Microsoft Xbox: Matt Booty hopes AI will replace QA testers in the future

Microsoft Xbox: Matt Booty hopes AI will replace QA testers in the future

Microsoft Xbox

Matt Booty, the head of Xbox Game Studios, hopes that one day AI will be so advanced that it can replace QA Tester during game development.

The QA Tester, for the uninitiated, is the staff in charge of testing and examining the games during development, with the aim of identifying bugs and various problems, which are subsequently reported to the developers.

Booty's desire stems from the fact that video games are becoming more complex over time and that current QA Testing methods find it increasingly difficult to keep up.

"Some of the processes we use do not they keep up with how fast we are building content. One of them is testing. "Booty said during a Q&A at PAX West 2022.

" One of the biggest differences between a game and a movie is that if you are working on the latter and you say "this ending, let's make it shorter, let's edit this, let's cut that scene" you can usually do it without ruining anything. But in a ready-to-publish game a designer might say "I have this little feature, I'll just change the color of this thing " and then somehow something breaks and now the first 10 minutes of the game no longer work. So every single time something new is put into a great game, the whole project has to be tested again from start to finish. "

Matt Booty The solution for the head of Xbox Game Studios is then to create AI that can help and greatly speed up the testing phases.

"What I always say when I come across people who work with AI is:" help me understand how to use a bot to test a game". Because I'd like to be able to launch 10,000 instances of a game in the cloud and activate an AI-driven bot that spends all night testing, and then delivers a report the next morning. "

Undoubtedly the idea of ​​Booty would greatly facilitate the development of video games, as well as significantly reduce the costs for QA testing. The technology is probably too immature for the moment to achieve such a result, but in the future who knows.

In the meantime, the launch of Xbox Game Pass Friends & Family is near and Microsoft has published the official FAQ in Italian with all the details on the new subscription plan.

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Xbox’s Matt Booty Asked Microsoft To Invent AI Bot QA Testers For Games

Perfect Dark


Sometimes you read a quote and you can just see the firestorm it’s about to set off, and that’s happened today with Head of Xbox Game Studios, Matt Booty, who “dreams” of using AI to QA test video games in the future, so much so he’s actually asked Microsoft to help him figure out how to do that.

Booty, speaking at PAX West, had a whole lot of thoughts on the idea of AI-based QA testing, given the demands of modern games, but his comments are bound to generate controversy given that QA has long been an underpaid, underappreciated part of game development, and the mistreatment has caused unionization to spring up at certain studios as a result as of late, including ones Microsoft is about to own.

Here’s what Booty says about the QA problem and the potential AI fix, via VGC:

“Some of the processes we have, have not really kept up with how quickly we can make content. One of those is testing.”

You think about a game, one of the biggest differences between a game and something like a movie, is if we’re working on a movie and you come in and say ‘hey, this ending, let’s tighten this up, let’s edit this, let’s cut that scene’, it usually doesn’t break anything at the beginning of the movie.

“But in a game you can be ready to ship, and a designer’s like, ‘I’ve got this one little feature, I’m just going to change the color on this one thing’’ and then it somehow blows up something and now the first 10 minutes of the game doesn’t play. So that testing aspect, every single time anything new goes into a big game the whole game has to be tested, front-to-back, side-to-side.

“My dream – there’s a lot going on with AI and machine learning right now, and people using AI to generate all these images. What I always say when I bump into the AI folks, is: ‘Help me figure out how to use an AI bot to go test a game.’

“Because I would love to be able to start up 10,000 instances of a game in the cloud, so there’s 10,000 copies of the game running, deploy an AI bot to spend all night testing that game, then in the morning we get a report. Because that would be transformational.”

Cyberpunk 2077


Booty is right in that testing is incredible tough in games, and what we consistently see is a lot of big titles launching full of bugs, not necessarily because anyone did their job wrong, but because millions of players will do more “testing” time of the final version of the game in the first few hours and days than the entire QA team could do in months or even years. This has resulted in some uncomfortable situations, like CDPR seemingly blaming testers for not catching Cyberpunk 2077 bugs, pre-launch, and debates about how true that was. But the scale problem is real.

But is AI the solution? That’s bound to be even more controversial. The human side of the argument would be getting studios to shell out for more QA testers, pay them better, curb their hours so they are more functional at work and better able to catch bugs. But here, it sounds like Booty is suggesting the automation of the process, and if you do invest a quality AI QA testing system, that seems like it would have the potential to put an entire chunk of the industry out of work. Not that anything like this actually exists in a meaningful way yet. But I know many will take Booty’s “my dream” comments here to be somewhat problematic given the plight of current QA workers. Also referencing AI image generation, where programs like Midjourney are currently upsetting a lot of human artists, may not be the best point of comparison here.

We’ll see if Booty clarifies his remarks, which he seems likely to, given the conversation this has generated, but his initial statement is also pretty emphatic about where he’d like to see the industry move, if possible.

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