There is a very interesting piece on Eurogamer at the moment about one man’s quest to build an AI system that can create video games. It’s really lengthy but for people who are interested in the idea I do recommend giving it a read.
However the idea of computers making games themselves got me to thinking; would this be a good thing for the industry or simply the beginning of the end for any creative juices that still remain?
There are two schools of thought here. Firstly a computer could accidentally stumble across a brand new genre of gaming and could open the industry up. Being free from emotion or concerns around profit could be exactly what the industry requires and with a computer’s ability to iterate at blazing speeds we could see prototype games being thrown out by the thousands.
However, there is a catch. Computers cannot understand entertainment and therefore we will still rely on humans to test these prototypes and give feedback. And how long do you think it will take before these humans get fed up testing completely arbitrary ideas that even Molyneux himself would frown upon?
What I predict would happen is the industry itself would suffer severely. Once EA and Activision understood that they could now cut huge costs by removing all their development staff and focussing the AI to simply make fine tweaks on existing formulas, thereby creating a string of sport, FPS and strategy titles that release yearly with very little difference from the year before… ah but I hear you say that is already happening – and you would be correct.
The difference here would be that the cost of making these games would plummet allowing the bigger developers to massively undercut the current market rates and leaving the smaller, more creative developers, unable to compete. So not only are we stuck with yearly releases with very little difference but there wouldn’t be an opportunity for games like Borderlands, Limbo or Castle Crashers to see the light of day.
So do you see this possible future as a saviour or destroyer of our beloved industry?