Meta plans to bring generative AI to metaverse games

Meta plans to bring more generative AI tech into games, specifically VR, AR and mixed reality games, as the company looks to reinvigorate its flagging metaverse strategy.

According to a job listing, Meta is seeking to research and prototype “new consumer experiences” with new types of gameplay driven by generative AI, like games that “change every time you play them” and follow “non-deterministic” paths. In parallel, the company aims to build — or partner with third-party creators and vendors — generative AI-powered tools that could “improve workflow and time-to-market” for games.

The focus will be Horizon, Meta’s family of metaverse games, apps and creation resources. But it might expand to games and experiences on “non-Meta” platforms like smartphones and PCs.

“This is a nascent area but has the potential to create new experiences that are not even possible to exist today,” the job listing reads. “The innovation in this space could have a dramatic effect on the ecosystem as it should increase efficiency and allow considerably more content to be created.”

Meta didn’t respond to a request for comment.

The new efforts come as a blockbuster product remains elusive for Meta’s Reality Labs, the division responsible for the company’s sundry metaverse projects, including its Meta Quest headset. While Meta has sold tens of millions of Quest units, it’s struggled to attract users to its Horizon mixed reality platform — and claw back from billions of dollars in operating losses.

Meta recently pivoted its metaverse platform strategy, allowing third-party headset manufacturers to license some of the Quest’s software-based features, like hand and body tracking. At the same time, Meta has ramped up investments in metaverse game projects — reportedly as a product of Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s newfound personal interest in developing gaming for Quest headsets.

Meta has telegraphed an interest in generative AI metaverse experiences before.

In 2022, Zuckerberg showed off a prototype, Builder Bot, that let people build parts of virtual worlds by describing them with prompts like “Let’s go to the beach.” And last year, in a blog post, Meta CTO and Reality Labs head Andrew Bosworth described generative AI tools that could help “level the playing field” in creating metaverse content.

meta builder bot
Meta’s Builder Bot tool, shown off during the company’s 2022 Inside the Lab event.
Image Credits: Meta

“Just like Instagram helped anyone be a creator, [these generative AI tools] won’t just boost the power of individual creators,” he wrote. “[T]hey’ll also act as a force multiplier for developers, giving small teams the horsepower of larger studios and accelerating innovation across the board.”

Generative AI has begun to trickle into game development, with companies like Disney-backed Inworld and Artificial Agency applying the tech to create more dynamic game dialogues and narratives. A number of platforms now offer tools to generate game art assets and character voices via AI — to the chagrin of some game creators who fear for their livelihoods.

Meta earlier this year said that it planned to spend billions on generative AI and formed a new top-level team focused on generative AI products like AI characters and ads. In April, Zuckerberg warned that it’ll take “years” for the company to make money from generative AI — suggesting that the investments won’t turn Reality Labs’ fortunes around anytime soon.

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