MOBA-AI

A review of the newest MOBA AI venture by Qualcomm who have teamed up with Tencent and Vivo to develop “Project Imagination” and how it will impact the amazing world of eSports.

Qualcomm Technologies has reported that they will be joining the current video-game MOBA AI race, and have decided on a joint effort by combining with tech super-giant Tencent and mobile phone makers Vivo. They have announced the formation and development of a brand new AI-based eSports team ‘Supex’. The intention is for team Supex to face-off against human teams in Tencent’s MOBA Honor of Kings [also knowns as Arena of Valor in the West].

The announcement was made at Qualcomm’s ‘AI Day’ in Shenzhen, China where several interesting and new applications for AI tech were showcased and revealed. One of the biggest updates has been Qualcomm and Vivo’s intention to avoid cloud-based processing power [traditionally the most resource intensive issue of such projects] and rather Vivo’s latest power-packed, high-performance, purpose-built smartphone, the iQOO. This phone has been designed with mobile gaming specifically in mind and will utilise a fourth generation AI engine as well as Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 855 chipset.

Team Supex will be faced with using many of the same interfaces as players do, rather than interacting directly with the internal gaming engine, allowing the MOBA AI to better simulate human behaviour. [I feel like we’ve heard this somewhere before..]

The significance of this decision is clear; rather than just bruising a few human egos, this step in AI tech will allow us to better understand how the human mind works. It is also expected to have impacts on both player experience and game development. It is the hope’s of Tencent that the use of such AI will allow them to create greater challenges for players, and see many possibilities to apply this new tech including in areas like game-testing and generating completely new game content. This whole endeavour has been dubbed “Project Imagination”.

These recent announcements come in the wake of similar recent developments in the area of AI and mobile gaming/eSports. Recently headlines were grabbed by Dota 2’s OpenAI Five team when champions OG were handily defeated (https://www.theverge.com/2019/4/13/18309459/openai-five-dota-2-finals-ai-bot-competition-og-e-sports-the-international-champion) – the face that OpenAI learns at a rate of 180 YEARS of gameplay PER DAY may have had something to do with this..The Five have been facing some public testing recently online and so far have won approximately 3960 games out of 4000 at the time of writing. We also saw DeepMind’s AlphaStar go 10 and 1 versus a selection of StarCraft II Pros.

While these kinds of AI developments in eSports will undoubtedly facilitate the development of games and gaming in general, we at eSportsnow wonder whether the idea of an all-AI team actively competing in tournaments might take away from what makes eSports exciting and from the incredibly talented, hard-working pros that are constantly pushing the limits of their skills. What do you think?

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