We've been hearing for months that Microsoft was working on Alexa support for Xbox One, complete with voice control support via compatible Amazon Echo speakers. Today, we've seen hard evidence that not only shows Alexa support is coming, but also support for Google Assistant.
Since the death of Kinect, Microsoft hasn't really provided users with a decent alternative for controlling your console via voice commands. Sure, you can use a headset to speak with Cortana, but who is wearing a headset while watching a movie, when all you want to do is control the volume on your TV?
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 dropped the ball on Cortana's potential, pivoting her away from consumer capabilities and more into the productivity arena. As such, Cortana will soon be an "app" for Amazon Echo and probably other connected speakers, although she is available in a dedicated US-only speaker built by Harman/Kardon, called the Invoke. It looks like Microsoft is allowing Amazon and Google to step up to give us back some of those voice-assisted dedicated microphone features too.
As always, plans can change at any time before launch, but I expect we'll see an official announcement about this one sooner rather than later. Former Xbox console marketing lead Albert Penello recently joined Amazon specifically to grow the Echo's presence in gaming. With Kinect out of the picture, integrating other connected speakers with Xbox is a total no-brainer.
You can grab an Amazon Echo Dot speaker for as little as $39.99. If you want a higher-quality speaker, you can grab a regular Echo (in a range of colors) for $99, or a smart-home hub version for $149.
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