NeoGAFs Kent Brockman
Bobby Kotick likens AI revolution to Steve Jobs releasing the Macintosh
The over 30-year veteran of the Call of Duty publisher was asked during a company-wide meeting last week what role he thought AI would play at Activision Blizzard and in the larger video game field moving forward. It’s a question lots of people are asking as AI-generated stories become a flashpoint in the Hollywood writers’ strike and Google unveils new AI tools that could completely revamp how people navigate the internet.
“I’ve known Sam Weltman and the folks who are working at OpenAI for a long time,” Kotick told staff, based on a recording of the remarks shared with Kotaku. “I don’t know how much people realize that a lot of modern day AI including ChatGPT started with the idea of beating a game, whether it was Warcraft or Dota or Starcraft or Go or Chess. But what is now these large language learning model AI technologies, all started from this idea of beating a game.”
And I think one of the things that I’ve experienced over the last year is that same feeling that I had when I saw that first MacIntosh, about how meaningful the impact of AI would be on society both positive and negative. But for what we do, I think it will have a profound positive impact on the things we’ll be able to do in game development for our players. It will enable us to do things that we haven’t been able to do for a long time.
You know if you take an example of a thing like Guitar Hero, I’ve always had this vision for what a new Guitar Hero product could be but without having AI and then the processors embedded either in phones, in computers, or in game consoles that allow you to actually have the speed of processing to enable that AI, we’ve never been in a place where AI is going to have practical reality and applicability for games until now. And I think when you look out over the next five or seven years, the impact in game making is going to be extraordinary.
It’s not clear what exactly Kotick has been daydreaming about when it comes to using AI to reboot Guitar Hero. The storied rhythm-based franchise was a hit for years until it eventually imploded under the weight of rapid release schedules and too many peripherals. Maybe a new Guitar Hero would let players generate their own songs based on popular artists styles and voices, or let them jam alongside iconic musicians on the fly. It could be intriguing, and a licensing nightmare.
Kotick added that he thinks AI tools will help make games more accessible and improve how players learn about them. “If you look at games like Call of Duty we have people playing a fraction of what they can play because there’s a lot there and it’s complex to learn,” Kotick said.