NCSOFT Unveils ‘VARCO’: South Korea’s AI Language Model Revolutionizing Game Development

NCSOFT is unambiguously one of the greatest game developers and publishers of all time. They are artisans of MMORPGs and RPGs, having created the likes of Guild Wars, Lineage, Blade & Soul, and many more. What makes NCSOFT such a formidable presence in gaming is complex, but their pioneering approach is somewhere near the top of the list.

We are currently at the start of a major technological revolution in the games industry, with several technologies (I would argue at least three) changing the state of play. One of these, unsurprisingly, is AI. Many companies are on the hunt to create key uses of AI in gaming, with the likes of Inworld AI raising tens of millions of dollars to do just that. However, we have seen modern versions of AI, such as ChatGPT, already integrated into games and to great effect; our recent article on AI Dungeon is a great use-case.

Today, the global gaming magnate revealed VARCO, its trailblazing AI language model. This isn’t just a leap for NCSOFT; it’s a monumental stride for Korea’s tech ecosystem.

The Power and Promise of VARCO

Standing tall as the maiden language model from a Korean gaming enterprise, VARCO encapsulates NCSOFT’s commitment to innovation and the language model is comparable in size to OpenAI’s ChatGPT. The name, a blend of “Via AI, Realize your Creativity and Originality”, showcases the brand’s vision: merging artificial intelligence with human creativity.

NCSOFT’s VARCO isn’t just one model but an ensemble. Divided into four distinct categories – Foundation, Prompt, Dialogue, and Generative – each VARCO model’s prowess is determined by its parameter size. The company has rolled out small to medium-sized models for the Korean language, ensuring high-quality data training for unparalleled performance.

Global Accessibility With a Touch of AWS

In a groundbreaking move, NCSOFT has paired with Amazon SageMaker JumpStart, ensuring global users access VARCO through this machine learning hub. This collaboration signifies NCSOFT’s ambition to leave no stone unturned in sharing VARCO’s potential.

VARCO Studio: A Trinity of AI Services

VARCO is not just about words; it’s a full-fledged creative suite. VARCO Studio is a trio of generative AI services:

  1. VARCO Art – A text-to-image generator
  2. VARCO Text – A text generation and management tool
  3. VARCO Human – Digital human creation and management

Primarily aimed at redefining game design and art, VARCO Studio is NCSOFT’s answer to the future of game development.

The Expansive VARCO Vision

The company doesn’t plan to stop here. With a Korean-English bilingual model on the horizon, NCSOFT aims to launch diverse language models of varying sizes and categories. Furthermore, the company is setting its sights on harnessing VARCO LLM for a myriad of AI projects, from digital humans to conversational language models.

, proudly stated, “VARCO demonstrates the highest level of performance among other Korean models of similar sizes available to date.” He envisions leveraging VARCO to “offer new original value and experiences in various domains as well as game content development.”

— Jehee Lee, Chief Research Officer at NCSOFT

Conclusion

With nearly a billion dollars invested in R&D between 2020 and 2022 and a staggering 71% of its workforce in R&D roles, NCSOFT’s dedication to pushing the boundaries of tech is clear. VARCO is a testament to this dedication and the company’s position at the forefront of global gaming and tech innovation. It is also another feather in the cap for Asia which is leading the way with emerging gaming technologies.

I just hope this AI is part of a secret next-gen project for Guild Wars 3!

For those eager to see VARCO Studio in action, click here.

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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