Microsoft’s Xbox One is getting a whole lot easier to use. The company today announced a new Xbox Skill for Cortana and Amazon Alexa, letting users control almost every aspect of their Xbox One with their voice.
If you have an Amazon Alexa-enabled device or a Cortana device, you will be able to control a bunch of things on your Xbox One console with the new Xbox Skill. The new skill is being tested with Xbox Insiders in the United States, to begin with, though it will expand to more users later on.
Microsoft’s new Xbox Skill enables users to turn on/off their console with their voice, and even launch games and apps. You can, for example, tell your Echo speaker to “Alexa, start Fortnite” and it will turn on your Xbox One, log you in, and launch Fortnite with just a single command. You can even use it to start and stop broadcasts, control media playback, capture screenshots, navigate around the Xbox One system, and more. There’s a “Ask Xbox what can I say?” command that will let you discover everything the skill can do.
Xbox Skill for Alexa and Cortana is essentially a clever way of bringing some of the Kinect voice controls that were available in the past. Microsoft moved away from supporting Kinect a while ago, but fans of Kinect can get some of the same experience with the new Xbox Skill on their Xbox. It’s also very interesting to see Microsoft supporting Alexa here, probably because of Amazon’s market dominance with smart speakers. Then again, Microsoft is partnering with Amazon to integrate Alexa into Cortana, and vice-versa, so all of this integration across different products makes a ton of sense.