Microsoft Encourages Game Developers to Have AI Write Their Code in Dystopian Super Bowl Copilot Ad

Microsoft aired a dystopian ad for its Copilot AI chatbot during yesterday's Super Bowl encouraging aspiring game developers to have AI write code for their "open-world 3D game."


Published: February 12, 2024 11:10 AM /

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Microsoft Copilot logis and HAL 9000 fom 2001: A Space Odyssey

Super Bowl ads are many things, some are impactful, while some are silly, and some can be dystopian, like Microsoft's ad for its Copilot AI chatbot. 

Among the examples showcased by the ad, which was aired on the evening of February 11 during the celebration for the Super Bowl LVIII won by the Kansas City Chiefs, one of the actors asks copilot to "write code for my 3D open world game..."

The ad then proceeds to show the chatbot writing some code that checks if a character is touching the ground, while an actor stares at the screen with a completely soulless expression. 

Actor in Microsoft Copilot Superbowl Ad
This actor certainly doesn't look very creative as Copilot "writes codes for his open-world 3D game"

The message of the ad basically is certainly a bit weird,  seemingly implying that AI can help people accomplish something against the odds. 

They say I will never open my business or get my degree. They say I will never make my mov or build something. They say I'm too old to learn something new, too young to change the world, but I say "watch me."

You can watch it below.

The ad caused a number of developers to post displeased and mocking reactions on social media. Animator Jonathan Cooper alluded to Microsoft's recent wave of layoffs on X (formerly Twitter)

Maybe Microsoft should retain their game engineers rather than use AI to "Write code for my 3D open world game"...

Indie developer Dynamic Voltage Games was certainly more explicit in their comments,albeit they did distinguish between the folks at Xbox and "corporate shareholder-run Microsoft."

That Microsoft AI Super Bowl ad was sickening. Some guy types in "write code for 3D open world game" and it gives him a script. Maybe MS should just get out of gaming if they think shit like this is OK for the industry.

I've always found the Xbox division to be incredibly likeable. The id@Xbox team are saints that helped me through a lot of issues. Whatever happens, know that this comes down from corporate shareholder run Microsoft, not them.

That Microsoft AI ad undermines creativity. It promotes laziness. Are they so tone-deaf that they don't know how many creative people they have working for them right now that could end up unemployed if their AI app takes off?

World designer Nathan Cheever of Palia and Mafia III fame wasn't pleased either.

"Write code for my 3D open world game..."

Really Microsoft?  You spent $7 million on a Superbowl ad targeting yutz suggesting today's AI can do every #GameDev thing for them? 

The message of the ad, obviously targeting young aspiring developers, feels particularly tone-deaf in light of the many layoffs that have hit the industry over the past year, not only at Microsoft itself, but also at countless companies big and small, including Sony, Bungie2K GamesEpic GamesTencentAmazonFrontierTeam17People can Fly, and more, on top of several of Embracer's studios

With so many game developers concerned about their employment situation, peddling a bot intended to replace their hard-earned skills doesn't exactly feel constructive.

This comes after Microsoft's Xbox division partnered with a generative AI company to create an AI-driven game design copilot to assist developers in creating "detailed scripts, dialogue trees, quests, and more" from prompts.

Shortly after, CFO Tim Stuart praised generative AI as something that would enable scenarios like "the barista at your local Starbucks has an awesome idea for a game and they can now use Copilot and AI to go create a great mobile experience."

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Giuseppe Nelva Profile Picture
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News Editor at TechRaptor since January 2023 following over 20 years of professional experience in gaming journalism both on print media and on the web.… More about Giuseppe