Xbox’s AI Chatbot Could Be Your Gaming Assistant

Image: Microsoft / josefkubes / Kotaku
Image: Microsoft / josefkubes / Kotaku

Microsoft is working on an AI-powered chatbot that will provide support for Xbox and associated services, The Verge has confirmed. The news has prompted some to draw comparisons with Clippy, the talking paperclip who once helped users compose letters and perform other tasks in Microsoft Office. The Xbox chatbot, which doesn’t yet have a name, is part of Microsoft’s initiative to introduce AI to the Xbox ecosystem, with this bot in particular being capable of handling console support queries and paid subscription issues.

In an April 2 report, The Verge confirmed that Microsoft is currently testing an “Xbox Support Virtual Agent” prototype that will assist with support questions. The bot will first ask users, “How can I help you today?” and animate as it responds to your requests. According to internal documentation viewed by The Verge, alongside handling console support queries and paid subscription issues, the bot may also be able to process game refunds. Haiyan Zhang, Xbox’s General Manager of Gaming, told The Verge that it should help the company simplify its methods for tackling support inquiries at Xbox.

“We are testing an Xbox Support Virtual Agent, an internal prototype of an animated character that can query Xbox Support topics with voice or text,” Zhang said. “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.”

Currently, Microsoft has the Azure AI Bot Service for its business division that’s used to build conversational AI chatbots. According to The Verge, the company’s new Xbox chatbot will be something similar that’ll automate support tasks. But that’s not all Microsoft is working on. As The Verge understands it, this is also part of the company’s larger strategy within Xbox to add AI-powered features to the platform. There are plans to bring AI tools to game content creation and game operations, and Microsoft is experimenting with AI-generated art and assets for games. Apparently, the company is even looking into how AI-powered assistants, like this one, could be used to help players while gaming. It sounds very much like Clippy but in your game’s UI. “It looks like you’re trying to shoot an opposing player in the head. Would you like help?”

This comes not long after internal documentation and eaked images revealed Xbox’s purported mid-cycle, all-digital refresh for the Xbox Series X. It seems that AI remains a key part of Microsoft’s plans for the future of Xbox, and bots like this may only be the beginning.

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