Video games enable individuals to escape the trials of the real world and immerse themselves in a series of challenging, rewarding and entertaining tasks and experiences. The industry is attracting a broad market that continues to grow as technology implodes.
Every demographic, from families, individuals, adults, children, LGBTQ+ and more, can enjoy games and the enjoyment they bring, as evolving technologies such as artificial intelligence and large-scale cloud computing shake up the industry and usher in exciting innovations.
“The gaming space has offered a place of belonging and representation. For some it’s a place for escapism to be able to escape the real world, live in the virtual world and be able to express yourself in ways that perhaps you don’t feel as safe to do in the real world,” said Katie Araujo (pictured, right), senior account manager of games at Amazon Web Services Inc. “Games have been a safe space … and with that has been a very empowering opportunity.”
Araujo and Manali Karmarkar (left), also senior account manager of gaming at AWS, spoke with theCUBE industry analyst Lisa Martin during an exclusive Women of the Cloud: Pride Month interview on theCUBE, SiliconANGLE Media’s livestreaming studio. They discussed how video games are evolving with technology, how the cloud and AI will influence the future of video games and how video games are fostering more inclusive environments. (* Disclosure below.)
A virtual world for all
Generative AI is one of the biggest hot topics right now in technology, with text services such as ChatGPT offering advanced, human-sounding outputs based on simple text inputs and image services like Midjourney and DALL-E generating complex images out of text prompts. These technologies seem promising for gaming’s future as well, with generative AI having potential in areas such as creating unique, player-specific dialogue with non-playable characters.
“Another thing that AI can help with generative AI is for art within video games,” Karmarkar said. “For example, improving art, making that easier for the artists that are working behind games. I think it’ll reduce the cycles to make a new game. It’ll make it more personalized for folks that are playing games, and it’s a whole new world. I’m very excited to see what transpires.”
Another popular point of conversation and development in the gaming industry is the introduction of a more inclusive environment for gamers of all demographics. Historically, most video games were advertised to a male audience, alienating potential players and creating a hostile environment for some.
“A secondary topic and where I’m finding a lot of personal interest is in the realm of community health, which is our positive, proactive spin on content moderation and finding a way to foster inclusive communities within gaming, which I think resonates well with the intent of our discussion today,” Araujo said. “AWS does have solutions and partners that we’re working with incredibly closely to help bring that to life.”
ArenaNet LLC develops a popular game called Guild Wars 2, one of the largest massively multiplayer online role-playing games available on the market. With 12 million active monthly players, the game also boasts one of the largest wiki sites in the world, right behind Wikipedia, with over 300,000 individual pages. This brought in the problem of managing the expansive servers and being able to pay for the services.
“Through conversations with this customer, we got them to move over to Amazon Redshift, which is our cloud data warehousing solution, as well as OpenSearch, which helped with the search aspect of the wiki,” Karmarkar explained. “The end result was the wiki search time got down to two seconds, and there are around 20 million queries within OpenSearch, so a massive amount of queries. Then through using Redshift they saved 50% on cost.”
The conversation ended with the trio discussing LGBTQ+ people and how gaming has positively impacted the community. The ability for gamers to escape the real world, live in a virtual world and express themselves in a virtual world is an important factor in gaming’s success within the LGBTQ+ community.
“[Developing games] has been a very empowering opportunity for even myself to be able to come into alignment with who I am and to continually learn and evolve, but then also be able to be empathetic for others,” Araujo said. “Learning to seek first to understand and to be in a space where we’re understanding that diversity is strength, diversity is beautiful, and we all come to the table with different backgrounds, different experiences and different skills and strengths that can be leveraged.”
Here’s the complete video interview, part of SiliconANGLE’s and theCUBE’s coverage of the “Special Program Series: Women of the Cloud” event:
(* Disclosure: TheCUBE is a paid media partner for the special “Women of the Cloud” program series. Neither Amazon Web Services Inc., the sponsor for theCUBE’s event coverage, nor other sponsors have editorial control over content on theCUBE or SiliconANGLE.)
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