Microsoft's AI will be inside Minecraft, and other Xbox, PC games: new Copilot features will search your inventories, offer tips and guides

 Microsoft Copilot event May 20 2024.
Microsoft Copilot event May 20 2024.

What you need to know

  • Microsoft Copilot is a suite of tools based on OpenAI's ChatGPT and Dalle-3 language models to help users with every day queries.

  • Microsoft demonstrated Copilot AI gaming features at today's Surface and AI event, detailing how Copilot will help gamers find information more easily.

  • Using Minecraft as an example, players will be able to ask "How do I craft a sword?" and Copilot will search your Minecraft inventory for the necessary materials, and help you craft it.

  • Maybe Daniel Rubino will finally be able to play Minecraft.

Today is Microsoft's big Surface and AI event, where the firm is detailing the future of Windows on Arm, Surface AI PCs, and new Microsoft Copilot AI features.

We have a full Microsoft AI and Surface Live Blog here, since it's not being streamed online. However, a recap video should be available after the fact a little later. Microsoft will debut new Arm PCs and Surfaces that should beat Intel-based Ultrabooks on both power and battery life, albeit at the cost of some app compatibility in some cases (looking at you, Adobe). In  addition, Microsoft has been demonstrating new AI features for Microsoft Copilot, which is the firm's answer to Google's Gemini AI search and ChatGPT's assistive apps. But who cares about all that, what about gaming? Well, there's an update on that front too.

During the event, Microsoft showcased one of these new integrations. Microsoft Copilot will be embedded directly in video games, starting with Minecraft. Players will be able to use natural language to ask questions like "How do I craft a sword?" and the Copilot will search your chests and inventories for the necessary materials, or guide you to them if you don't have them. It will also explain how to craft the item, and so on, eliminating the need to alt tab and read a website for Minecraft guides like ours (RIP Windows Central).

Microsoft has made a rather large emphasis on privacy at this event as well, claiming that data used via these new AI PCs will remain on-device, and won't be uploaded to the cloud or used to train language models without consent. We'll believe that one when we see it, but Microsoft has been criticized heavily across the board for its lackadaisical approach to privacy in Windows 10 and beyond, so it will be interesting to see how this news is received by gamers.

The death of game guides?!

Microsoft Copilot event May 20 2024
Microsoft Copilot event May 20 2024

With Google and Microsoft both pushing hard on taking data from publishers and injecting it directly into experiences, a question mark has been growing over the future of the web in general. If it's no longer commercially viable to publish content, getting information into AI models will increasingly defer to social media platforms instead, making acquiring accurate information potentially increasingly difficult.

Either way, the convenience of simply being able to ask your video games how to kill a boss or how to find the secrets in a specific area and so on will fundamentally change how games are made, similarly to how internet discussions and websites have in the past. World of Warcraft's developer team have struggled to balance the game's addon APIs, since many of them allow players to create addons and mods that allow well-researched players to automate certain game mechanics, for example. Will we get to a point where we can ask AI to simply play parts of games you don't like for you?

Database websites and Wikis may find it increasingly difficult to fund their operations in this new world, which may conversely negatively impact the quality of information derived from these platforms in the first place, creating a downward spiral and perpetuating what some AI theorists have described as "model collapse," when AIs are no longer being fed accurate information.

The implications of AI tools are absolutely huge, and nobody truly knows how much things will change. But I think we all know, fundamentally, that things will change immensely in the coming years. Many of the best upcoming Xbox games and best upcoming PC games will doubtless change too.