Xbox Is Testing An AI Chatbot, And Here’s How It Could Work

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Microsoft is a big believer in artificial intelligence, and now it’s come to light that the company is making an AI-powered chatbot for Xbox, but it’s only a prototype for now.

A spokesperson for Microsoft told The Verge that Microsoft is testing what’s called an “Xbox Support Virtual Agent.” This chatbot, which is only a prototype for now, features an animated character who can answer Xbox-related questions with voice or text.

“The prototype makes it easier and quicker for players to get help with support topics using natural language, taking information from existing Xbox Support pages,” Microsoft said.

The Verge further reported that this Xbox AI chatbot is part of a “larger effort” at Microsoft to put AI into the Xbox platform and services. This is no surprise at all, given Microsoft has already said publicly it will put AI into every product it creates, including Xbox.

Among other things, the Xbox AI chatbot can process game refunds and answer support-related Xbox questions, The Verge reported. The chatbot asks players, “How can I help you today,” and is capable of answering questions related to Xbox issues, subscriptions, and support.

The Verge’s sources added that the Xbox AI chatbot is just the beginning for how Microsoft could utilize AI for Xbox. The site reported that unspecified “AI features” could assist in “game content creation, game operations, and its Xbox platform and devices.” This could include AI-generated art and assets for games. It could also be used for game testing and “generative AI” NPCs. Microsoft previously announced a deal with Inworld to make games using AI.

Xbox’s AI efforts could also help with content moderation, the site reported. Additionally, Xbox might develop an AI-powered “assistant” that could offer help to gamers as they play if they need help getting through a particular part of a game.

Microsoft previously invested a reported $10 billion into OpenAI to help fuel its future AI ambitions. For Xbox specifically, CFO Tim Stuart recently discussed why he’s so excited about AI.

“I’ve never been more excited for a technology shift in the gaming landscape,” he said. “The last one we did was when we went from discs on consoles to let’s call it online games and games-as-a-service; things like Fortnite and Minecraft, which really changed the landscape of how people play. Mobile games being another one. I think AI is one of those inflection points for us.”

Stuart did not utter a word about how AI might impact or displace developers, though, which is a key concern for many. EA CEO Andrew Wilson recently spoke enthusiastically about the potential for AI to play a major role in the world of video games going forward, while also admitting that some jobs might be lost or displaced.

Before this, Xbox higher-ups including Phil Spencer and Sarah Bond spoke positively about the prospects for AI and also did not discuss concerns about job losses.