The gaming industry is predicted to be worth more than $115bn by the end of 2018, rising to a value of almost $138.5bn in 2021, according to Statista. Its vast and snowballing success as an industry is down to its developers' enthusiasm for embracing the latest technologies and innovations. In fact, often, the gaming industry has paved the way for other industries, for example, its use of virtual reality. Currently, AI is the word on everyones' lips, with the potential to turn the whole industry on its head.
Founded in 2009, Yoozoo is a Chinese-based developer and publisher of mobile games, in particular massive multiplayer games that are played across the globe. According to its website, Yoozoo's platform is supported by 6 billion mobile devices worldwide.
Ahead of the AI & Predictive Analytics Summit in Singapore on October 10–11, Chi Keong Goh, AI technical director at Yoozoo Interactive sat down with Innovation Enterprise to discuss how gaming is responding to technological disruption, AI and what the future of the industry looks like.
Innovation Enterprise (IE): What technology has made the biggest change to your work in the last two years? How has it changed the way you work today?
Chi Keong Goh (CKG): It would be difficult to single out any technology, but I certainly can zoom into a single area, which is connectivity.
The ease of access we now have to information and people has had such a great impact on the world that there's been a fundamental change in how we think and do. The greater awareness of opportunities and what's happening around us and globally has led us to have greater expectations of others as well as of ourselves.
That's why there's a mindset shift toward customers' centricity. The availability of information to everyone has lowered the technological entry barrier in many domains. AI is a fantastic example of an area where you can now see brilliant startups popping up everywhere. You can clearly feel the sense of urgency and the mission for the tech giants to maintain their competitive edge. The timescales for research have also changed drastically over the years; now, it's no more than three months before you have a minimum viable product.
IE: What trends do you predict will most influence your industry in the next two years?
CKG: There is quite a few social drivers that will potentially change the gaming landscape. Gaming is becoming increasingly social and connecting people all over the world in ways that are beyond "just having fun". This is great but there is a dark side in the form of online trolls and predators.
For starters, I can definitely see the industry taking up more social responsibilities to protect gaming communities. Yoozoo is working with our research partners on this and has a system to manage trolls and predators which is currently going through trials and is showing promising results.
We can also expect the continued growth of eSports as a form of social event. I would not be surprised if it becomes the norm, just like catching a movie at the cinema.
IE: What can be done to ensure that AI technology avoids human bias?
CKG: This is definitely a big challenge and one that requires a coordinated effort. Giants in the field are taking this very seriously and the EU certainly believes that some governing principles, like they have with GDPR, are necessary.
Most people understand the seriousness of it, but it will take quite a lot of discipline and serious hard work to stay vigilant against this issue, starting right from data collection to development and from model training to model validation to eliminate undue bias. On the research end, opening up the black box will allow us to understand how decisions are made and will go a long way in catching out undesirable, biased decision making.
IE: What changes can we expect AI to make to the gaming industry in the next five years?
CKG: We can certainly expect more engaging and immersive gaming experience due to more realistic NPCs (non-player characters that are controlled by the game's AI, rather than by other gamers) and better game balance control.
AI is also changing the way we work. At Yoozoo, AI technologies enable us to empower our staff to gain greater value and help them enjoy a more fulfilling work experience, which translates into better games.
For example, we have freed valuable FTE through the automation of advertisement placements, deployment of customer service chatbots and first-level analytics of customer feedback. This is just the tip of the iceberg and five years is a long time.
Hear Chi Keong Goh, AI technical director at Yoozoo Interactive, will speak at Innovation Enterprise's AI & Predictive Analytics Summit in Singapore on October 10–11, 2018. View the full agenda and book tickets HERE.