Executives and politicians across the world worry about the havoc that next-generation artificial intelligence will wreak on industries from finance to health-care. For the $200 billion (¥28.2 trillion) games sector, the revolution has already begun.

From San Francisco to Tokyo and Hong Kong, the plethora of companies that power the digital entertainment sphere are responding to decades of escalating costs and stagnant prices by feverishly adopting and developing new AI tools. Hundreds of thousands of jobs are on the line. Yet company leaders and studio chiefs told Bloomberg News that the changes, while inevitable and painful, can empower smaller studios, boost creativity and ultimately benefit gamers around the world.

The head of one major Japanese studio is preparing for a future where half his company’s programmers and designers will be unnecessary within five years. At Hong Kong-listed Gala Sports, executives have mothballed non-AI research projects, forced department heads to study machine learning and offered bounties of as much as $7,000 for novel AI ideas. They worry they might already be late.