Head of Xbox Game Studios on the Benefits of AI Game Testing

There are few industries that haven’t been touched by AI in one way or another, if any. Then there are some that have had AI as a part of them all along, such as gaming. Nevertheless, AI has taken greedy strides in the past 18 months, and uses for the new power it wields are numerous. One potential power has been outlined by the Head of Xbox Game Studios, Matt Booty, at PAX last year: AI game testing.

The Benefits of AI Game Testing

The Head of Xbox Game Studios, Matt Booty, last year calling for AI game testing will evoke a knee-jerk response in many. Some of these responses will be centered around AI not being able to do as good a job as humans, and some will be on AI taking human jobs. Don’t let that sensationalist reaction guide you here.

If you watch the discussion at PAX 2022, which I have linked above (it will open at the right time, if it doesn’t, it’s 1 hour and 2 minutes), you will hear Booty lay out a way that AI can revolutionize game development. But, would that be a positive move?

What I say when I bump into these AI folks is ‘help me figure out how to use an AI bot to test a game.’ Because I would love to setup 10,000 instances of the game in the cloud […] deploy an AI bot to spend all night testing that game, and in the morning I get a report. That would be, you know, transformational.

— Matt Booty, Head of Xbox Games Studio at PAX West 2022

On the first charge of being less effective than a human, I would say that if this isn’t already incorrect in most regards, it soon will be. The old example of infinite monkeys on typewriters creating the complete works of Shakespeare is true because “infinite” does the heavy lifting. It’s similar here too; thousands of bots running simultaneously will be extraordinarily thorough by force.

On the second charge of replacing human jobs, it’s possible, but for the time being, unlikely. Not only will humans be able to check for less logical issues, but they can asses areas out of the purview of QA, such as “fun”. It is being said in all areas AI touches, but it’s likely that most people’s jobs are not under threat from AI at the moment, but they may be under threat from humans effectively leveraging AI.

What do you make of AI’s role in game development? Share your thoughts with us on Twitter.

Robert Baggs
Robert Baggs
Full-time professional crypto writer and Editor of Token Gamer. Co-host of the Mint One Podcast. Obsessed with MMOs. London based. Primary holdings: WAXP, ENJ, & BTC. Secondary holdings: ETH, GALA, & MATIC

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