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Consoles

Xbox launches support for Alexa and Cortana with Xbox Skill

Now you can tell your Xbox One what to do.

xbox-one-x-e3-2017-7810-008
Josh Miller

Alexa, are the rumours true?

Yes, they are! On Thursday morning Xbox announced "Xbox Skill" is bringing voice control support for Alexa-enabled devices and expanding its suite of Cortana voice commands. That means you won't just be screaming at 13-year-old kids on PUBG, but you'll also be able to yell commands at your smart home devices, telling your Xbox One to power on, start or stop Mixer broadcasts, launch games and capture screenshots.

Xbox has consistently been at the forefront of adding voice control into its hardware, with users able to interact with their console using the motion-sensing Kinect and some rudimentary voice commands since the Xbox 360 era. In recent months, it's made it obvious it wants to improve the accessibility options for users. So with the rise and rise of smart home devices, it only makes sense Xbox and Alexa come together.

Xbox claims Xbox Skill is "the fastest way to get into your games and one of the easiest ways to interact with your console for everyday tasks." The service will integrate with a host of Cortana and Alexa-enabled devices such as Windows 10 PC, Amazon Echo, Sonos One and Alexa and Cortana-based apps on iOS and Android.

Want to start up a game of Rocket League? "Alexa, start Rocket League" will not only turn on your console, but sign you in to Xbox Live and get Rocket League going. The full list of voice commands are available on the Xbox Insiders subreddit.

The program starts with select US Insiders, but Xbox Skill will be rolling out gradually to all users in the Insider program. To work out whether or not the skill is available to you, head to Settings > Devices on your Xbox One. If you see the "Digital Assistant" setting, then you're able to test the service.

cortalexa
Xbox

To connect to Alexa-enabled devices you'll need to head here, sign in with your Amazon account and click Enable. You can then sign in with your Microsoft account to link Xbox Skill up, wait for Alex to discover your Xbox One and then follow the instructions to pair the console. For Cortana, you'll need to head here.

Sadly, Xbox users in other regions will have to wait even longer to demand their Xbox's switch on for them, with an Xbox spokesperson stating "we will continue to evaluate expanding the offering as we continue testing and evaluating feedback".

But hey, Google? What about that other smart device provider? When quizzed on whether Google Assistant support might make its way to Xbox too, the spokesperson said that Xbox has "nothing further to share at this time".

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