99% of gamers are excited by the potential of smart NPCs powered by advanced artificial intelligence
Inworld AI, a developer platform for advanced NPC behavior and dialogue, today released the findings of its new report ‘Gamer Attitudes to NPCs.’ In the first study of its kind, the report surveyed over 1,000 gamers in the US aged 16-50 and found high levels of excitement about the potential of AI in video games. Specifically, there was an overwhelming consensus that recent advancements in AI could change the face of gaming and usher in a new era of immersion and interaction with NPCs (non-playable characters) with individual personalities and the ability to converse unscripted voice-to-voice with the help of ChatGPT-like language models and multimodal behavior and perception systems.
The report found that:
- 84% of gamers agree that current NPCs make a positive difference to gameplay
- Over half (52%) dislike repetitive NPC dialogue
- 76% want to see NPCs with better situational awareness
- 78% would spend more time playing games with advanced AI NPCs
- 81% would be willing to pay more for a game with advanced AI NPCs
A long time (not) coming
NPCs have been a part of video gaming from as far back as the 1970s. Despite significant technological advancements in motion capture, graphics rendering, animation, and modeling, the technology that powers the behavior of NPCs has remained stagnant. In other words, NPCs have not developed personalities of their own or the ability to respond to players unscripted. This is despite the fact that the report found that 84% of players today believe NPCs are a crucial addition to gameplay, with an important role in building immersive stories and worlds.
Meaningful interaction promotes excitement and loyalty…
The report highlighted the importance of narratives and storylines to the majority of players. Meaningful interactions with NPCs were heavily sought after, with only 9% of players dismissing or avoiding NPCs during gameplay altogether. A large minority (40%) even admitted to talking to as many NPCs as possible to unlock more story content. Equally, 91% interacted with NPCs on some level and 78% said they would spend more time playing a game with ‘intelligent’ NPCs.
Kylan Gibbs, Co-Founder and CPO Inworld AI said: “ Humans are storytellers. We’re drawn to narratives that help us to make sense of the world around us. The same thing is true in the gaming world – the more immersive and believable a story is, the more we want to stay inside it. So it’s really no surprise that so many gamers want to unlock deeper stories through these NPC interactions.”
…and poor quality promotes frustration and derision
While trolling is most prevalent among younger gamers (39% of 16-24 year olds troll NPCs), across all age groups, it was apparent that gamers willingly and regularly watch NPCs doing ‘stupid’ things – particularly when the characters were two-dimensional and poor quality. The typical NPC characteristics that were most disliked by players were: repetitive dialogue, walking in circles, and inability to adapt to changes in games (disliked by 52%, 33% and 30% of players respectively.) Other traits such as awkward movements and lack of variation also contributed to their disconnect from NPCs.
A missed opportunity for artificial intelligence
Despite these frustrations however, only a tiny minority (5%) view current NPCs as pointless. “Gamers care deeply about NPCs,” continued Kylan. “They have a huge impact on gameplay but gamers are frustrated with the fact that they haven’t evolved. With advanced AI NPCs, there’s an opportunity for games to give players more of the immersive and realistic interactions with NPCs that gamers want.”
A large majority (76%) want better situational awareness from NPCs, and 60% would like to see more interactive dialogue and a sense of humor. Understanding these requirements and being able to cater to them proved to be an appealing concept for almost all gamers surveyed. The report noted that 79% of respondents said they were excited by the promise of AI NPCs, with 88% believing they would make a game more immersive. This is in tandem with 99% believing the inclusion of advanced AI NPCs would positively impact gameplay, and 81% willing to pay for the experience.
Florin Radu, Head of Partnerships, concluded: “Advances in AI have real potential to bring NPCs to life and revolutionize the way gamers interact with them. At Inworld, we’re leveraging this technology to make NPCs smarter and more interactive, so as to enrich game narratives and make gameplay more immersive. It’s little surprise that gamers are excited by the possibility of having a unique experience with NPCs every time they play – and it’s precisely this excitement that we think will result in many more developers including advanced AI NPCs in their games in the near future.”
