Today, Inworld AI announced that it has received a new round of funding from Lightspeed Venture Partners and major companies such as Microsoft (through the M12 fund), Samsung Next and LG (through Technology Ventures). Even Stanford University and Eric Schmidt's First Spark Ventures participated in this investment round. In previous rounds, other large companies and investment funds such as Section 32, Intel Capital, Founders Fund, Disney Accelerator, BITKRAFT Ventures, The Venture Reality Fund, Kleiner Perkins, CRV, Meta, Micron Ventures, NTT Docomo Ventures and SK Telecom Venture. Capital had struck.
The amount raised with today's announcement brings the total investment received by Inworld AI to over $100 million, while the company's value now exceeds $500 million, making it the most funded startup dedicated to AI and gaming. This includes an Epic MegaGrant received last October.
There are some big names on board as advisors too, including Google's VP of AI Danny Lange and award-winning author Neal Stephenson, who coined the term Metaverse in his novel Snow Crash.
Ilya Gelfenbeyn, CEO and co-founder of Inworld AI, said in a statement:
The next generation of games will be judged by how immersive the experiences feel. The Inworld Character Engine offers a transformative shift that brings characters to life with realistic emotions and dialogue, adding richness to the stories and worlds they occupy. Populating experiences with characters who behave with compelling responses and actions in real-time will play an essential role in making us achieve the promise of truly interactive entertainment.
John Gaeta, Academy Award winner for Best Visual Effects in The Matrix and Chief Creative Officer at Inworld AI, added:
AI-powered characters are new magic. They will drive a paradigm shift (a form of renaissance) in storytelling and escapism, where the audience can transcend the role of passive observer to active participant. This type of interactive media will open up new avenues for creative expression, with narratives guided by the collective imagination of creators and audiences. The creatives will invent, spark, improvise and guide these persistent role players, personas, relationships, scenarios and dynamic worlds.
Inworld AI's character engine is also open source, the company revealed today, which should allow even more developers and creators to refine the generative AI model.
We first covered Inworld at Wccftech when modder Bloc integrated his tech into Mount and Blade II: Bannerlord, and I jumped at the chance to interview him about the process. Later he made an impressive Skyrim mod with Inworld AI and he has now also released a Grand Theft Auto V mod.
For now, NetEase Games is leading the charge through its in-house studio Team Miaozi when it comes to actual game implementations. Miaozi adds Inworld AI to its top-down action/shooter/base building/RPG Cygnus Enterprises, which launched late last year on Steam Early Access.
However, it's not hard to see how generative AI could be completely disruptive when it comes to bringing non-player characters (NPCs) to life. It's likely that even major developers will implement similar technologies in the wave of games coming in the next five years or so, greatly extending the potential lifespan of their titles.
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