In a bid to inject vitality into the metaverse, Decentraland, an Ethereum-based platform, has joined forces with AI startup Inworld to introduce AI-powered non-player characters (NPCs) to its ecosystem. This pioneering collaboration seeks to infuse the gaming experience with a layer of interactivity and narrative complexity.
NPCs with Unique Personalities
Within Decentraland's realm, three distinctive NPCs have already made their entrance at the Genesis Plaza. Among them, Simone the Robot provides insights about the metaverse, the meme-inspired Doge brings playfulness to the environment, and Aisha, a 23-year-old gaming streamer and former skateboarder, contributes with a comprehensive backstory and her own perspective.
In addition to these pre-existing characters, creators are empowered to shape their own NPC personalities. Inworld, which recently secured $50 million in funding at a $500 million valuation, facilitates the design of NPCs complete with individual histories, motivations, and contextual insights. "It's ChatGPT on steroids," noted Jardi, highlighting the extensive customization possibilities, including aspects such as voice and dialogue style.
Elevating Immersion in Decentraland
The emphasis on AI stems from its ability to heighten player immersion. For example, art galleries in Decentraland can feature NPCs well-versed in art history, offering in-depth explanations about specific artworks. Jardi emphasized that this elevated level of interactivity is "much more compelling" and introduces a deeper, more nuanced form of communication.
Furthermore, these AI-driven characters can converse in various languages, addressing the primarily English-centric nature of Decentraland. Jardi envisions the potential for "personalized localized experiences."
The integration of AI extends beyond the external facade of the game. Internally, the Decentraland Foundation leverages OpenAI's ChatGPT to summarize extensive development documents, ensuring a holistic view for the team. They also harness generative AI for concept art, audio, animation, and potentially for generating content like 3D models.
However, alongside AI's potential, Jardi acknowledged concerns about its capacity to produce subpar or unoriginal content, particularly considering criticisms labeling generative AI as "plagiarism machines." Addressing the societal implications of AI, Jardi emphasized that while he sees it replacing certain tasks, it won't replace people entirely.
Investing in AI Advancements
Through a strategic partnership with Hanson Robotics, Decentraland has introduced SophiaVerse, a gamified world designed to educate players about AI. Furthermore, in October, Decentraland will host the AI World Fair, an event showcasing AI experts and unveiling novel AI capabilities within the gaming environment.