News on the grapevine is Alexa and Google Assistant are coming to the Xbox One. We’ve known Microsoft were working on supporting this feature for some time now but it looks like there may be further news to be revealed at this year’s E3.
Although some would believe this would be some form of competition or strange business, this would otherwise benefit all those involved; Amazon, Google and Microsoft by collaborating and bringing more services together. With Kinect having died a quiet death having been phased out and users having to resort to using a headset with Cortana (unless of course you have an adapter for the Kinect and your Xbox One S or X), it seemed like some of the Xbox One’s original voice command functionality that was an important selling point was being stripped away. Now with Alexa and the Google Assistant on the cards it now looks like this is not the case and instead we are seeing a new direction in the functionality for the Xbox One.
In the image below we can see that we’ll be seeing a new area in the Kinect & Devices section for ‘Digital Assistants’ in upcoming Xbox One system builds and each of these assistants will direct you to install an Xbox Skills app to get either of these connected.
So why would you want to use Alexa or the Google Assistant over Cortana? Well if like me you might like the idea of having a smart home. I myself have sold my soul to the Amazon Empire and now own an Amazon Echo in the living room and an Echo Dot in the bedroom. As well as keeping me informed with media briefings on the news and weather, I can ask Alexa to, “Play Spotify!” or, “Turn it up!” across rooms as well as ask Alexa to, “Turns lights on!” or, “Turn on Xbox lights!” for when I want my living room to be splashed with a combination of Windows 10 blue and Xbox green hues for when I’m gaming.
Programmed routines control the colours and times of the lights to be on off, fade in or out at scheduled times or even come on or power off entering or leaving the door. This all comes at an extra cost of course having to buy a Philips Hue Bridge and appropriate bulb set or an alternative. But back to the point, the linking of smart home devices and digital assistants to your gaming environment is pretty darn cool. Imagine the possibilities of asking Alexa to turn on your console to game or watch and control your desired media perhaps with a set light scene (DO IT! I’d be all over that!). At this time you can even sync your Mac and Windows 10 devices with your Philips Hue lights using the Hue Sync App! So why not Xbox? Perhaps I’m setting expectations a little high but the possibilities are endless.
And Microsoft teamed up with Amazon’s Alexa and the Google Assistant could do it first for consoles.