Regular visitors to this site will know all too well how the world of technology is always pushing forward, with fresh innovations emerging to tackle a whole host of problems.
One area where new developments seem to have an impact on an almost weekly basis is the video gaming industry, and this month there have been some intriguing news related to arguably one of the biggest titles in the world – which is PUBG.
A global phenomenon
Some hugely successful video games have been released in the last few years and PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds (PUBG) undoubtedly deserves to be recognised as one of them. The battle royale-style title has become a global phenomenon, with Variety reporting back in 2018 on how it had more than 400 million players worldwide across all platforms.
The heist of the century! 💵
— PUBG MOBILE (@PUBGMOBILE) July 22, 2020
The mobile version of the game – known simply as PUBG Mobile, has enjoyed a particularly huge amount of success. Sensor Tower Store Intelligence estimates released at the start of July revealed that it had doubled its lifetime revenue in around seven months, to reach a figure of more than $3 billion. It was also revealed that global spending linked to the title in the first six months of this year was around four times greater than the rival mobile shooter Garena Free Fire.
However, while it has clearly been performing very well, the title has also faced issues with people attempting to cheat by violating its end-user license agreement. Now, a new announcement has highlighted how the team behind the game are taking some fascinating steps to tackle the problem.
Safety Observation Period
In a new press release published on Gamasutra.com, Tencent Games has revealed that developers working on PUBG Mobile are now using artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning in a bid to ensure that fairness remains a fundamental element within the title.
The innovations are being utilised as part of the introduction of a Safety Observation Period, with AI working to automatically identify any player who is seeking to cheat or gain an unfair advantage over others. If specific behaviours are detected, players will be transferred from the matching queue within PUBG Mobile and will instead have to play under observation. During that time, the players will not be matched with those who are not under observation, while they will also not get any earnings or statistics from the matches they play.
In the statement, the PUBG Mobile team said it was “fully committed” to ensuring that the title offers a quality gaming experience, while it wanted users to be treated both equally and fairly.
AI’s relationship with gaming
The PUBG Mobile team’s decision to make use of AI is certainly an intriguing step. After all, the sophistication and capabilities of such systems have really gone up a notch in recent decades, with them having a particularly significant impact on the world of gaming.
As Techopedia details, it could be said that AI actually has a long history in gaming, with many titles through the years featuring non-human opponents for players to square off against. While some experts might argue whether such developments represent AI in the truest sense, the article does add that techniques from the field have been used to create tougher opponents. It also explains how perhaps one of the most famous examples of AI in pop culture actually relates to an offline game, with Deep Blue taking on Garry Kasparov in chess in the 1990s.
Fast forward to the present day and the news on PUBG Mobile is far from the only example of AI being embraced in the video gaming world at the moment. For instance, back in May, we reported on how researchers at NVIDIA had reverse-engineered a version of PAC-MAN through the use of the company’s GameGAN AI model. The move was made in celebration of the arcade classic’s 40th anniversary.
A presence in other areas
Of course, the impact of AI is being felt in a number of other areas as well. Many of us are now used to having access to such technology in our own homes, with smart speakers like the Amazon Echo making use of the Alexa system. As Amazon explains in an Alexa Skills Kit article on conversational AI, being able to interact with such platforms in the way we do makes a whole host of applications more accessible.
It could also be suggested that AI is having an impact in the worlds of finance and trading, with forex robots perhaps being an example of the concept. As this guide to the best forex robots outlines, such systems can perform a range of actions, including initiating trades and managing positions, without human input, having learnt from previous actions and patterns.
But what else could we see AI doing in the very near future? Well, in an article for Vogue published this month, Canadian model and futurist Sinead Bovell discussed how AI could have an impact on her line of work, with organisations like DataGrid using machine learning in a way that could boost the use of digital models. For example, she explained how the technology could mean computer-generated models are able to do a range of actions, including a number of posing options. Elsewhere, another innovation creating plenty of buzz is OpenAI’s GPT-3, with MIT Technology Review explaining how the language model had created a range of content from short stories to songs and technical manuals.
Reflecting wider trends
Ultimately, it is fascinating to see how AI is having an impact on so many different areas of our lives, and it could be said that PUBG Mobile is simply reflecting wider trends by making use of it.
All eyes will be on whether the new AI-infused system does the trick when it comes to helping the game in its efforts to tackle the issue of cheating, while we can’t wait to see where AI’s impact is felt next.