Taking a closer look at Unity’s aggressive AI strategy and the broader implications on the battle for supremacy among game engine makers.
In the rush to come to grips with the generative AI hype cycle capturing the attention of both the venture and public markets, most large gaming companies have been hesitant to take a stance. While many have taken a wait-and-see approach, and some have opted to tap the brakes on the use of AI, one company has stood out for its early embrace of these new technologies: Unity Software.
The game engine maker drew headlines recently when it announced a series of updates aimed at putting generative AI tools in the hands of creators. These updates can be roughly bucketed into the following three initiatives:
- Unity Sentis: a service that allows developers to utilize Unity Runtime to deliver on-device AI model inference and deploy neural networks without concern for cloud computing costs or latency.
- Unity Muse: a suite of tools aimed at accelerating creation of real-time 3D content, the first of which is called Muse Chat, a natural language prompting tool designed to reduce troubleshooting and increase access to information.
- AI Marketplace: a dedicated section of the Unity Asset Store that “features curated solutions to accelerate AI-driven game development and gameplay enhancements.” Prominent examples include offerings from Inworld AI, Layer, and Modl.ai, among many others.
In the company’s Q1 earnings report earlier this year, Unity used these initiatives to put the AI narrative front and center for investors and customers alike. The Q1 Shareholder Letter dedicated an entire section to the topic, entitled “Gen-AI: Tailwind to Unity,” in which the company outlined how AI tools underpinned every part of its business. This included all three of the initiatives above, as well as the now fully acquired ironSource, which Unity said would transition its ads network “to the more advanced Unity ML/AI model,” and its access to vast swathes of proprietary model training data.
Despite the company’s forceful statements and continued emphasis that…
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The snippet above is a preview of an article initially published on August 10, 2023 for Naavik Digest, an excellent newsletter and source of games industry analysis where you can read more of my writing, along with that of a host of other incredibly talented contributors.
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