Alexa Can Now Download Xbox Game Pass Games From Anywhere
Xbox owners can now ask Alexa to download games for the console by asking the voice assistant directly. The new feature is part of the Xbox Alexa skill introduced last month, but downloading games doesn’t require invoking the skill, just a subscription to Xbox Game Pass.
Game Pass Alexa
Alexa Games and Microsoft partnered to integrate the new features into the Alexa skill, which connects the user’s Alexa and Xbox accounts. Xbox Game Pass subscribers can grab the games they want to play from the voice assistant by saying, “Alexa, download (game name) from Xbox Game Pass,” and the console will start the download. The update also enables Alexa to respond to questions about a specific game’s availability and find out which games are new, popular, or leaving the subscription service soon. Because the skill link’s a user’s Alexa and Xbox accounts, users can download games from anywhere with an accessible Alexa device, whether a smart speaker, Echo Frames smart glasses, or a mobile app on a smartphone.
This is Alexa’s first direct-download gaming feature, but one that will reach a lot of people. The $15 a month Xbox Game Pass has more than 100 games available and counts more than 18 million people in 41 countries as members. The Alexa feature is limited to the U.S. for now, but other countries will be added to the list soon. Assuming it goes well, it’s easy to imagine Amazon finding new gaming partners to offer Alexa access to, although
The Game Pass download builds on what was already the most integrated console voice app. The skill already made any compatible Xbox a kind of adjunct to the voice assistant, with the TV acting as a smart display operated by the console. One connected, Alexa on the Xbox can use most Alexa apps for entertainment and operate smart home devices, even showing what connected cameras are seeing on the TV screen. It’s a much more reciprocal relationship than it was before. One big question is if Microsoft spending close to $20 billion to buy major voice tech developer Nuance will affect this kind of arrangement. Though possible, it’s probably irrelevant as Nuance has been much more centered around enterprise, which Microsoft is likely to maintain as Nuance’s focus. Though it may be unrelated, interest in gaming is also fueling rumors that Microsoft is thinking about spending $10 billion to buy Discord. That potential purchase could represent a way for Microsoft to go big on social audio, but it probably has more to do with upping the video game side of things, especially after buying ZeniMax Media, the parent company of BethesdaSoftworks, for $7.5 billion last year.