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Blizzard Entertainment—the studio behind Diablo, World of Warcraft, and Overwatch—is experimenting with generative AI as part of game development, according to a report by the New York Times.
Blizzard's move into artificial intelligence was announced internally last month in an email from Blizzard's chief design officer, Allen Adham, the New York Times said.
“We are on the brink of a major evolution in how we build and manage our games,” Adham wrote, telling staff to prepare to be amazed.
Other game developers that have acknowledged that they are leveraging AI include FIFA, which launched a mobile AI-Powered World Cup Soccer game in April.
"Our approach at Blizzard is to use machine learning and AI in ways that are additive, empathic, and allow our talented teams to spend more time on the highest quality creative thinking and tasks," Blizzard President Mike Ybarra said on Twitter.
Ybarra's comments came in response to claims that Blizzard would use generative AI to replace human artists. A similar concern is also a focal point of the Writer’s Guild of America strike, currently in its fourth week.
In what has been described as an "AI arms race," top technology companies, including Google and Microsoft, have pushed hard into artificial intelligence since the public launch of OpenAI's ChatGPT last November. Microsoft has reportedly invested over $13 billion in OpenAI, and Google investing $300 million in its Bard AI project.
While the excitement around generative AI has taken the tech world by storm, many firms, including Blizzard, have warned their employees against using third-party AI programs for work, fearing the loss of confidential company data and intellectual property.
Earlier this month, smartphone giants, Apple and Samsung, prohibited employees from using the popular AI chatbot, ChatGPT, citing concerns that the data is stored on external servers and could be viewed by others using the program.
According to the New York Times, Blizzard has deployed its own AI tools internally, which is out of the reach of most smaller game development shops. Even so, some employees have reportedly said the company’s AI technology falls short in catching bugs or interacting with games—with one former employee saying the company is “ignoring their problems and focusing on hype words that they think will sound impressive to shareholders.”
Blizzard has not yet responded to Decrypt's request for comment.