[Courtesy of Naver Cloud]
South Korean game majors turned to G-STAR, a global game exhibition that was held in the maritime city of Busan last week, to showcase their latest releases and next-generation information technology (IT) solutions.
During the four-day gaming fair that ended on Sunday, game publishers scrambled to attract visitors for their new releases at the business-to-customer exhibition hall. Generative AI solutions also received explosive attention in the business-to-business exhibition hall.
Naver Cloud Corp.’s AI booth gained an enthusiastic response, with hundreds of industry professionals visiting for three days from the opening until Saturday.
At its booth, Naver Cloud unveiled its custom AI development tool, CLOVA Studio, which can be used for AI-based game character personality settings, story creation support, and more, as reported by the company. Naver Cloud also signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) on AI collaboration with Smilegate Entertainment Inc.
Speaking as a keynote speaker during the gaming fair, Ha Jung-woo, the head of Naver’s AI Innovation Center, highlighted what AI can do in the video game-making process.
“AI can be used from during the initial work on game character illustrations or background music all the way to the use of AI players in role-playing games,” Ha said, commenting on the current broad usage of generative AI in overall video game development.
One unnamed industry insider also commented on the growing importance of AI technologies in the industry amid increasing competition and genre generalization, along with the input of increased costs and resources for top-notch games.
“In the future, the use of AI or other next-generation technologies that can enhance productivity is likely to determine the competitiveness of the industry,” the insider said.
Major game makers have already embarked on building their own AI.
In August, NCSoft Corp. unveiled VARCO, a self-developed large language model.
The development of an internal generative AI solution is the first of its kind among domestic game companies. Thanks to an AI voice solution similar to screenplays, the company reduced the recording time for voice actors from around 40 hours to about 6 hours. Its goal is to reach a level where recording is not needed in the future.
“Using AI will help us not only increase productivity in the development process but also enable the creation of unique features for each game that hasn’t been realizable due to time or cost constraints,” said Lee Yeon-soo, head of the Natural Language Processing Center at NCSoft, adding its plan to create a new game pipeline based on generative AI in the future.
Nexon Games Co. is also developing AI game broadcasting services through its AI research lab while Netmarble Corp. and Krafton Inc. are promoting AI adoption through their respective AI centers and deep learning divisions.
Meanwhile, game makers have enthusiastically promoted their new releases to gauge market reactions during this year’s gaming fair, shifting from their previous stance that prioritized the security of new releases.
A diversification of genres among new releases was also noticeable during the fair, with only 4 among 19 new titles presented by major game makers being massively multiplayer online role-playing games (MMORPGs), and a significant increase in console platform games.
The Korean game industry has been criticized for being heavily focused on MMORPGs, and console games were fairly rarely seen.
NCSoft, the largest participant at G-STAR with 200 booths this year, presented seven new titles, including a route shooter genre, “LLL,” and a puzzle game, “Puzzle Up Amitoyi.”
Another noticeable trend during this year’s fair was the emergence of the subculture genre as a mainstream trend. Netmarble curated two out of three new lineup titles, including “The Seven Deadly Sins: Origin,” as subculture works.
The fair organizing committee held the “G-STAR Subculture Game Festival” for the first time on the sideline in response to the new trend.
This year’s G-STAR, the largest-ever, attracted more than 197,000 attendees.
By Song Kyung-eun, Hwang Soon-min, and Chang Iou-chung
[ⓒ Pulse by Maeil Business Newspaper & mk.co.kr, All rights reserved]