Mobile gaming doesn’t generate nearly as much hype as console and PC gaming. There are rarely any big launch events for new titles and most mobile gaming enthusiasts stop short of calling themselves ‘gamers’. But hype or no hype, mobile gaming has still emerged as the single largest segment (estimated at 45 percent) in the global gaming industry analysis of 2019. According to recent surveys, Smartphone gaming alone is expected to generate $54.9 billion this year.
A lot of people are calling mobile gaming the next big thing. That’s a lie. Mobile gaming is already a giant today. It’s set to grow to epic proportions in future! One of the biggest factors in its growth is the increased involvement of AI (artificial intelligence) in the game development process.
A.I. in mobile games
Your opponent in a chess match vs computer, the ghosts in Pac-Man, the sentient mushrooms or goombas in Super Mario Run – it’s all AI, software pretending to be human while replacing humans in the act of creating fantastic virtual worlds for gaming.
The big reason consoles and PC games offer better move sets and overall superior gameplay experience than mobile devices is that they’ve traditionally been more powerful and dedicated to the purpose of gaming than mobile devices. New age smartphones, game streaming, and 5G have opened the doors for AI to enter the mobile gaming arena in a much greater capacity.
How A.I. is changing the mobile game development process
There are many reasons why AI (artificial intelligence) technologies are transforming mobile app industries. Here we are giving you some of these reasons why?
Procedural content generation (PCG) is a collective term for game design elements such as creating storylines, levels, music, characters and their looks, weapons, etc. The world’s top mobile game developers rely on experienced developers and talented artists for PCG.
AI has the ability to effectively handle the tasks of human developers and designers, choose the ideal mobile game development tools for every task. This is allowing game development companies to reduce the workload of human employees and work with smaller staffs, reducing the net cost of game development in the process.
The use of AI algorithms for time-consuming tasks can reduce the errors and the overall time taken for task completion in a big way. With the increased involvement of AI, developers can expect to create new games in shorter time spans, at lower budgets. For the same reason, Indie and small-scale game development companies are set to become bigger players on the mobile game development scene in the near future.
Different people have different skills at playing a game. While most games allow players to choose difficulty levels they would be comfortable playing at, AI can revolutionize this process.
Mobile game developers are attempting to use AI to make in-game rules more malleable. AI would be able to study the player’s likes, dislikes and skill level, alter the difficulty according to individual player and deliver a more personalized gaming experience.
Another way that AI can improve players’ engagement and satisfaction is through automated game redesigns that allow the in-game environment to change continuously. Players can play the same game again and again and encounter fresh surroundings and varying story lines every time.
Right now, NPCs (non-player characters) are the easiest to identify gameplay applications of AI. These are mostly friendly characters that players can team up with or interact with to gather information and progress in the game.
NPCs of the old usually had limited, often just a yes/no responses to the player’s inquiries. Modern games’ NPCs have a much broader spectrum of responses, with AI saving and learning from the players’ in-game choices.
Developers are trying to go several steps further by creating completely self-learning characters. These self-learning characters will evolve much the same way the human-controlled avatars do over the course of the gameplay, even act as a fellow combatant in multi-player campaigns.
Mobile game enthusiasts are mostly casual players who don’t often go for in-app purchases. With AI studying and learning from players’ behavior and purchase history during the gameplay, identifying potential paying customers has become a lot easier. Game developers can better predict which customers are likely to become paying players. This allows them to alter their approach, put out better offers to these ‘more interested players’.
AI keeps a track of the players’ progress in past games, understands the genres, animation and gameplay types they’re attracted to. This allows mobile game developers to come up with better new game recommendations for the players.
The way I see it, a perfectly in-sync human-AI collaboration is imminent. We’re not far from the day when a game development team will sit down with nothing but a basic idea of a game and have AI contributing as much to the brainstorming session as any of the human team members.
And this goes beyond conceptualization – every step of game development, from artwork to music to game levels to testing, AI will present options for every human suggestion, supplement them with data based on recent and future trends and help make better, more likely to succeed decisions at every stage of game development!
Naiya Sharma is associated as a Content Manager with Apptunix – a Mobile Game Development Company. Her write-ups are usually based on technology, mobile apps, and mobile development platforms to help people utilize the mobile world in an efficient way. Along with writing, she also has a keen interest in managing social media marketing campaigns.