Echoes of Somewhere was briefly featured in a recent Andreessen Horowitz (a16z) blog post about AI in games.
It is, naturally, a great honour to be recognised by some of the biggest players in the space. This is special for a small project like Echoes! Hopefully it will help give people a view of what AI would look in production.
The blog post is a great overview of the status quo of games and forecasts to the AI powered future. If you want to quickly get up to speed, it is worth a read!
We’re still early in applying generative AI to games, and many legal, ethical, and technical hurdles need to be solved before most of these ideas can be put into production. Legal ownership and copyright protection of games with AI-generated assets is largely unclear today unless a developer can prove ownership of all the data used to train a model. This makes it difficult for owners of existing IP franchises to utilize 3rd party AI models in their production pipelines.
There are also significant concerns over how to compensate the original writers, artists, and creators behind training data. The challenge is that most AI models today have been trained on public data from the Internet, much of which is copyrighted work. In some cases, users have even been able to recreate an artist’s exact style using generative models. It’s still early and compensation for content creators needs to be properly worked out.
Finally, most generative models today would be cost prohibitive to run in the cloud at the 24/7, global scale that modern games operations require. To scale cost-effectively, application developers will likely need to figure out ways to shift model workloads to end-user devices, but this will take time.
Yet what is clear at the moment – is that there is tremendous developer activity and player interest in generative AI for games. And while there is also a lot of hype, we are altogether excited by the many talented teams we see in this space, working overtime to build innovative products and experiences.
The opportunity isn’t just making existing games faster and cheaper, but in unlocking a new category of AI-first games that weren’t possible before. We don’t know exactly what shape these games will take, but we do know that the history of the games industry has been one of technology driving new forms of play. The potential prize is enormous – with systems like generative agents, personalization, AI storytelling, dynamic world building, and AI copilots, we may be on the cusp of seeing the first NeverEnding games created by AI-first developers.a16z, Jonathan Lai.