Final Fantasy VII Remake is a smash hit for publisher Square Enix. Like the last time a Final Fantasy VII game put Square on top of the world, it wants to diversify. No, that doesn’t mean a new Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within from from Square Pictures. This time, Square Enix is building on its AI technology with the launch of Square Enix AI & Arts Alchemy.

The goal of the new Alchemy division is to expand its opportunities for AI in entertainment. This goes beyond AI in video games.

“We believe that new forms of entertainment will be created against a backdrop of ongoing technological innovations, as exemplified by XR — [extended reality] — and next-generation telecommunications standards such as 5G,” reads the Square Enix press release. “Square Enix AI & Arts Alchemy will launch its operations with the goal of pursuing R&D efforts that apply the Square Enix group’s knowledge and expertise in AI and art not only to games but to the broader concept of entertainment AI.”

Other gaming companies are not spinning off their own AI divisions. But this is definitely a technology that most game publishers are invested in. This AI business is also distinct from the Square Enix cloud-gaming subsidiary Shinra Technologies, which it shuttered in 2016.

What does this mean for Square Enix?

Analysts and technologists are all highlighting AI as the next major oncoming revolution. Square Enix obviously wants in on that. And while you may not associate games like Final Fantasy with particularly impressive AI, that’s not necessarily what Alchemy is going for. Square Enix does have a lot of expertise and experience in building software experiences where humans interface with AI. And the company knows how to make that interaction fun and entertaining.

As Google or some university students develop a next-gen AI platform, Square Enix could step in to help design the actual human-interface. To that end, Square Enix says that Alchemy is open to potential partnerships with other companies.

So yes, you are now one step close to having a digital Tifa who lives in your phone.


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