Microsoft announce AI Copilot for PC and Xbox games, shoving AI into Minecraft

Microsoft has presented their next generation AI enhanced PC’s and Surface tablets, and along with it the reveal that their AI Copilot software will soon be embedded in PC and Xbox games. The first will be Minecraft and you can see it in action in the short video below.

Microsoft has been aggressively pursuing AI over the past couple of years, investing billions into OpenAI, adding it to their Bing search engine and trying to find ways to apply it to Windows, Office and now Xbox gaming.

As you can see form the Minecraft demo, the player can simply use their own voice to ask for help within the game and Copilot will tell them exactly what they need to do with natural language interactions. In this instance, Copilot can be asked for a crafting recipe and the AI will check you have everything needed in your inventory, guide you through collecting anything else you need, and take you step-by-step through the process of crafting a sword.

it’s a clever demo that will send a shiver down the spine of gaming sites that rely on guides to be profitable, but there’s a lot of question marks for how this will actually work. Microsoft is putting an emphasis on privacy, which will mean that Copilot tools will try to run locally before polling the cloud, and that will require dedicated hardware with new chips featuring an NPU (Neural Processing Unit) – the demos used PCs with Qualcomm’s new Snapdragon X Elite chips featuring a hefty built-in NPU.

There’s also other things to overcome. For an AI to be useful, it also needs to be all-knowing and always available. While AIs can analyse what they see on screen, that will be a much more intensive process than having APIs and direct hooks into the backend of a game – otherwise they can’t really know what’s in your full inventory, where you are on the world map you are, what the quest steps are or anything else that they need. Game developers and engine developers will probably need to put in the systems for AI to interact with.

And at the end of the day, gaming AIs will also need to have all the answers, and who’s going to give these to them? If game guides become unprofitable (which they would do if everyone just asked AI what to do instead of visiting websites) then sites would stop publishing them… but without the game guides, the AI has nothing to reference and could give players the wrong information. And so it’ll then be up to the game developers to provide them, but devs have enough on their plate just making the games. Sony already has a developer-led video hints and tips system built into the PS5 system software for trophies, but they’re far from universal.

Then there’s Microsoft’s rivals. They can put this into all their games and systems, but they’re in third place this generation, and who knows what their future games business is going to look like? If Sony and Nintendo don’t put AI assistants in their future games consoles and chipsets, then third party developers almost certainly won’t bother. It’s not like Sony or Nintendo are going to use MIcrosoft’s AI for that anyway.

This definitely feels like the way things are going, but Microsoft’s vision for what AI assistants will be like when added into video games still has a long way to go.

via Windows Central

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