Here's a quick look at Cortana on the Xbox One dashboard preview

The New Xbox One Experience (NXOE) is available to test for select dashboard preview members, bringing shades of Windows 10 with it.

A keen reddit user recently discovered that you can access Cortana on the NXOE using a hidden menu item. Cortana is currently slated to appear on the Xbox One in early 2016.

If you're still outside the preview, I've put together a video to show how she works on the new dashboard, although I thoroughly expect she'll work a little differently when she ships to testers properly.

If you're in the NXOE preview, you can access Cortana using the following steps:

  • Open the guide by double tapping the home button
  • Go down to the settings menu, and then put your cursor across to the main settings area.
  • Go to the top of the menu, then press up until the highlight disappears, this selects a hidden menu item.
  • Double tap A to snap Cortana, she'll then activate and will be able to receive voice commands.

Cortana is a direct port of her Windows 10 version, snapping in a familiar column. You use the joystick to cycle between elements that would normally be clickable, similarly to the Avatars universal app. She displays the same notebook cards that get synced to your Microsoft Account - in the video you can see my calendar and also weather for my hometown. As Cortana is a direct port, she sports actions items like "Open Calendar". Clicking on buttons that would usually boot apps opens a message box, asking you to search the Xbox Store for an associated app. Whether we'll see full access to the Windows 10 store on Xbox One remains a mystery, but the backend functionality for Universal Windows Platform apps is quite clearly there.

When she launches properly, you'll be able to use her to perform complex Xbox One actions like "Hey Cortana, record the last minute of gameplay and share it with my feed", or "Hey Cortana, is Daniel Rubino online?" The version available right now simply lays the groundwork. You can currently use her to IR blast the volume of your TV up and down via Kinect, and ask her to switch to TV using natural language. She doesn't yet know how to navigate the Xbox generally, or perform complex commands. Her native commands work, like asking her to tell you jokes or sing songs, but anything that is device-specific doesn't work as of yet.

Microsoft might block access to Cortana in the next update wave, so if you're a preview member and want to give her a tryout, consider it sooner rather than later.

The more we discover about the NXOE, the more Windows-like it appears to be. Universal Windows Platform apps run just as you'd expect, selectable with a joystick instead of a mouse cursor or touch. The Xbox One will eventually pick up mouse support as well, which could transform it into a comparatively cheap PC-like gaming and productivity suite, thanks to Office's universal apps.

One thing is for certain; exciting times are ahead for the Xbox One.

Check out our hands-on with the New Xbox One Experience

What do you think of the NXOE? Would you use productivity apps on your Xbox One? Let us know below!

Jez Corden
Co-Managing Editor

Jez Corden is a Managing Editor at Windows Central, focusing primarily on all things Xbox and gaming. Jez is known for breaking exclusive news and analysis as relates to the Microsoft ecosystem while being powered by tea. Follow on Twitter @JezCorden and listen to his XB2 Podcast, all about, you guessed it, Xbox!