Meta Bets on Generative AI to Boost Metaverse Games

Meta intends to integrate more generative AI technology into games, specifically those utilizing virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR), and mixed reality. This move aims to revitalize the company’s struggling metaverse strategy.

A job listing reveals that Meta is seeking to explore and develop “innovative consumer experiences” driven by generative AI. These experiences would involve novel gameplay mechanics, such as games that offer “unique experiences with each playthrough” and follow “unpredictable paths.” Additionally, the company plans to develop or collaborate with third-party creators on generative AI-powered tools to “enhance workflow efficiency and reduce time-to-market” for game development.

The primary focus will be on Horizon, Meta’s suite of metaverse games, applications, and creative resources. However, there is potential for expansion into games and experiences on “non-Meta” platforms, including smartphones and PCs.

The job listing reads, “This is a nascent area but has the potential to create new experiences that are not even possible to exist today. The innovation in this space could have a dramatic effect on the ecosystem as it should increase efficiency and allow considerably more content to be created.”

Meta declined to comment on the matter.

The new initiatives come at a time when Meta’s Reality Labs, the division overseeing the company’s various metaverse endeavors, including the Meta Quest headset, has yet to produce a breakthrough product. Despite selling tens of millions of Quest units, Meta has struggled to attract users to its Horizon mixed reality platform and mitigate billions of dollars in operating losses.

Meta has recently shifted its metaverse platform strategy, allowing third-party headset manufacturers to license certain software-based features of the Quest, such as hand and body tracking. Concurrently, Meta has increased investments in metaverse game projects, reportedly driven by Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s newfound personal interest in developing gaming experiences for Quest headsets.

Meta has previously expressed interest in incorporating generative AI into metaverse experiences.

In 2022, Mark Zuckerberg showcased a prototype called Builder Bot, which enabled users to generate virtual world components by describing them with simple prompts, such as “Let’s go to the beach.” Additionally, in a blog post last year, Meta CTO and Reality Labs head Andrew Bosworth highlighted the potential of generative AI tools to “level the playing field” in creating content for the metaverse.

Meta’s Builder Bot tool

Meta’s Builder Bot tool was shown off during the company’s 2022 Inside the Lab event.

He wrote, “Just like Instagram helped anyone be a creator, [these generative AI tools] won’t just boost the power of individual creators. They’ll also act as a force multiplier for developers, giving small teams the horsepower of larger studios and accelerating innovation across the board.”

The game development industry has started to incorporate generative AI technology, with companies like Inworld and Artificial Agency utilizing it to create more immersive game dialogues and storylines. Several platforms now offer AI-powered tools for generating game art assets and character voices, which has raised concerns among some game developers who worry about the impact on their profession.

Earlier this year, Meta announced plans to invest billions in generative AI and established a new team focused on developing generative AI products, including AI characters and advertisements. In April, Mark Zuckerberg cautioned that it may take “years” for the company to generate revenue from generative AI, indicating that these investments will not immediately reverse Reality Labs’ financial struggles.