AR games maker Niantic has announced the latest update to its original IP Peridot, revealing the introduction of generative AI to make its virtual pets behave more realistically.
Generative AI has been becoming increasingly prevalent in gaming this year, with everyone from Roblox to Homa leveraging the technology. Niantic has already featured AI in a game before with Wol, and implemented the tech into its 8th Wall platform back in September, increasing accessibility for other developers.
And now that the technology has made its way into Peridot, one has to wonder what the implications may be for Niantic’s other games. After all, it wouldn’t be unprecedented to see Pokémon Go trialling new technology, and the new smash hit Monster Hunter Now may benefit from artificially generated monster behaviour too.
Peridot was first announced in April 2022 as an original IP from Niantic, deviating from the company’s usual collaborative approach to mobile gaming with the leveraging of an existing brand. It launched in May 2023 with a more laidback gameplay style than Pokémon Go, focusing on feeding, training and caring for the Dots instead of battling.
Part of Peridot’s appeal is its augmented reality, implemented to a greater extent than seen in many other Niantic games as the Dots actually interact with the real world. Including generative AI technology could therefore boost these interactions to even greater levels of realism.
Dots’ reactions will be "unique, random, surprising or plain adorable" when they see something new through the player’s camera, with examples of what to expect including barking at real animals and rolling around in leftover food. The Dots will be able to pull from a library of unused animations via generative AI, saving development time on programming limited interactions manually.
"With Peridot, our goal has always been to leverage the latest cutting-edge technology at our fingertips to bring to life adorable creatures in delightful, whimsical, and lifelike ways. With our launch earlier this year we brought back the nostalgia of virtual pets reimagined to our modern day and into our real world with augmented reality," the Peridot team said.
"We’re now excited to be leaning into generative AI to bring even more life to your Dots – allowing them to react in unexpected and surprising ways to the different things they find in the real world – just like a real pet would do."
Last week the GFR Fund launched a new fund to support companies in gaming, tech, entertainment and generative AI, with $53.5 million to give out between them.