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"Pegasus" engine may bring generative AI to Apple App Store searches

Big changes could be ahead with the implementation of a search engine developed by a former Google exec and his team

Generative AI has been a hot topic in the games industry throughout 2023, dating back to the start of the year when Roblox revealed its vision for the future, foreseeing a use for the technology in easing the creation process.

Long before the company’s controversy, Unity teased AI development tools in March. Then delivered a series of dev kits, ChatGPT took off with an official App Store release, and the rest is history.

From Scriptic to Homa to Niantic, it seems like everyone is on the generative AI train. Now it looks like it’s Apple’s turn.

Next-generation tech is coming

As reported by Bloomberg, former Google exec John Giannandrea and his search team are looking to implement the "Pegasus" search engine deep into the iOS tech and may use generative AI tools for further enhancements.

Apple has already developed search engines for their App Store, Apple TV and more, but Apple's App Store specifically will be updated with the new "Pegasus" engine, which is said to provide more accurate results.

"AI also gives Apple a potential opening. The company’s machine learning team has been seeking new engineers to work on search technologies, and Apple has made acquisitions that could lay the groundwork for a search engine," said Bloomberg's Mark Gurman.

"In 2019, it bought Laserlike, an AI-based search engine founded by former Google employees. Many of its leaders have since returned to Google, but the team still operates at Apple."

An overhaul to the App Store’s search functionality could either prove chaotic or beneficial for game developers, with the impact of such an overhaul hard to predict. Perhaps each iOS owner would receive the perfect recommendations for them, bolstering downloads of indie games; or perhaps the AI algorithm would only push larger games with better deals for Apple, creating even greater disparity between the industry’s big players and newcomers.

With Apple’s newfound appreciation for mobile gaming on the iPhone 15 and a console title coming to mobile with a $60 price tag, one thing is clear: The App Store is on the precipice of change.