AI in game development grows despite concerns

Ryan Daws is a senior editor at TechForge Media, with a seasoned background spanning over a decade in tech journalism. His expertise lies in identifying the latest technological trends, dissecting complex topics, and weaving compelling narratives around the most cutting-edge developments. His articles and interviews with leading industry figures have gained him recognition as a key influencer by organisations such as Onalytica. Publications under his stewardship have since gained recognition from leading analyst houses like Forrester for their performance. Find him on X (@gadget_ry) or Mastodon (

A growing number of game development studios are embracing AI to streamline their processes, according to a new industry report from Unity.

The report finds that 62 percent of studios now utilise AI tools at some stage of development. The top use cases include improving character animations, code writing assistance, art and level generation, narrative design, and automated playtesting:

Credit: Unity

68 percent leverage AI specifically to accelerate prototyping. World building is another major application area, used by 56 percent of AI adopters, with nearly two-thirds employing AI to develop non-player characters (NPCs) to populate game worlds. This aligns with a separate report from Inworld – which formed a partnership with Xbox last year – indicating three out of four developers are “excited” about AI-powered NPCs.

“I am experimenting with AI. There are many disciplines that go into making a game, and I am trying to understand how each and every one of them can benefit from it, like tools that can aid prototyping and content generation, level design, and narrative,” says Fabio Franconeri, Head of Games Engineering at SYBO.

“I think there’s a whole universe that goes into workflows and analysis of data and analytics, so there’s so much that can be done with AI that can boost productivity at every level.”

Despite added complexity and costs, an increasing number of studios are also investing in multiplatform and multiplayer development to broaden their reach and enhance player engagement. The number of multiplatform games has surged by 40 percent since 2021, with even small studios embracing the strategy to broaden accessibility.

Multiplayer experiences remain highly popular too; multiplayer gaming revenue grew by $2.3 billion in 2023, a 10 percent increase. Another related trend is more games with live operations—frequently updated content and events aimed at driving engagement and motivating “battle pass” subscriptions.

“The community is the life blood of evergreen games. It’s something that you need to cultivate and encourage,” said Murari Vasudevan, Technical Director at SYBO. “Part of doing that is ensuring they have regular fresh content. For Subway Surfers, we have a three-week content update cycle that works really well for us.”

Studios are sustaining revenue through diverse monetisation like in-app advertising, which rose 26.7 percent year-over-year. Games utilising rewarded videos and offer walls have seen significant boosts in Day 7 and Day 30 retention rates, underscoring varied ad strategies’ effectiveness in enhancing monetisation and player retention.

While average time to launch has increased from 218 days in 2022 to 304 days currently, 71 percent of Unity’s respondents said AI improved delivery and operations, potentially reducing those timelines. However, barriers remain: 43 percent of hesitant developers cited lack of time, while 24 percent felt under-skilled.

As capabilities advance and tools become more accessible, the game industry’s AI adoption is expected to see further growth—despite lingering apprehension around added costs, complexity, and ethical concerns.

You can find a full copy of Unity’s report here.

(Photo by Igor Omilaev)

See also: Discord announces SDK for in-app experiences

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