Xbox’s Matt Booty asked Microsoft to develop AI bot quality assurance testers for video games.
The Head of Xbox Game Studios, Matt Booty, has said that he “dreams” of employing artificial intelligence (AI) to QA test video games in the future. He is so passionate about this idea that he has even requested Microsoft to assist him in figuring out how to achieve it.The Head of Xbox Game Studios, Matt Booty, has said that he “dreams” of employing artificial intelligence (AI) to QA test video games in the future. He is so passionate about this idea that he has even requested Microsoft to assist him in figuring out how to achieve it.
Given the requirements of contemporary games, Booty had a lot to say about the idea of AI-based quality assurance testing, but his remarks are sure to stir up debate given that QA has historically been an underpaid and underappreciated component of game development. Recently, unionisation has emerged at some studios as a result of this mistreatment, including some that Microsoft is about to acquire.
According to Booty via VGC, the QA issue and proposed AI repair are as follows:
“Some of our existing procedures have not really kept up with the speed at which we can produce material. The testing is one among them.”
You think about a game. One of the greatest distinctions between a game and something like a movie is that if you come in and suggest tightening up the conclusion or cutting a scene when we’re working on a movie, it often doesn’t affect the beginning of the film.
“ But when a game is ready to go live, a designer can say, “I’ve got this one small feature, I’ll just alter the colour of this one thing,” and then something gets blown up and the first ten minutes of the game are no longer playable. As a result, every time something new is incorporated into a large game, the entire game must be tested from front to back and side to side.
“I constantly ask the AI experts for help when I run into them: “Help me figure out how to utilise an AI bot to go test a game.” There is a lot of AI and machine learning going on right now, and people are using it to make all these graphics. ‘
” Because it would be revolutionary to be able to launch 10,000 cloud-based instances of a game, resulting in 10,000 copies of the game running, deploy an AI bot to evaluate the game all night, and then receive a report the next morning.”
Booty is correct that testing in games is extremely difficult, and what we frequently observe is that many major releases launch full of bugs. This isn’t necessarily because someone didn’t do their job properly; rather, it’s because millions of players will “test” the game’s final version more in the first few hours and days than the entire QA team could in months or even years. As a result, there have been some awkward circumstances, such as discussions concerning whether CDPR actually blamed testers for missing Cyberpunk 2077 issues prior to launch. However, the scale issue is actual.
Is AI the answer, though? That will undoubtedly spark much more debate. The human side of the debate would involve convincing studios to spend money on more quality assurance testers, pay them more, and limit their hours so they are more productive at work and better able to detect flaws. But in this case, it looks like Booty is advocating automation, and if you do invest in a good AI QA testing system, that seems to have the potential to eliminate a sizable portion of the industry’s workforce. Not that something like truly exists in a significant way as of now.
However, I am aware that given the predicament of existing QA employees, many people may find Booty’s words about “my dream” to be somewhat troubling. It might not be the ideal comparison to use here to compare AI image generation, as programmes like Midjourney are currently upsetting many human artists.
Booty’s initial comment is also rather emphatic about where he’d like to see the industry head, if feasible. We’ll see whether he clarifies his views, which he seems sure to do given the discussion this has sparked.