Lorgar Cup: the Ultimate CS:GO Tournament for Aspiring Gamers
Lorgar, the brand offering affordable high-quality peripherals for gamers, is proud to announce the launch of CEE Champions, an exhilarating CS:GO tournament aimed at providing local teams with an opportunity to showcase their talent on the international stage. The event is being held from May 19 to July 2.
CEE Champions aims to create a platform where both known and unknown teams can compete, demonstrate their skills and make a lasting impact on the international CS:GO scene. Through a series of competitive stages, participants will have the chance to prove their mettle and secure a spot on the main stage. The tournament will witness intense battles and fierce rivalries as teams from different countries fight to become the ultimate champions.
The event will kick off with the qualifiers scheduled to take place from May 19 to June 11 in various countries including Czech Republic, Slovakia, Bulgaria, Ukraine and Romania. The open qualification stage witnessed an impressive display of skill and determination from participating teams.
Eight teams will secure their place in the tournament’s next round. Preparations are already underway for the closed qualification stage, set to take place until June 11. In this stage, few additional well-known professional teams invited by the organizers will be eagerly awaiting the open qualification teams. The inclusion of these renowned teams will undoubtedly enhance the overall quality of the tournament, providing an even more intense and exhilarating experience for players and spectators alike.
Following the qualifiers, the tournament will proceed to the group stage on June 28 to 29, featuring the GSL format with two groups. Out of the participating teams, four groups will qualify for the next tour. The competition will reach its peak during the playoffs, scheduled for July 1 to 2, where the remaining teams will compete in a single-elimination format, best-of-three matches.
Lorgar is thrilled to be part of this exhilarating CS:GO tournament, which not only showcases the talents of local teams but also fosters a sense of community within the gaming industry. With the determination to support passionate gamers and provide them with the tools they need to succeed, Lorgar aims to uplift the gaming experience for all participants and spectators.
In addition to the exciting tournament, Lorgar is also delighted to announce The Great Lorgar Giveaway, which will run alongside CEE Champions. Participants will have a chance to win amazing prizes, including Lorgar’s top-of-the-line gaming peripherals and even gaming chairs. For more information on how to enter, please visit https:/ / CEEChampions. com/Giveaway/.
Whether you’re rooting for your beloved team or simply relishing in the excitement of competitive eSports, the Lorgar Cup is the perfect opportunity to indulge in your passion.
Bidstack Revs Up In-Game Advertising With Leading Mobile Racing Studios
Bidstack, the technology company pioneering Intrinsic In-Game advertising, today celebrates the one-year anniversary of its partnership with publisher Fingersoft and announces new partnerships with leading driving and racing mobile game studios The Tiny Digital Factory and Fat Cigar Productions Ltd.
Bidstack’s technology has become increasingly popular among mobile titles of all genres due to its ability to increase revenue through authentic and immersive in-game ads – without impacting gameplay or the player experience. Racing and sports games can be some of the most effective environments for in-game ads, enhancing realism and better mirroring real-world sporting environments.
Antoine Jullemier, VP, Gaming at Bidstack, said:
“I’m so pleased to be working with these three incredible racing studios. Brands are a huge part of racing and mobile games; therefore, they tend to have a lot of spaces suitable for in-game ad content, which can enhance the realism of those spaces. Our lightweight SDK means that game performance is unaffected, which is a critical consideration when it comes to players’ on-track performance. We’re super excited to further develop our relationship with Fingersoft and to add The Tiny Digital Factory and Fat Cigar Productions Ltd to the Bidstack paddock. As in-game advertising continues to gain traction with brands, we expect to see the channel generate record revenues in the year ahead.”
Bidstack’s technology was first integrated into Fingersoft’s Boom Karts Multiplayer Racing in May 2022. Over the past year, the online go-kart racer, which has had more than 3.5 million downloads to date, has generated almost half a billion in-game ad requests. One of the largest game developers and publishers in Finland, Fingersoft is best known for Hill Climb Racing and Hill Climb Racing 2, which have more than 2 billion installs between them.
