Xbox to Add Cortana, Alexa and Google Assistant Options
Windows Central is reporting that Xbox will soon add “digital assistant” options for Cortana, Alexa and Google Assistant. Microsoft deprecated Kinect in April 2016, there has not be a native option for voice control on Xbox outside of headset use. Instead of just replacing Kinect with Cortana, Microsoft is apparently planning to maximize consumer choice and also offer options for Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant as depicted in the preferences screen shown below.
Window Central’s Jez Corden commented, “This picture comes to us from a reliable source who is familiar with Amazon and Microsoft’s efforts to link Alexa and Cortana. In upcoming Xbox One builds, the Kinect & Devices menu should have a new ‘Digital Assistants’ section, which lets you enable Alexa, Google Assistant, and Cortana, for use on your Xbox One. It then directs you to install the Xbox skills app for those respective platforms to get connected. The full range of features for those assistants remains unknown, but it could bring back many of the voice-assisted features abandoned Kinect users are yearning for.”
Microsoft last month demonstrated Cortana integration with Amazon Alexa, so the bigger news here is a pending openness to partner with Google Assistant. Sonos One is currently the only smart speaker that has committed publicly to supporting both Alexa and Google Assistant and appears to be the only device with permission to do so. Xbox would be the second if the reports to Windows Central are reliable.
Integrating Xbox with Popular Smart Home Platforms
There has been an option for using Cortana with a headset, but this move appears to be more focused on consumer use cases for Xbox as a media hub as opposed to a game console. When you have other smart home devices connected to Alexa or Google Assistant, it makes sense to incorporate your Xbox into that ecosystem. It will be another microphone that can access all of your smart home and voice assistant apps. The capabilities will be even more valuable as Alexa and Google Assistant become more deft at finding and navigating movie and television content.