GeForce Experience Gets AI Style Transfer, Expanded Facebook Streaming

Nvidia headed to Gamescom with a series of announcements, many of which involved new games supporting its graphics and physics technologies, and updates to GeForce Experience were among them. The app now boasts new features that allow you to spruce up your in-game screenshots, stream to Facebook groups, and view Facebook comments in the ShadowPlay overlay so you can easily interact with your viewers.

These might seem like small updates, but they're part of a larger shift in gaming content. (It took everything in our power not to hashtag that phrase.) Thanks to the new AI Style Transfer feature for Ansel, GeForce Experience is better positioned to help people share their gameplay like they share everything else online. The expanded Facebook streaming support could also help gaming video creators find refuge after YouTube's recent demonetization efforts.

Let's start with AI Style Transfer. The feature will allow you to make in-game screenshots taken with Ansel look like paintings from a famous artist. All you have to do is take a picture with Ansel, select a piece of art as the "style" you want to transfer, and let this new feature handle the rest by using "neural networks trained to recognize thousands of classes of objects" and copying those characteristics over to your image.

This feature should look familiar. Google and Facebook introduced similar tools in late 2016, and both of them were excited about the ability to use style transfer in real-time, with Facebook in particular hawking its ability to do so on mobile devices. It's no surprise that Nvidia managed to enable the technology with its much more capable graphics cards, especially since it's become increasingly invested in AI.

Regarding Facebook streaming, GeForce Experience previously allowed you to stream gameplay to your own Timeline; now it will allow you to do the same with Groups. That could make it easier for you to create your own community on Facebook, and with the inclusion of Facebook comments in the ShadowPlay overlay, chatting with your viewers should be just as easy as it is on other sites.

These additions to ShadowPlay—Nvidia's tool for streaming and recording games—arrive soon after Facebook's decision to let anyone stream to its service. That ability was previously limited to Pages, but that changed in March. The company specifically called out game streaming as one of the reasons why it let everyone "go live," and many people with Nvidia graphics cards probably use ShadowPlay in conjunction with the feature.

Many streamers might consider sharing to Facebook instead of YouTube after the latter company decided to demonetize a lot of the gaming content on its platform. YouTube said in June that it would focus specifically on videos featuring gratuitous violence, but that doesn't appear to be the case, with at least one popular game reviewer recently having roughly 100 videos demonetized with little explanation or recourse.

Demonetizing videos could lead game critics and streamers to other platforms, even though YouTube said that streams wouldn't be affected. Depending on how Facebook handles gaming content—the company is known for flip-flopping on how it handles violent media—its ubiquity could make it a popular complement to game-centric platforms like Twitch. Nvidia's merely preparing GeForce Experience for that possibility.

Game-related content is still relatively niche. More people are watching cat videos and sharing pictures of their food made to look like Picasso paintings than they are "let's plays" and screenshots. Allowing GeForce Experience to keep pace with platforms like Facebook's could help Nvidia make game-related content more commonplace. Then it might be able to inspire people to build their own gaming PCs so they can join the fun.

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