Otto Simola, Head of Game Economy from Fingersoft, said:
“We’re always interested in providing players with a seamless and enjoyable experience while driving incremental revenue for the business. In-game advertising is a natural fit for both of these priorities and our partnership with Bidstack over the past year has proved to us that ads can indeed increase authenticity and immersion in games. We’re eager to see how the obvious possibilities of in-game advertising can crystallise further for players and studios alike.”
The duo of newly-signed partnerships injects yet more high-octane racing content into Bidstack’s portfolio of racing games. The Tiny Digital Factory is a world-class publisher of racing and motorsport games based in Lyon and Montreal. Its popular racing simulation, GT Manager, harnesses Bidstack’s technology to authentically bring real-world brands into its immersive on and off-track environments. Independent British Studio Fat Cigar Productions is utilising Bidstack’s technology in Street Kart Racing, a competitive mobile racer which has been the number 1 paid game on iOS in over 100 countries, to increase realism for users while adding an additional revenue stream.
Stéphane Baudet, CEO & Founder of The Tiny Digital Factory, commented:
“GT Manager is a simulation game that aims to recreate the thrill of running a racing team. Brands are part of the lifeblood of racing and Bidstack’s brand partnerships are contributing to making GT Manager as authentic as possible and supporting our business goals.”
Ross Jones, Co-Founder at Fat Cigar Productions, said:
“As a competitive racing title with a fantastic motorsport-savvy community, we don’t want to integrate any content that impacts on the performance of our game or user immersion. In-game advertising with Bidstack felt like an obvious choice to drive revenue and introduce authentic branded content without harming the user experience.”
Bidstack’s existing cross-platform sports and racing portfolio features Football Manager, Mad Skills Motocross 3, SimWin, Top Eleven and many more, enabling brands to reach an ever-growing and diverse gaming audience.
PAGCOR CANCELS ACCREDITATION OF POGO HUB IN PAMPANGA
Following the recent cancellation of CGC Technologies’ (CGC’s) accreditation – an offshore gaming service provider based in Pampanga – the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR) likewise cancelled the provisional accreditation of Sun Valley Clark as an offshore gaming hub.
PAGCOR Chairman and CEO Alejandro Tengco stated that the Sun Valley Clark Hub in Clark Freeport Zone, Pampanga is “no longer suitable to maintain its provisional accreditation, nor be issued a full accreditation as an offshore gaming hub due to its failure to ensure a lawful and orderly conduct of offshore gaming by its occupants in its registered sites.”
It can be recalled that on May 4, 2023, an inter-agency search and rescue operation was conducted in Sun Valley after alleged criminal activities such as cryptocurrency investment scams, serious illegal detention and human trafficking activities were being linked to CGC, which occupies six buildings inside the offshore gaming hub. Of the six buildings, however, only two were accredited by PAGCOR.
A POGO hub is a complex which houses the operations, logistical, administrative and support services of PAGCOR-licensed offshore gaming operators and service providers. Among the facilities found in a POGO hub are office and residential spaces, food establishments, grocery stores or supermarkets, health and wellness facilities, recreational facilities, among others.
With the cancellation of Sun Valley Clark Hub, Tengco again reminded PAGCOR’s offshore gaming operators and service providers to avoid any involvement in criminal activities, should they wish to retain their accreditations and licenses.
“This serves as a warning to all our offshore gaming licensees and accredited service providers that PAGCOR is serious in its mission to uphold responsible and regulated gaming in the country. While we see the potential of offshore gaming in terms of our revenue-generation efforts, we do not condone their involvement in any criminal activity that violates the rights – not only of Filipinos but of other nationalities as well,” Tengco furthered.
The PAGCOR chief likewise warned foreign nationals to be more cautious in accepting attractive online job offers in the Philippines, which fraudsters use as a strategy to engage in human trafficking.
“PAGCOR would like to remind foreign nationals who are being offered attractive employment opportunities in the Philippines to check the credibility of the companies that they are applying in. By going the extra mile, they can protect themselves from possible scams and human trafficking activities,” he said.
Tengco added that PAGCOR is continuously coordinating with its partner government agencies including the Office of the President, Department of Justice, Department of the Interior and Local Government, Philippine National Police, National Bureau of Investigation, and Bureau of Immigration to combat illegal activities linked to offshore gaming operations.
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