Microsoft experimenting with OpenAI technology in Minecraft

Image of the Minecraft x Copilot demo.
(Image credit: @_h0x0d_)

What you need to know

  • Minecraft is one of the most popular and successful video games of all time.
  • The game contains endless possibilities for players and creators alike, which can be intimidating.
  • Microsoft and Mojang Studios are reportedly experimenting with ways to use AI to make Minecraft more accessible.
  • A collaboration with OpenAI and Github Copilot would allow Minecraft players to use natural language to interact with the game.

Minecraft is undoubtedly an incredible game for players of all ages and skill levels, but it's also a vast video game that can be intimidating purely based on its sheer scale. Minecraft creators, especially, employ a wide variety of skills, including coding, to bring their visions to life. A new report suggests Mojang Studios and Microsoft are experimenting with a new way to make Minecraft more accessible to players... using AI.

A video shared by @_h0x0d_ on Twitter, in response to a report from Semafor, shows an internal demo of a version of Minecraft integrated with the expansive OpenAI platform.

The demo shows a Minecraft player able to spawn custom builds, locations, and even NPCs using natural language in Minecraft's command lines. It shows how AI can simplify the complicated processes for advanced creation in Minecraft, or even for simple commands like teleportation. You can see the video below.

The technology utilizes the OpenAI platform, although not with the same advanced Prometheus layer used in Microsoft's nascent Bing search evolution. Instead, Mojang Studios and Microsoft are experimenting with integrating Github Copilot, a cloud-based AI program that aims to assist developers and programmers by autocompleting code under certain conditions. The AI is able to consolidate complex Minecraft code by interpreting player commands, and then execute them in real-time. Eventually, it could even be able to understand player voice commands.

The demo above features rough performance, but the premise is intact; AI could help Minecraft players and creators navigate the labyrinth of code and variables that make up the game's foundations. There are no definitive indications that Microsoft actually intends to implement Copilot into Minecraft, but it's clear that the company is committed to experimenting with all the various ways AI can be used to improve its products.

Again, there's no reason to expect that these AI features will actually be publicly available in a future version of Minecraft, but players can now test several upcoming features from the next Minecraft content update right now. For those not interested in testing experimental features, Minecraft: Bedrock Edition 1.19.60 just released to all players with plenty of bug fixes.

Windows Central's take

It seems inevitable that AI will eventually be used to assist video game development, and Minecraft is an obvious place to start. Minecraft is already used by educational organizations and facilities to teach young students and children the essentials of coding. Minecraft creators are also highly talented individuals that sink dozens to hundreds of hours into their creations, learning the ever-shifting nuances of Minecraft's internal commands and APIs.

Integration with OpenAI and Github Copilot, two established platforms that are already being used by professionals today, could help ease new players into Minecraft while also providing a powerful tool for veteran creators. I believe that any public integration of AI into Minecraft is a long way off, however. Microsoft is almost certainly funding countless experiments with AI as part of its ongoing investments in the tech, and it's no surprise that the Xbox teams are included in that venture. Whether or not any of those experiments will result in real-world products remains to be seen.

Minecraft in its current iteration is already one of the best Xbox games around. Could AI make it even better by enabling players to embrace their creativity without fearing if they have the technical skill to execute it? The promise is there, if this fascinating Minecraft demo is to be believed.

Zachary Boddy
Staff Writer

Zachary Boddy (They / Them) is a Staff Writer for Windows Central, primarily focused on covering the latest news in tech and gaming, the best Xbox and PC games, and the most interesting Windows and Xbox hardware. They have been gaming and writing for most of their life starting with the original Xbox, and started out as a freelancer for Windows Central and its sister sites in 2019. Now a full-fledged Staff Writer, Zachary has expanded from only writing about all things Minecraft to covering practically everything on which Windows Central is an expert, especially when it comes to Microsoft. You can find Zachary on Twitter @BoddyZachary.