Mobidictum interview with Yassine Tahi, Co-Founder and CEO of Kinetix

Yassine Tahi, Co-Founder and CEO of Kinetix, speaks to Mobidictum about the company’s utilization of AI, how it will democratize the game industry, and its potential impact on the future of games.
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Artificial intelligence’s influence and utilization grow exponentially. Each day, another company announces a new AI-based technology in a new field of application or a new industry. While some industry professionals enthusiastically embrace these new technologies, others demonstrate utmost resistance

Among the long-established technology companies adapting to the AI trend, there are some that are born from the trend. Kinetix is such a company. With an aim to democratize the game industry and a strategy to utilize AI for that goal, Kinetix’s personality revolves around AI technology, much like our questions for them. We interviewed the Co-Founder and CEO of Kinetix, Yassine Tahi, and asked about their technology, how it will affect the game industry, and their plans for the future. We thank him for the interview and leave his commentary on Chat GPT 4 as a indicator of his enthusiasm for AI technology and then leave you to with the interview without further ado. 

“We are amazed by the journey of Chat GPT and the recent acceleration. Iteration 4 demonstrates that large models can be leveled-up to integrate a trillion parameters.

However, we believe we’re only scratching the surface of what will be possible. Integration of images into the model makes it a multi-input tool. This is the most redefining step when it comes to managing gaming use cases.

We do not envision Chat GPT as being the single tool that will be used, but it definitely sets the foundation for more specialized models. Integrating rich content such as images and, soon, 3D assets will help experts to build amazing applications on top of ChatGPT. Kinetix is already exploring compelling opportunities, and our first tests are showing us that endless AI creativity is coming. We can’t wait to share it with the world!”

Mobidictum: Every innovative or disruptive company starts with individuals coming together around a core idea. What is the core ideology behind Kinetix?

I met my co-founder Henri at Entrepreneur First, and we soon realized that we were both enthusiastic gamers with a passion for crafting in-game assets. We were amazed by AI’s ability to enrich customization experiences for players. So, together, we launched Kinetix to humanize the metaverse by enabling self-expression with user-generated content in-game. 

We operate at the cutting edge of technology and creativity, with advanced AI algorithms for converting any video into 3D animated avatars, an intuitive no-code platform & UX, and a fair revenue-sharing model. We integrate this technology with video games and virtual worlds through a lightweight SDK to enable game developers to give their users greater opportunities for self-expression: increasing revenue and retention. 

Working on all these different challenges to create an integrated solution for game builders is a thrilling adventure I am happy to share with Henri and our team.

Mobidictum: Artificial intelligence technology raises concerns in professional circles and faces resistance. Did you ever encounter such reactions about your technologies or products?

There’s definitely a vocal minority on the topic of generative AI. We did experience some pushback from 3D professionals in our first few months of existence, but this faded quite quickly as they began to understand the benefits of streamlined and user-generated 3D content. In our experience of engaging with a community of thousands of game devs and creators, most people are curious about and broadly welcome AI.

We founded Kinetix with the conviction that 3D animation should be accessible to everyone, and AI is the vehicle to make this a reality. Traditional 3D animation involves a lot of software and hardware tools and is quite time-consuming and expensive. Usually, 3D animation takes a significant time in game development and is only managed by experts. With Kinetix, anyone can create 3D animations. 

Indeed, we spotted a strong opportunity where AI helps not only at the creative level but at the monetization level. AI enables game publishers to bring user-generated content into their ecosystem by allowing players to craft assets that can be easily integrated into experiences, such as Skins or Emotes. With Kinetix, we let games bring user-generated content at scale in their projects. It drives engagement and interaction while opening up the in-game economy to new categories of assets.

AI is the medium for immersing players further in games and virtual worlds, and industry experts are realizing it. Just look at the recent example of Roblox making an announcement on giving AI tools to improve UGC game-making. AI is becoming a core part of the experiences of developers and gamers alike. 

Mobidictum: Your technologies let users create 3D animations without having years of education and experience. Do you believe such access will democratize the industry, or do you see any possibility it may negatively affect the profession’s quality? 

