Artificial intelligence

How can AI learn from video games?

Video games

The journey of artificial intelligence (AI) and video games is one of collaboration and mutual growth. In this, video games provide a rich, controlled environment where AI technologies can be developed and tested. Plus, they simulate real-world challenges, making them an excellent platform for training AI. Yet, this still leaves many people with a burning question: How can AI learn from video games? 

The History of AI in Gaming

Before trying to understand this question, it’s important to understand where this partnership started. The history of AI in gaming goes back to the 1950s when simple algorithms were used to drive the behaviors of non-player characters in basic games. As the gaming industry grew, the role of AI within it expanded.

In the 1970s, games like ‘Pong’ and ‘Space Invaders’ introduced basic AI, with pre-programmed behaviors challenging the player. Then, the 1980s saw a bit more sophistication with games like ‘Pac-Man,’ where the ghosts chasing the player had a bit of decision-making capability, albeit basic.

Yet, the real game-changer came with the advent of machine learning and neural networks. Chess and Go, age-old board games, became the testing grounds for AI algorithms. The 1990s saw IBM’s Deep Blue making history by defeating the world chess champion Garry Kasparov, showcasing AI’s potential in strategic thinking.

As video games evolved into the 21st century, becoming more complex with open-world dynamics, the AI within them had to keep up. Games like ‘The Elder Scrolls,’ ‘Far Cry,’ and ‘The Witcher’ presented complex, interactive environments, demanding more advanced AI systems capable of navigating and strategizing in a more human-like manner.

The rise of competitive esports further pushed the envelope. Modern AI systems, now powered by advanced machine learning and deep learning algorithms, were tested in competitive arenas of games like ‘Dota 2’ and ‘StarCraft II.’ These platforms allowed AI to learn and compete at levels that often challenged human expertise.

The ongoing relationship between AI and video games is a testament to how these virtual environments have become a vital tool in advancing AI. As game worlds continue growing in complexity and realism, they offer an even more promising platform for AI to learn, evolve, and get closer to mimicking human-like intelligence.

How Can AI Learn from Video Games?

That brings us to the main question: How can AI learn from video games? Here’s a closer look at how this unfolds:

Simulated Environments

Video games offer a wide range of simulated environments that mimic real-world scenarios. These environments provide a safe, controlled setting for AI to learn and adapt without any real-world consequences. For instance, driving simulation games can help train AI for autonomous vehicles by exposing them to various traffic scenarios and weather conditions.


Games often present complex problems and challenges that require strategic thinking and planning. By navigating through these challenges, AI can learn problem-solving and decision-making skills. Games with varying levels of difficulty provide a platform for AI to learn and adapt to increasingly complex situations.

Real-Time Decision Making

Many video games require real-time decision-making and quick reactions. AI can learn to process information quickly and make informed decisions in real-time, which is crucial for many real-world applications like autonomous driving or real-time analytics.

Learning from Interaction

Multiplayer and online games offer a social environment where AI can interact with human players. Through these interactions, AI can learn from human behavior, understanding more about human decision-making, and improving its own responses over time.

Reinforcement Learning

Video games are an excellent platform for reinforcement learning, a type of machine learning where AI learns to make decisions by trial and error. In a game, AI can be rewarded for good decisions and penalized for bad ones, helping it to learn optimal strategies over time.

Data Collection and Analysis

The vast amount of data generated during gameplay can be collected and analyzed to improve AI performance. This data can help in understanding how different strategies work in various scenarios, thus aiding in the training and improvement of AI algorithms.

Benchmarking and Evaluation

Games provide a standardized setting for benchmarking AI performance. By competing against human players or other AI, the performance and capabilities of AI algorithms can be evaluated and compared in a consistent environment.

According to ExpressVPN, reflecting on the various ways AI can learn from video games, it’s imperative to also consider the evolving landscape of online gaming. With this, ensuring a secure and stable online environment is paramount for both players and the accurate training of AI. Cyber security services will be instrumental in safeguarding these interactive platforms. Thus enabling a reliable space for AI to continue learning and evolving alongside human players.

Examples of AI Learning in Gaming

The truth is that while some may not realize it, gaming has been a fertile ground for AI to not only learn but also to showcase its learning capabilities. In fact, numerous games and gaming platforms have been instrumental in training AI and providing tangible examples of how AI can evolve through gameplay. Here are some notable examples: 

Microsoft’s Project Malmo

Microsoft’s Project Malmo uses Minecraft as a training ground for AI. The open-world nature of Minecraft allows AI to learn a variety of skills, including navigation, resource management, and interaction with a complex environment.

Grand Theft Auto V and Autonomous Driving

The realistic driving simulation in Grand Theft Auto V has been utilized to train AI for autonomous driving. The game’s complex, dynamic environment provides a rich dataset for training AI in recognizing traffic scenarios and making real-time driving decisions.

Neural Nexus

Neural Nexus is a grand strategy game released in 2023, featuring an advanced AI system that evolves based on player gameplay, focusing on deep learning to provide a challenging gaming experience.

GT Sophy by Sony AI

GT Sophy is an AI agent developed for Gran Turismo 7 by Sony AI, capable of competitive driving within the game. Created using a deep reinforcement learning platform, it was released globally in 2023, aiming to enhance the competitive gaming experience​​.


DeepPhase is a novel AI technology enhancing video game animation by refining character motion transitions. It utilizes Periodic Autoencoders for learning motion phase manifolds, simplifying the character animation process, and improving motion in video games​​.

The Future of AI in Video Games

The future of AI in video games is promising, with industry giants like EA and Ubisoft leading the charge towards creating more believable open worlds and personal adventures​. There’s a growing buzz around advanced AI-driven Non-Player Characters (NPCs), with a whopping 99% of gamers looking forward to this feature.

Moreover, the blend of virtual and augmented reality with AI is set to take gaming immersion and interaction up a notch. The emergence of generative artificial intelligence is shaking up game development, making this ideal for real-time AI breakthroughs in the gaming industry.

Final Thoughts

At the end of the day, the blend of AI and video games is like a conversation that gets more interesting with each exchange. As AI gets better, the games get more engaging, hinting at a future where each gaming session is more thrilling than the last. This partnership is on a steady climb, offering exciting prospects not just for gamers but for the tech world, too. Here’s to a gaming future that looks promising.

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