AI-powered NPCs could live forever and exist in multiple games — Yat Siu

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Nonplayer characters in games, known as “NPCs,” could one day be completely powered by artificial intelligence and even be made to “live forever” on the blockchain and in multiple games.

The prediction was made by Animoca Brands co-founder Yat Siu, who also admitted such a feat would likely be years away. That being said, Siu believes that players will see “inklings” of this technology in 2024.

“Games will start building experiences specifically around interacting with NPCs,” Siu told Cointelegraph.

“You’ll see inklings of that in 2024. You’ll find AI agents that act on your behalf.”

Some open-source and community-run projects have released game mods allowing players to talk with NPCs by plugging their in-game characters into generative AI platforms that generate responses and synthesize a voice.

While most are relatively unpolished, it does allow NPCs to respond and even make facial expressions to player speech inputs.

Big Tech firms are also eyeing AI for NPCs. NVIDIA released its ACE for Games tool in May, which aims to allow game devs to bring intelligence to NPCs through AI natural language processing.

Microsoft, through its console gaming brand Xbox, partnered with Inworld AI in November to create a developer toolset that allows for creating “dynamically-generated stories, quests, and dialogue” in video games.

Siu pointed to an April Stanford University study that put 25 AI agents in a virtual town and saw them throw parties and have seemingly meaningful conversations — with researchers concluding the agents had believable human behaviors.

Most AAA game NPCs still rely on voice acting and writing for their dialogue. Source: Bethesda

A blockchain-based NPC AI would also need to find a way to sustain itself and “afford to pay their own bills, literally, in terms of the data,” Siu added.

Related: 40% of crypto game devs are banking on trad gaming in 2024

Yield Guild Games co-founder Gabby Dizon told Cointelegraph last month that Web3 game devs are using Ethereum’s ERC-6551 token standard to thread AI into games and create AI agents that work on the player’s behalf.

Players can provide instructions to the in-game AI to automate the “grind” in some video games — allowing it to complete repetitive actions such as crafting or collecting items required to level up.

“I think it’s going to be the start of a new game genre of you interacting with AI and not having to play the game all day,” he said. “You set parameters for the AI and just let it do things in the game world.”

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