The chief of Microsoft Game Stack says that the new Xbox Series X AI tech could decrease download sizes of modern games.
With the increase in resolutions, game content and demand for a huge scale, games are certainly going to get bigger in size. Microsoft is seemingly developing a new technology that could make downloading these huge games, easier.
Microsoft Game Stack brings together various game-developing platforms into a singular ecosystem. The general manager of the Game Stack division, James Gwertzman recently had a conversation with a roundtable of journalists. The conversation revolved around what Game Stack could bring to the table.
An attendee mentioned that fans are using AI to sharpen jagged and fuzzy textures automatically. He asked if this technology could be useful for upcoming games as well. Gwertzman commented:
One of the studios inside Microsoft has been experimenting with using ML models for asset generation. It’s working scarily well to the point where we’re looking at shipping really low-res textures and having ML models uprez the textures in real time.
He went on to add:
You can’t tell the difference between the hand-authored high-res texture and the machine-scaled-up low-res texture, to the point that you may as well ship the low-res texture and let the machine do it.
Gwetzman is specifically talking about game development on the PlayStation 5 and the Xbox Series X. This technology could allow you to download the game with jagged textures (smaller size) and then make the textures clear and big through the power of the consoles. Gwertzman went on to say:
The download is way smaller, but there’s no appreciable difference in game quality. Think of it more like a magical compression technology. That’s really magical. It takes a huge R&D budget.
I look at things like that and say — either this is the next hard thing to compete on, hiring data scientists for a game studio, or it’s a product opportunity. We could be providing technologies like this to everyone to level the playing field again.
To make the machine learning model more mature, artists would need to create the usual array of assets in the style of the game. Developers could lessen the texture sizes to decrease download size. After the download, the machine learning model could restore the textures as the game is being played.
Having lesser download sizes could help with countering the generational jump regarding the increasing size of games. Although, we should not expect to see this technology in action anytime soon. Xbox Series X is scheduled for release sometime during holiday 2020.