- Florence Fu / Business Insider
- The Xbox One will get additional voice support from Amazon’s Alexa and Google Assistant, according to a new report from Windows Central.
- The Xbox One already supports Microsoft’s voice assistant, Cortana, but it requires a Kinect or other connected Xbox microphone.
- Support for Alexa and Google Assistant would come through separate Echo and Google Home devices, respectively.
“Alexa, turn on my Xbox” may be a reality sooner than later.
That’s because the Xbox One is getting support for Amazon’s Alexa and Google Assistant, according to a new report from Windows Central. You’ll flip a switch in settings, enable whatever “skills” are required for your voice assistant of choice, and you’re off to the races – at least that’s how it appears from the image Windows Central has.
In practice, what that interaction looks like is clear: You speak to your Amazon Echo or Google Home, which speaks to your Xbox, which executes a command. So, “Alexa, turn on my Xbox” turns on your console. “Ok Google, play ‘Overwatch’ on my Xbox One” boots up “Overwatch,” etc.
At least that’s our best guess based on what the Xbox One already does.
When the Xbox One launched in 2013 for the astronomical price of $500, it was so expensive because of the pricey camera/microphone combination seen above – so-called “Kinect 2.0”.
Kinect offered some pretty impressive features out of the box. You could turn on your Xbox One using your voice (“Xbox On!”) – it would even turn on your TV for you as well. But the $500 price of the console plus Kinect kept potential buyers away, and Microsoft quickly dropped Kinect from the bundle to lower the price.
Over time, as more people bought Xbox One consoles without Kinect, Microsoft quietly hid much of the voice functionality that was intrinsic to the console at launch. Eventually, some of that functionality resurfaced as Microsoft’s Cortana digital assistant. If you had a Kinect attached, or some other microphone, you could use Cortana – but that’s a small subset of overall Xbox One users.
If the Xbox One adds support for Google Assistant and Amazon’s Alexa, which appears to be the case, it could smartly repurpose much of the functionality that’s already built-in to the Xbox One – using the Amazon Echo and Google Assistant devices that people already own and use regularly with their voice, unlike Kinect.
Microsoft has yet to officially unveil such a concept, and a representative didn’t respond to a request for comment.