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Unity aims to open generative AI marketplace for video game developers

By Anna Tong

Unity Software Inc, producer of the eponymous video game development environment, aims to open a marketplace for generative artificial intelligence (AI) software, Chief Executive John Riccitiello told Reuters.

Game developers routinely spend significant resources creating assets such as characters and sound effects. In future, developers could visit Unity's marketplace, select an AI product such as an artwork generator, and be able to use it to instantly create content, Riccitiello said.

Generative AI has become a hot topic since OpenAI's November launch of ChatGPT, a chatbot which gives unusually human-like responses to user questions, and which can even generate original computer code on request. Major software firms have since announced a flurry of generative AI projects to capitalize on what is widely seen as game-changing technology.

Generative AI could allow video games, for example, to offer personalized scenarios based on player input, Riccitiello said, without giving a time frame for when the marketplace will open.

"In every video game in history, the dialogue was written by somebody," Riccitiello said in an interview on Tuesday. "But now what you can do with (generative AI) is give these characters motivation, personality, and objectives and then they can spawn dialogue that doesn't require a writer."

On Wednesday, Unity launched a program for developers to gain early access to the San Francisco-based company's future AI offerings.

Generative AI software that have been available for some time include image creators DALL-E and Stable Diffusion, while newer products include software that create videos and video game content based on text prompts.

A teaser video from Unity showed such software could allow developers to type text such as "add two seconds of thunder" or "make them flying alien mushrooms" and have the video game's assets or code auto-generated, rather than needing to design from scratch.

(Reporting by Anna Tong; Editing by Christopher Cushing)