Risks of Blizzard Joining the AI Revolution

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Blizzard is joining Ubisoft and experimenting with using AI in game development and the results could be incredible. According to an internal email revealed by the New York Times, Blizzard is now in possession of an artificial intelligence image generation tool dubbed “Blizzard Diffusion”. Blizzard’s Chief Design Officer, Allen Adham, praised Blizzard Diffusion in the email saying that employees should “prepare to be amazed”.

The tool’s purpose is to help concept artists create game environments, characters, and costumes for upcoming games more efficiently. This development could have a lot of implications for the gaming industry at large. AI has a tendency to overshadow the artistic works of real people so it’s important that Blizzard Diffusion does not use unaffiliated works in the process. Michael Vance, the Activision Blizzard Chief Technical Officer, wrote an internal email reassuring employees that they should not be using AI with external intellectual properties. This statement implies that Blizzard Diffusion will be based off of original Blizzard assets only.

AI can be a great asset when utilized correctly. The hope is that Blizzard Diffusion will aid in streamlining the creation of gaming assets while still maintaining the human touch. However, this likely means that some of the game design process is being automated and employees may be slowly phased out of the process. Prior to this development, Ubisoft had begun experimenting with AI for dialogue creation in their game worlds. They made use of an AI-based program called Ghostwriter to generate NPC dialogue and interactions.

Many artists are worried about the potential creative implications of AI implementation in gaming. Creative work should always be handled with a human touch and the latest news from Blizzard is definitely cause for pause. We hope that Blizzard will be taking the proper measures to protect the works of its own employees and external creators. Ultimately, we will have to wait and see how this AI development affects the gaming landscape as a whole and its implications for creativity.

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