but will “work to continue providing value that is unique to Nintendo and cannot be created by technology alone.

Here is Furukawa’s full statement:

In the gaming industry, AI-like technologies have long been used – for example, to control the movements of opposing characters – so I believe that game development and AI technology have always had a close relationship. Generative AI, which is becoming a big topic lately, can be used in creative ways, but we understand that it can also raise intellectual property rights issues.

We have decades of knowledge in creating the best gaming experiences for our players. While we are open to taking advantage of technological developments, we will work to continue to deliver value that is unique to Nintendo and cannot be created by technology alone.

Nintendo’s mixed statement here comes as its video game console rivals enter AI. Microsoft, for example, is said to be making an Xbox AI chatbot to automate support tasks like game refunds, handling broken consoles and subscription issues, and answering questions about error codes.

Meanwhile, head of PlayStation Productions and head of product at PlayStation Studios Asad Qizilbash outweighed AI to say that its use in video games is important to Gen Z and Gen Alpha gamers who demand “customization in everything”.

While we are open to taking advantage of technological developments, we will work to continue to deliver value that is unique to Nintendo and cannot be created by technology alone.

“For example, non-player characters in games can interact with players based on their actions, making it feel more personal,” Qizilbash said. “This is important for the younger audience of Gen Z and Gen Alpha, who are the first generations to grow up digitally and are looking for personalization in everything, as well as looking for experiences to make more sense. “

Earlier this year, EA chief Andrew Wilson told the investment community that “more than 50% of our development processes will be positively impacted by advances in generative AI.” Wilson, who oversees EA Sports FC, The Sims and BioWare games, added that AI will make game development “more efficient”, revealing that EA Sports FC developers can now make stadiums in six weeks rather than six month.

Witcher voice actor Doug Cockle has also expressed caution and dismay at the growing presence of AI within the video game industry, calling it “inevitable” but “dangerous”.

Wesley is the UK News Editor for IGN. Find him on Twitter at @wyp100. You can contact Wesley at wesley_yinpoole@ign.com or confidentially at wyp100@proton.me.

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