The productivity AI brings to the market is unmatched. A report from Ethan Mollick indicates that “programmers found an increase of 55.8% in productivity when using AI.” Similar and even bigger productivity boosts will be delivered for game devs. 

We strongly believe that AI will democratize the industry. It is the gateway for new talents to get into the gaming ecosystem. Studios are finding it hard to recruit talent due to the supply gap. By allowing people with no technical background to create their very first 3D animations, we bring a fresh new perspective to the industry. With AI, anyone – from anywhere – can join in the thrill of creating! Metaverse adoption is expected to come from emerging countries when patents and tech developments are made in western countries. AI is able to onboard talents from those emerging markets in the process of creating virtual worlds.

AI is also an incredible tool for exploring new creative routes. Everyone is put into a creative director’s seat and is no longer limited by their individual creative skills. It allows them to explore different things and iterate on the game universe they are developing. You can easily create and compare multiple design routes before making your final decision, and this creative switch excites us the most about generative AI. 

Mobidictum: Kinetix’s tools automate approximately 80% of the manual work involved in animation. Do you believe this ratio can reach 100% in the near future? If not, in the near future, when do you think this can be achieved?

For us, the question isn’t necessarily how many tasks we can automate. What we care about is how the tasks we automate allow more and more people to start creating 3D animation. We developed strong Machine Learning models, trained with huge datasets that automate 3D animations with a high level of detail. However, when giving it to our thousands of users and not only pros, we realized that some tools we were giving for very specific tasks, such as smoothing animation transitions, were hardly used. 

That’s why we now focus on building features that enable creativity in the blink of a click! For example, we offer preset style transfer AI models that act as filters to make animations look “robotic”, or blend features to target animation over different body parts. Our north star is the creative impact AI tools give to users for creating fun animations.

Mobidictum: You have partnered with The Sandbox, PolyLand, Decentraland. Can you tell us a bit about the future plans involving these partnerships?

We had longstanding partnerships with lots of prominent virtual world platforms that have believed in us from the beginning. More recently, we launched our SDK to help all game devs and virtual world owners integrate emotes into their ecosystems. The SDK includes a ready-made Emote Wheel and a catalog of emotes. Devs can sign-up to get early access to it. We are currently integrating with a lot of virtual worlds and games to provide emote content that increases in-game socialization and player retention. 

Mobidictum: How do you think NFTs will affect the game industry?

Blockchain gives players the opportunity to own and trade avatars, wearables, emotes, weapons, cards, etc., across virtual worlds. This new way to play and socialize can engage gamers like never before. This technology has real potential in the long run when used in a good way, which has not been the case for every project.

In our opinion, the use of the technology will grow, with familiar web2 front-end experiences such as account creation and fiat payments, and web3 in the back end for facilitating asset management. We envision web3 being progressively adopted at a larger scale due to the tech issues it solves for devs. In the future, the value of the NFT ecosystem will not be owned by a few thousand speculators but by millions of players that will not always realize they actually own NFTs.

Mobidictum: Are you working on any new products to be launched soon?

Yes, we have many things in our pipeline for 2023. In 2022, following our $12.5 million funding, we significantly increased the size of our R&D team and worked towards achieving our vision of Humanizing the Metaverse. We will soon be launching exciting new generative AI features that create animations from different inputs – watch this space!

Recently, we were also selected for the Meta & L’Oreal accelerator program: “Creativity in the Metaverse.” We are building projects with them to engage their communities with emote creation experiences.

Yassine Tahi, Co-Founder and CEO of Kinetix

Born in Morocco, Yassine Tahi graduated from HEC Paris & Sciences Po. As a huge fan of games and animated films, he chose to pursue his passions by founding Kinetix in 2020. His experience in strategic consulting at Eleven and in VC at 212 Founders gave him a front-rowseat to the potential of AI technology for the creative industries. Under Yassine’s leadership, Kinetix is now building the best AI animation platform to enable creators to bring their talent to Web3 and Metaverse platforms.

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