Today, Microsoft announced that you'll soon be able to control your Xbox One console with Cortana or Alexa. The skill is available in beta now, and Xbox Insiders will be able to test it beginning today. Unfortunately, it's U.S.-only.
With the new skill, you'll be able to "adjust volume, launch games and apps, start and stop broadcasts on Mixer, capture screenshots, and more." This can all be done from your Echo smart speaker, Invoke Cortana speaker, Windows 10 PC, and ultimately anything else that supports Cortana or Alexa.
This is the first time that Microsoft has pushed for voice support since the Xbox One first launched, bundled with the Kinect. At the time, you could speak to it by saying "Xbox" commands, but that was later replaced by Cortana.
And indeed, it's always been curious that users were unable to control their Xbox with other Cortana devices previously. This was one of the main things we complained about when we reviewed the Harman Kardon Invoke Cortana speaker. In fact, it still seems odd that Xbox is coming to Cortana as a skill, rather than a native feature.
Xbox Insiders can begin testing the feature today. Here's what to do to enable it on Cortana:
Sign into the Xbox you want to control.
On your Windows 10 PC, click here and sign in with your Microsoft account to link the skill.
Try your first command! “Hey Cortana, tell Xbox to open Netflix.”
Here's how to enable it on Alexa:
- Sign into the Xbox you want to control.
Click here, sign in with your Amazon Account, and click Enable.
Sign in with your Microsoft account to link the skill.
Let Alexa discover your console, then follow the instructions to pair your console with Alexa.
Try your first command! “Alexa, start Rocket League.”
Microsoft didn't specify when the feature will roll out to non-Insiders, and it's unclear if it would even meet the timeline for the October 2018 Update.