Nvidia’s AI May Transform the Video Game Experience

  • Nvidia debuted a new AI tool at Computex Taipei that targets the video game experience.
  • The tool could transform the way players interact with non-player characters.
  • This announcement arrives as the chipmaker’s stock is exploding.

One video game alone can have dozens — if not hundreds — of non-player characters, or NPCs. Controlled by a computer, these characters range from Tom Nook, who runs the village store in “Animal Crossing,” to Zelda, the princess of Hyrule and namesake of the Nintendo series.

Over the past few decades, the graphics and basic dialogue of these characters may have advanced, but the interactions can still feel static and scripted.

Chip-manufacturer Nvidia plans on using AI to change that.

On Monday, Jensen Huang, Nvidia’s CEO and cofounder, delivered a two-hour talk about the company’s future hardware and AI services to kick off Computex, the annual computer expo in Taipei.

Avatar Cloud Engine — or ACE — is a new custom AI service that can be deployed by game developers in order to make conversations and general interactions with NPCs feel more realistic. 

The core principles of ACE are related to real-time conversations and animated facial expressions.

ACE’s large language models allow NPCs to have backstories, personalities, and goals, enabling player interactions that fit into the context of the game, according to a press release

Additionally, ACE is equipped with technology that gives NPCs automatic speech recognition, meaning they can respond to a player’s speech patterns, according to Nvidia.  

These characters will also be able to generate facial expressions based on the audio inputs they receive, Nvidia said

Here’s the technology in action in a fictitious game called “Kairos”:

The video shows Jin, an NPC and the owner of a ramen shop, bearing a pained facial expression as he explains the rise in crime around his restaurant. 

What separates this brief interaction from encounters in other video games is the way Jin reacts and responds to the player.

“Although he is an NPC, Jin replies to natural language queries realistically and consistent with the narrative backstory — all with the help of generative AI,” Nvidia said in its press release.

Nvidia did not respond to Insider’s request for comment. 

The announcement of ACE arrives as Nvidia is exploding in value. In just one day last week, the Santa Clara-based company added more than $200 billion to its market cap, the biggest one-day market value gain in history.

Originally a company focused on computer graphics, Nvidia has been on the forefront of generative AI as ChatGPT is powered by the company’s H-100 graphic processor unit, or GPU.  This chip allows for conversational AI to be functional by speeding up the capacity of a chatbot as it constructs responses based on text prompts. 

During his keynote at Computex, Huang also touched on AI serving as a bridge for the digital divide. He said that with modern AI tools, anyone can be a programmer.

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