In a Q&A with investors on July 1st, 2024, President of Nintendo Shuntaro Furukawa expressed hesitation around the use of generative AI in the making of first-party Nintendo games. In response to a question regarding Nintendo’s potential AI initiatives, Furukawa said:

“In the game industry, AI-like technologies have long been used — for example, to control the movements of opponent characters — so I believe that game development and AI technology have always had a close relationship. Generative AI, which is becoming a big topic recently, can be used in creative ways, but we recognize that it may also raise issues with intellectual property rights. We have decades of know-how in creating the best gaming experiences for our players. While we are open to utilizing technological developments, we will work to continue delivering value that is unique to Nintendo and cannot be created by technology alone.”

To sum up, Furukawa acknowledges that AI can be a useful tool in game development, but suggests that if Nintendo does decide to utilize generative AI, the driving force behind the creativity in its games will remain the developers themselves. Nintendo also appears to be committed to the ethical use of gen-AI with its focus on respecting others’ intellectual property rights (which comes as no surprise given Nintendo’s track record as a zealous protector of its own IP).

Unlike other developers that have more willingly embraced AI– like Ubisoft which announced that it’s developing its own proprietary generative AI tools– Nintendo appears to be taking a more cautious approach. Still, I wouldn’t be surprised if Nintendo was already using generative AI to aid the development process in small ways nor if it were to develop an in-house gen-AI tool trained on only Nintendo owned data to minimize infringement risks.

While quality and ethics are (hopefully) top of mind for most game developers navigating the use of generative AI, it inspires confidence knowing that Nintendo intends to ensure that even in an ever-changing technological landscape its games will remain uniquely Nintendo.

How do you feel about Furukawa’s statement? Would you be concerned if Nintendo more broadly incorporated gen-AI into its business practices? Let us know in the comments!

Source: Nintendo (via Game World Observer)

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