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Genies has announced AI avatars for celebrities, adding personalized interactions and adaptive learning functionality to Genies avatars.
Over the past few years, Genies has amassed a big roster of celebrities and cultural tastemakers as users for its animated avatars for digital appearances.
And now Genies has empowered celebrities to train their smart avatars, enabling them to deploy these AI representations of themselves in Genies’ upcoming avatar social network, set to launch in the fall. These AI avatars will engage users in fully personalized conversations, interactions, and gameplay experiences, said Akash Nigam, CEO of Genies, in an interview with GamesBeat.
“What we’ve been known for over the past few years has definitely been our celebrity adoption,” Nigam said. “Genies has been providing avatars to celebrities to be able to monetize life-defining moments.”
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Genies recently introduced its developer kit, allowing college developers to create their own mini games. These mini games will be interoperable through Genies’ ML avatar framework, forming a cohesive social network. With Genies 3.0, celebrities will have the ability to integrate their avatars into these mini games, enhancing automated and personalized gameplay experiences for every user.
Mini games for a Genies social network
He said that after raising its big round last year, the company decided to roll out a developer kit that allows third party developers, typically college students and young developers, to create their own mini games.
“All of these mini games are going to be interoperable with one another to form one big avatar social network,” said Nigam. “That’s going to be debuting later this year. Now, what we’ve been doing with our creators is bringing AI to their avatars so they can have personalized and interactive gameplay with these fans and consumers in the avatar social network.”
You could jump into a game and a creator, like Shawn Mendes, might release an avatar in the game. Then the player could start interacting with Mendes and even unlock some new gameplay in the conversation.
“In this case, the entire social network is going to be based on unlockable gameplay based on the way that you interact with each component of it,” Nigam said. “When you can have these new minigames — casual games created by their own peers — and they can partake in them, and then ultimately, amplify close relationships by being able to play with them as well. We think that that comes very interesting. We think that forms a very interesting social network.”
Nigam said the games won’t be triple-A games, but third-party developers will make them for the social network.
“We’ve worked with thousands and thousands of different cultural icons, and tastemakers. We’re now bringing those avatars to life with personality,” said Nigam. “Genies 1.0 was our 2D avatars back in 2019. In 2021, we announced our Genies 2.0, which were 3D avatars that are great for AR and VR, and this is going to be announcing Genie 3.0, which is the Genies’ brains. It means that all of our celebrities and all of our creators will now be brought to life through AI. And each of them has a personality, and it correlates to unlockable gameplay.”
Nigam said the company’s avatars are thriving on platforms like Snapchat, TikTok and Instagram. But they haven’t made much of a dent in games, where there are other technologies available like Epic’s MetaHumans and Ready Player Me avatars.
“This social network is going to be rolled out on the Genies platform. So we’re going to be a publisher in so many ways,” Nigam said.
Jake Becker, director of creators at Genies, said in a statement, “We’ve invested in our ML avatar framework over the past year to automate avatar interoperability and personality, marking the most significant evolution of our avatars to date. Genies 3.0 represents the next phase in our avatar technology journey, introducing AI smart avatars.”
The brain system behind the AI avatars has been geared to enhance the creator to fan relationship all the while attending to real problems that creators face in regard to scaling their personality, time and efforts.
Fans will now have engaging representations of their favorite icons accessible at all times, enabling fully personalized two-way communication and relationship building. Creators can extend their personalities to existing communities and reach new audiences through Genies’ ML avatar framework.
Founded on the principle of empowering individuals to create their own avatar experiences, Genies has gained widespread adoption among celebrities and influencers. The company recently launched its consumer arm, the AR Developer Kit, allowing developers to create interoperable avatar experiences for mobile and hardware AR.
The inaugural avatar experience, Silver Studio, enables users to design and exchange digital fashion. Genies has secured $250 million in funding from investors such as Silver Lake, BOND, NEA, and Bob Iger, valuing the company at $1 billion.
Filling a void
With the weakness of Twitter now, Nigam said there is a void in social networks.
“We want to be able to control the culture of the platform from start to finish,” he said. “If we can build our social network from the ground up, that we feel like we can get more authentic and meaningful connections, in our environment.”
In the Silver Studio app, the whole point is to exchange fashion among peers. Most of that audience is women. Generative AI can help generate new fashion looks.
Genies has about 100 employees, and thousands of Genies avatars have been created by celebrities so far. Lately, the company has been quiet as it focused on building internal projects rather than communicating externally, Nigam said.
“It was an awesome year, but now we’re ready to start talking to the press again,” he said.
When the fall comes around, the big topic will be Genies’ social network.
“Our character framework is really the nucleus of the entire company. The character brain with avatar framework is what powers our social network,” he said. “The unique part about the avatar framework is that it makes it really easy for people to navigate avatar systems and content without having to do the custom rigging, the custom animations, the custom retargeting every single time because we use machine learning to be able to predict all different types of styles.”
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