Microsoft, like other major games-makers and platform-holders, is eager to use the growing spectrum of AI and machine learning to help power its online services--and even catch cheaters.
A recent Microsoft patent outlines a way to use machine learning to bolster Xbox LIVE and its gaming services framework to prevent cheating and keep track of the terabytes of data floating in the company's network. The patent, which was filed in 2017 and only now published, has a number of different modalities, functionalities, and iterations to it, but the gist is creating an intelligent AI-like system that continually learns and performs platform-wide cheat detection.
Ultimately Microsoft is concerned about in-game cheating as well as using specific hacks and methods to unlock achievements and other rewards. Remember that Xbox now has a new program that allows gamers to complete in-game goals to enter for real prizes, as well as its new merged Microsoft Rewards initiative.
This patent folds neatly into Microsoft's latest comments about AI and the future of the cloud--the latter of which strengthens the mighty arm of its subscription services. At E3 2018 Xbox division head Phil Spencer said that the company is investing in AI as a whole: "Our experts at Microsoft research are developing the future of gaming AI, so the worlds and characters we enjoy will be even more rich and more immersive."
Given Xbox LIVE is the life's blood of Xbox console gaming and represents billions of dollars of engagement every year it behooves Microsoft to protect, fortify, and secure the online platform as much as possible.
Also remember that patents don't indicate a final result. There's a chance this AI-driven cheat method will never actually materialize, and if it does, it may not use most of the parameters outlined in the patent.
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