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John Riccitello is excited enough about AI to sit down with Aldora.io’s Joost van Dreunen to talk about it at the GamesBeat Summit. Riccitiello’s history of precision betting on technology is enough to make you want to pay attention.
“I remember the last time I was so excited about the future when the technology came out,” Riccitello said. “It was the Internet. I thought the internet was going to be a really big thing. I’ll tell you right now that I’m very excited about AI.”
During his time at Electronic Arts, Riccitello was convinced that the Dreamcast had no legs. He was right. Recently, he didn’t see a bright future in things like Web3, blockchain, or the Metaverse that others have painted. He said he could see the individual pieces, but didn’t believe they fit quite right to lead to any kind of industrial sea change.
“This doesn’t make me incredibly smart,” Riccitello said. “That makes me a student of history. I could see that the ingredients were missing.”
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History student or not, Riccitello was right. A lot. So the fact that he’s excited about AI is really remarkable. Those other things. They will eventually find their feet. Artificial intelligence, at least in Riccitello’s eyes, is something that could change the world.
It also shows in his work at Unity. Despite multiple rounds of layoffs, Unity is turning a profit as a public company and using AI to do so. Riccitiello sees a huge use case for AI. He believes AI will become a huge part of content creation in general.
He also believes that artificial intelligence will absolutely massively expand the gaming industry, just as the Internet did and mobile gaming did.
Unity’s Project Barracuda
Unity is already working on it. Unity’s Project Barracuda has been more than half a decade in the making. The big problem with generative AI right now, at least as a customer, is just that. You must be a customer. It’s all a bit expensive, which is a huge barrier to entry.
Project Barracuda tries to solve this by loading everything directly onto your devices. If everything happens locally, you don’t need to pay for the service. The runtime that Project Barracuda uses is already massively popular; it’s on more than 4 billion devices worldwide, according to Riccitiello.
It is this, as well as other types of generative AI, that will completely change and reshape the landscape of the gaming industry. Despite Richitiello’s high hopes, he is clear about one thing. No matter how useful AI is at the moment, it is no substitute for real human effort.
“Let’s be clear,” Riccitello said. “No one produces final code in one shot. Or, frankly, the art it deserves. It still takes a lot of repetition.”
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