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As smartphones become more powerful, they’ll be able to offer better artificial intelligence performance for gaming and other applications. Qualcomm wants to make sure that it stays at the bleeding edge of AI mobile technology, so the chipmaker is working with Tencent and Vivo on a new initiative called Project Imagination.

The companies announced their joint partnership earlier today during Qualcomm AI Day in Shenzhen, China. According to a press release, Project Imagination is meant to “to bring smarter, more efficient, and more immersive experiences to consumers” through AI. The first step involves Vivo’s new iQOO line of hardcore smartphones for gamers. They use Qualcomm’s powerful Snapdragon 855 chipset, which includes the company’s fourth-generation AI engine.

And the game they’re using to test new AI technology is Tencent’s multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA) Honor of Kings (known internationally as Arena of Valor). Tencent’s AI Labs in Shenzhen and Seattle will also contribute to the project.

Additionally, Vivo is planning on creating an all-AI esports team on mobile called Supex. It plans on optimizing the team by putting it through MOBA games like Honor of Kings. In the press release, Vivo’s general manager of creative innovation Fred Wong said Supex will “ultimately deliver better competition experiences to mobile esports.”


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In a recent interview with GamesBeat, Tencent senior vice president Steven Ma commented on how AI teams can go toe-to-toe with top esports players.

“We’re looking at how to use AI to improve gameplay. We did a test in China where players can play against an AI in Glory of Kings. It went quite well,” said Ma. “Right now it can compete with some of the professional players. Also, beyond the consumer side, we’re looking at the developer side, how we can use AI to improve game development.”

This isn’t the first time Qualcomm and Tencent have worked together: They previously collaborated on opening a China-based research center for gaming and entertainment applications. Recent reports also suggest that Tencent is planning on creating its own gaming-focused smartphone.

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