While the AI boom has taken attention—and marketing investment—away from the metaverse, Roblox is more interested in bringing the two technologies together. The gaming platform is building generative AI tools to allow for easier creation in its virtual ecosystem. These offerings will include voice and text-based bots specially customized for developing game-ready assets.
How Roblox is bringing AI to the metaverse
Leading this effort is Stefano Corazza, head of Roblox Studio—the game’s creator toolkit. Corazza stands in a unique place at the intersection of the metaverse and generative AI, affording him a perspective that could be helpful for marketers interested in navigating one, or more likely both of the spaces.
Ad Age spoke with Corazza about AI’s role in Roblox’s proto-metaverse, the advice he has for brands feeling conflicted between the two technologies and how AI will avoid the cultural fallout of too much hype.
This interview have been lightly edited and condensed for clarity.
Why did Roblox decide to embrace generative AI tools?
Our goal is to democratize the creation of content as much as possible, and generative AI is a way to jumpstart this. You’re eliminating all the technical barriers and allowing people to really express their intent in a very simple way and just get content out there.
The main customization of our AI is around the generation of code. If we were using some generic copilot, there would be no training on Roblox’s scripting language, Lua, which is used to design games as opposed to websites or back-end services. The large language models (LLMs) that we are using are basically fine-tuned to our use case.
For example, with a Midjourney approach, in order for those images to be game-ready assets, we would have to generate more material under the hood, so that they’re not just images that look good on a flat screen but when applied to a character do not render correctly.
Is AI a metaverse technology?
Yes, in the sense that one of the key challenges of the metaverse is that it requires an enormous amount of content to exist. The content gap has always been one of the blockers to adoption, but now with generative AI, everybody with an idea can create not just one object but a whole world.
What can you tell brands that feel conflicted between investing in AI and investing in the metaverse?
I don’t see them as mutually exclusive, but rather synergistic. If those brands invest in generative AI capabilities, they will be able to create a ton of content that they can use to populate the metaverse. You can even enable users to make branded content on a platform. So I see both as an opportunity for better engagement.
Also read: NFL Draft to feature Midjourney artwork
Companies are already shying away from the metaverse—how does AI avoid the same cultural fallout?
I think AI is so foundational—I compare it to software, and there’s not really a software hype cycle. As always, we see a little bit of over-funding of startups in the space, but the transformation is so deep that I have no doubt this will stick for the very long term.
As for virtual worlds and the metaverse—we see these things as not progressing linearly. They go through a hype cycle, get a lot of investment, and something comes out of it but usually it’s not as big as people think. But then a few years later, that cycle picks up again.
What brands have discovered is that most of what it means to be metaverse-ready is accelerating digital transformation and being ready to create branded content that can be used to engage with users, and I think a lot of that has happened. It has just come out a little bit different than people envisioned