As part of GDC 2023 there are no shortage of fringe events taking place.
At Xsolla's Live At GDC 2023 Online event, Xsolla president Chris Hewish spoke to Venturebeat's Dean Takahashi detailing Xsolla’s thinking and philosophy going forwards. With major moves recently underway at Xsolla, such as their partnership with Mastercard, they offered many key insights into their business for the years ahead.
Overall the best way to describe the tone was “optimistic”, as Hewish was upbeat on contentious topics, such as generative AI. Hewish stressed that he doesn’t believe AI will replace either human designers or indeed, “hero assets”, as many fans of generative AI have emphasised he believes it will function more as a support tool, rather than a replacement.
“Sometimes you have to ask, ‘is more actually better’? So the way that I’ve been looking at this is that generative AI is a great tool to help address the content treadmill issue, but I don’t think it’s going to replace the creation of hero assets,” he explained. “So you still have your core team creating the hero assets, the primary things, and then the consumer-creator can really take that and build out much much more content to help with that content treadmill, which may be tier two content, but still really important for the game.
“What I would love to see is the developers lifting up some of that [user-generated content] and bringing it into the core itself and using their high-end professional skills to turn some of that user-generated stuff into hero content.”
Recently Xsolla partnered with telecommunications companies to distribute games on their platforms. a new way to distribute outside of regular app storefronts. Referring to this Hewish commented, “It’s not an either-or ‘them vs the platforms’ situation. It’s just a whole new market, it’s a whole new opportunity to grow the business, while continuing to grow it on the platforms. It just gives the customer more choice. At the end of the day that just helps everybody.”
Xsolla has been on a spree of new and bold moves lately to innovate in a changing market such as their shift to direct-to-consumer strategies and how they are supporting them.