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Inworld AI Secures New Funding To Launch Open Source Character Engine For Developers

Inworld CEO and co-founder Ilya Gelfenbeyn says, “The next generation of games will be judged by how immersive the experiences feel.” 

Character engine platform for games and interactive experiences Inworld AI has secured new funding from Lightspeed Venture Partners, bringing its valuation to over $500 million. 

Having amassed more than $100 million in overall funding, Inworld AI is now one of the best-funded startups at the intersection of AI and gaming. It plans on using the newly raised funding to accelerate research and development, hire new talent, invest in infrastructure and launch an open-source version of its Character Engine. 

The company’s recent investment is based on its AI-powered NPC experiences. These experiences were developed in collaboration with Team Miaozi (NetEase Games), Niantic 8th Wall, LG UPlus, Alpine Electronics, and also in community-created mods of Skyrim, Stardew Valley, and Grand Theft Auto V.

Michael Ermolenko, CTO and co-founder of Inworld says, “Inworld’s commitment to open source is a testament to our belief that collaboration fuels innovation. Working with the open source developer community, we’ll push forward innovations in generative Al that elevate the entire gaming industry.” 

During the 2022 Disney Accelerator Demo Day, Inworld showcased a prototype named ‘Droid Maker,’ which was developed in collaboration with ILM Immersive.

AI NPCs in games

“In a platform shift like Al, ‘generational’ companies won’t only incrementally improve upon existing workflows with faster, better, or cheaper tools; they will create completely novel, previously impossible user experiences like Inworld,” said Moritz Baier-Lentz, a partner at Lightspeed Venture Partners, who is joining the company’s board of directors.

Inworld’s technology is unlike existing LLMs and chatbots. It enables developers to create AI-driven NPCs that add depth and realism to characters, integrating them into the logic and fantasy of their worlds.

AI-driven NPCs showcase intricate and lifelike human behaviours, enhancing the immersion for players and the overall gaming experience. They go beyond traditional dialogue trees, making conversational AI only the beginning.

“The next generation of games will be judged by how immersive the experiences feel,” said Ilya Gelfenbeyn, CEO and co-founder of Inworld. “The Inworld Character Engine offers a transformational shift that brings characters to life with realistic emotions and dialogue, adding richness to the stories and worlds they occupy. 

The funding round includes investments from Stanford University, Samsung Next as well as new and existing strategic investors such as Microsoft’s M12 fund, First Spark Ventures, and LG Technology Ventures.

Written By

Isa Muhammad is a writer and video game journalist covering many aspects of entertainment media including the film industry. He's steadily writing his way to the sharp end of journalism and enjoys staying informed. If he's not reading, playing video games or catching up on his favourite TV series, then he's probably writing about them.

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