It’s already possible to use a digital assistant with the Xbox One games consoles, but your options are quite limited. Microsoft, as you’d expect, integrated Cortana functionality. However, using Cortana requires having the now defunct Kinect hooked up, or relying on the microphone in a headset. That could soon change, though, as there’s evidence Microsoft is opening up Xbox to other assistants.
As Windows Central reports, an image has appeared of a new option in the Xbox One interface under preferences for digital assistants. You can opt to “enable digital assistants,” but there’s specific mention of Cortana, Alexa, and Google Assistant.
If this turns out to be a real feature added as part of a future Xbox update, it could unlock the use of smart speakers to control your Xbox. Microsoft requires an Xbox skill app be installed to enable this, after which you should be able to control certain features on your Xbox with a voice command. This could be particularly useful when watching media and need to pause, continue playback, or adjust a setting such as the audio volume.
It’s completely dependent on Microsoft how useful the integration of digital assistants turns out to be. It may be limited to just simple interface control, or it could be rolled out not only to the Xbox One system, but also developers producing games for it. Voice control in a game using a smart speaker? It’s not out of the question and would certainly be quite a unique extra feature to offer.
If you’re an Xbox One S or Xbox One X owner considering buying a smart speaker, it may be worth waiting to see exactly what this feature turns out to be and how much support it gets. It could influence which speaker you end up choosing to buy.