AI Companions Coming To Xbox? Microsoft Tests Chatbot Integration

A robot with an Xbox logo on his chest, holding an Xboc controller.
Artificial intelligence chatbots are coming to all the things, it seems, and evidently that includes your Xbox game console. While nothing has been announced, Microsoft revealed that it is indeed in the process of testing an AI chatbot for Xbox game consoles, with the focus so far on supporting gamers in a number of ways, such as help with processing refunds.

Haiyan Zhang, general manager of gaming AI at Xbox, spoke on the topic a bit with The Verge, calling the current iteration an "Xbox Support Virtual Agent" in prototype form. The idea is to allow gamers to ping an "animated character" using voice or text prompts for various support topics.

"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," Zhang explains.

Azure AI Bot Surface image (square box with eyes with pawn-shaped people on one side and chat bubbles on the other).

Leading by example, it's said that the prototype Xbox chatbot is like the kind of support tool Microsoft promotes for its customers to create—Microsoft maintains an Azure AI Bot Service that's used by companies and organizations such as Progressive, Vodafone, and even the Miami Dolphins. According to Microsoft, the chatbot created by the Miami Dolphins has handled 40,000 fan conversations "resolving 97% of inquiries."

From our vantage point, the Xbox chatbot sounds like a high-tech shortcut for navigating support issues, whether it's a gamer looking to process a refund or someone needing help with a technical issue. It will be interesting to see the full set of capabilities when the AI chatbot eventually releases.

That's assuming it does end up releasing, and we'd be surprised if it didn't. The bigger question is if this will be something that Microsoft deploys with its current generation Xbox Series X|S systems, or holds off for its next-gen console.

In a recent podcast, Xbox president Sarah Bond went on record saying Microsoft's next-gen console will deliver "the largest technical leap you will have ever seen in a hardware generation." And separately, Xbox gaming chief Phil Spencer recently kept speculation of a handheld Xbox console alive by outlining his wishlist of features for what he considers the ultimate handheld console.

An Xbox AI chatbot could be part of either system.

Top image created with Copilot