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Xbox AI chatbot reportedly in the works, will make it "easier and quicker" for players to get help on console

Microsoft is reportedly testing an AI chatbot for Xbox that can assist players with various support queries.

As reported by The Verge, the chatbot will be a visible character that animates in response to the player's questions and commands. Furthermore, as it pulls information from the official Xbox support website, it should be able to respond to queries with relevant advice and even process refunds should the player desire as much.

Internally, it's being referred to as the 'Xbox Support Virtual Agent' and, like many other chatbots we see across the internet, will prompt a conversation by asking players: "How can I help today?" To which they can respond with their voice or via text.

Haiyan Zhang, Xbox's general manager of gaming AI, told The Verge: “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.

“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.”

All in on AI?

This AI-powered virtual chatbot isn't the first we've heard of Microsoft Gaming's efforts to bring artifical intelligence to its Xbox platforms. Last year, it was reported that the company had teamed up with Inworld AI to develop an AI toolset to assist developers with story, dialogue and quest design.

Beyond this, the games industry at large is currently in the process of finding ways for AI to simplify various avenues of development. Recently, Ubisoft unveiled Neo NPCs, a generative AI tool used to create characters, facial expressions, dialogue and conversations with players. The tool was largely mocked online due to the generated characters' uncanny expressions and awkwardly stilted dialogue.

By comparison, Xbox's AI chatbot doesn't seem to be leveraging controversial generative AI technology, instead relying on the company's own catalog of support pages. As a result, it could end up being a handy accessibility feature for Xbox users if/when it rolls out to the wider userbase.

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