Is AI a Metaverse Accelerator? – GameDaily.biz | We make games our business GameDaily.biz
Consulting services in the field of technology and entertainment management activate released a report this week that predicts the current Metaversum audience will double over the next three years, to around 600 million people, driven largely by the commercial, consumer-facing application of artificial intelligence.
The report comes at a time of bleak media reports on the Metaverse’s prospects, attributed to troubles in the crypto sector and an ongoing slump in virtual reality headset sales. However, Activate takes a Catholic and therefore positive view of the Metaverse, arguing that the Metaverse market is “already there” and is currently being fueled by successful 2D non-crypto games like Roblox, Fortnite, Minecraft and their smaller competitors. which together attract an audience of 300 million players.
Report from Activate – accessed Beyond the Hype Cycle: The Metaverse is more important than ever – notes that more than three-quarters of gamers report engaging in “non-gaming” in-game activities in the past 12 months. This includes chatting, of course, but also watching movies and live events, creating avatars, and buying physical goods.
(Again, the report gives a loose view of what constitutes gaming activity and what does not, but it makes the point that gaming-related activity defines both games and the metaverse.)
“The Metaverse is about socializing, collaborating, and creative self-expression,” said Activate CEO Michael Wolf, a former executive at MTV. “It’s about building things and sharing them, maybe even selling them, for dollars and euros. The most popular games in the world share these traits, but on top of that, they will only get stronger with the introduction of AI.”
Wolf argues that artificial intelligence will be the key factor in doubling the size of the current Metaverse player base, driving current hits, and creating opportunities for new success stories.
“AI-driven, photorealistic avatar creation is just one example of advances that will attract new audiences,” he says. “It’s so important because people want to see themselves or the person they want to be in a compelling and non-caricatured way. We’ve lived with the Uncanny Valley phenomenon for a long time. People get queasy when their avatar tries to look photorealistic and they don’t succeed. But everything we see coming to market goes beyond that.
“Second, the ability to easily design a world without having any programming or art skills is attractive. We’re already seeing it in today’s games, but they too require a certain level of skill, even at a basic level. But AI will make it easy for anyone to experiment and create. AI will be a metaverse accelerator.
“Also, NPCs are getting smarter, more compelling, and more interesting. Players will want to talk to and engage with NPCs almost like talking to friends. The combination of all these elements will have an extraordinary effect. I think you just have to look at some of the AI products that we’re already seeing and the demos of how AI will be used in games.”
Activate’s report states that creating a virtual world “enables the metaverse to scale significantly faster, creating a virtually infinite universe.” It compares the creation of AI user-generated content to the adoption of video services like YouTube and TikTok.
AI-driven quests will expand the number of activities available to players, including ones tailored to the individual. AI assistants make in-game navigation and onboarding easier for players who may currently lack the confidence to delve into seemingly complex worlds. Virtual economies and marketplaces will thrive as more consumers try to create and trade.
The report goes on to say that the combination of AI and metaverse will allow players to generate art and music in their favorite games. These games are also used as platforms for non-gaming activities like work and education. Players will create custom personalities and biographies while launching virtual commercial services similar to what we’ve seen in the streaming and social media markets.
Of course, not everyone sees the future of AI quite so positively. Generative AI is a controversial topic, not least for those professionals who make their living developing games and game assets. The promise of media democratization has often proved disappointing if not downright dystopian in the past. Anyone who uses social media or the internet today and remembers yesterday’s overblown promises will understand the pitfalls of over-optimism.
Still, Activate has a point. AI will surely transform our lives and commercial conversations, making it easier to express ourselves and be creative. Whether that creativity will be of any use remains to be seen, but some of it will certainly be valuable.
Wolf says the current pessimism about the Metaverse market is simply a function of the hype cycle, which rises and falls dramatically before stabilizing. “It happens every time we see a huge format change. There is always a lot of hype and skepticism. Just look at the articles on Amazon back then or on early social media networks. I think we’re past the hype now, and we’re dealing with smart people who are ignoring the distractions (like crypto company collapses) and creating deeply immersive environments for people to enjoy their time and lives want to spend money.”
Finally, he warns that the metaverse must distance itself from cryptocurrencies and some of Web3’s dirtiest paraphernalia in order to appeal to a wide audience. “The Metaverse and Web3 are not the same. People don’t care about these currencies and if they want to buy NFTs – and most don’t – they’ll rather do it with real money.”
The full report is Here.