Inworld’s AI Revolution: Breathing Life into Virtual Characters for Gaming and Beyond
Inworld recently completed the Comcast NBCUniversal LIFT Labs Generative AI Accelerator to further its mission of generating customizable characters for a wide variety of applications.
Ilya Gelfenbeyn (CEO)
Despite the meteoric rise of gaming, virtual worlds, and immersive entertainment experiences, character interactions have been stubbornly static. Inworld, a trailblazing tech firm, is on an audacious mission to shift this dynamic by delivering AI-powered virtual characters to life to enrich social interactions within gaming, metaverses, education, and more.
Inworld has raised an impressive $130M in venture capital, including $50M in August 2023, and the company now boasts a distinguished clientele that includes Shiseido, Kinetix, and Alpine.
Inworld’s secret sauce lies in its innovative character personality engine. The software enables developers to infuse virtual characters with distinct personality traits, speech patterns, emotions, and goals. These characters are designed to interact using natural language, all the while being contextually aware — a tall order for most automated systems.
“We are essentially equipping characters with brains and emotions, making them more engaging, lifelike, and believable than ever before.”
— Ilya Gelfenbeyn
Proof of Inworld’s innovation can be found in their demo game, Origins. Players act as detectives uncovering a mystery by using natural language to communicate with non-player characters (NPCs), creating a fluid narrative driven by player’s questions. NPCs answer in unscripted, real-time AI-generated dialogues. Research from Inworld suggests that gamers would welcome this type of interaction, with 99% of respondents stating that advanced AI NPCs would positively impact their gameplay experiences. Meanwhile 81% said they would pay more for games featuring them and 76% want to see more freedom for NPCs.
Inworld can be utilized for immersive educational experiences, such as sales training simulations. Because the NPCs respond naturally rather than reading from a script, every exercise will have a different outcome — meaning sales associates can learn how to act in different scenarios.
A “Priceless” Connection with LIFT Labs
Florin Radu (Head of Partnerships)
Inworld’s leadership team joined the Comcast NBCUniversal LIFT Labs Accelerator to navigate Comcast NBCUniversal’s wide array of business units for possible strategic partnerships.
“We wouldn’t even know where to start if it wasn’t for LIFT Labs.”
— Florin Radu
“It’s priceless to have them as our advocates and internal champions so we can identify potential strategic partnership opportunities with a broad spectrum of business units,” said Florin Radu, Head of Partnerships at Inworld.
Because of the Accelerator, Inworld is now working with business units within Comcast, NBCUniversal, and Sky on proofs of concept that leverage their technology to create interactive, animated characters and personalized experiences.
“There are so many ways we could possibly work together.” said Radu. “The possibilities are endless.”
The Leading Platform for Lifelike NPCs
Monica Tran (VP Marketing)
Gelfenbeyn is no stranger to startup life. He previously cofounded API.AI, a natural language platform that accounted for nuance and complexity in conversational user interfaces for web, mobile applications. The company was acquired by Google in 2016.
Investors and former team members at the company kept talking and strategizing about the next step leading to the launch of Inworld in 2021. In just two years, it’s become a leading platform for the creation of lifelike NPCs.
“Our goal is to be the population engine for every virtual immersive experience,” said Gelfenbeyn. “Thanks to the LIFT Labs Accelerator, we’re well positioned to reach our goal faster.”
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