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King’s Head of AI: How AI Will Change Gaming in 2024

Predictions from the head of AI/ML at King, the maker of Candy Crush, Farm Heroes and other popular digital games

Deborah Yao

December 26, 2023

3 Min Read
Illustration of candy
King

Before ChatGPT became a household name, AI had long been making strides in gaming.

In 2024, AI will play a major role in further shaping the future of the industry, significantly enhancing the way games are developed and how users interact with games, according to Luka Crnkovic-Friis, Head of AI and ML at King, the maker of Candy Crush, Farm Heroes, Pet Rescue and other popular digital games.

Here are the trends he sees continuing to shape gaming in 2024.

Supercharging more personalized gaming experiences

AI will be able to access and analyze next level insights on how players are interacting with games. Greater access to this technology means we are likely to see personalized gaming journeys become more mainstream in 2024, with game developers able to dynamically adapt gameplay to create more immersive and tailored experiences for every player, from adapting difficulty levels to creating new storyline choices.

At King, games such as Candy Crush, which is now 10 years old, have been driven by data from the start. Our use of AI started not long after and we are constantly looking for ways to utilize this technology to surprise and delight our players.

The generative AI of today has the potential to take this to a new level. We know each player has a slightly different way of enjoying our games – some are mellow and mindful players, others are competitive and social. We want to give them experiences that are the most fun for them – whether that is providing Candy Crush levels that help them to progress through the game or a side quest that allows them to connect with others in the community. 

Advances in AI will open up more opportunities for game developers to deliver value and unique experiences to their players, and we are looking forward to delivering that to our players.

Greater real-time adaptation

Not only will AI be able to process far more data than has previously been possible, but it will also do this at much greater speed than we have experienced in the past. For those working in live games, it means we are likely to see more examples of game play adapting in real time. For example, if a player is finding a game too challenging or too easy, AI can help to adapt opponent strength or puzzle complexity to find the optimum challenge. Non-player characters (NPCs) will also become more sophisticated, with an ability to intelligently adapt to a player's actions or the game's context, for example, adjusting dialogue or learning from a player's strategy or tactics.

AI as game developers’ sidekick

2023 will be remembered as the year AI went mainstream, with companies taking a test-and-learn approach. Next year, we will see game developers increasingly embed AI as part of their everyday work as they become more confident in its use cases and benefits.

For our business, we see huge potential in its ability to optimize and secure our software development processes as well as enhancing the productivity of our teams by expediting more mundane tasks. Our teams are already using Co-Pilot software to suggest code for improvements and solutions. AI is also used to simulate the behavior of hundreds of millions of players, supporting our level designers to test the quality and difficulty of our levels, and giving them more time to hone creative aspects of the game.

Putting ethics at the heart of AI experimentation

The ethics and regulation of AI will be under even greater scrutiny in 2024. Game developers will need to balance experimentation with responsible implementation and appropriate transparency – navigating a range of complex challenges from intellectual property rights to trustworthiness, bias, security and more.

That is why at King we have the AI Ethics Committee, made up of a diverse set of employees, to help guide our approach to AI, as well as a Centre of Excellence, responsible for raising awareness of AI potential across King and training teams on best practice. As we move into 2024, we will continue to evolve and advance this approach, applying learnings as we gain new insights.

About the Author(s)

Deborah Yao

Editor

Deborah Yao runs the day-to-day operations of AI Business. She is a Stanford grad who has worked at Amazon, Wharton School and Associated Press.

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