While Cortana was once Master Chief’s indispensable AI assistant, it seems her days in our homes are done, dead, and buried as Microsoft sets to work integrating Google Assistant functionality into its Xbox One gaming console.
Microsoft announced today that we’ll soon be able to control our consoles from our Google Assistants. The feature is in beta right now, but will likely go public this year.
You don’t need to dig your Kinect out of the basement to use it, though. Instead, we’ll be able to do things like launch games, pause them, and take screenshots by talking to Assistant-enabled devices. That includes Android and iOS devices as well as Google Home-enabled speakers.
To enable the functionality, you’ll enable the Xbox through the Google Home app like any other Google Home device. Microsoft has posted a full list of available commands, as well as instructions for getting in on the beta, over on Reddit. The Xbox already works with Amazon Alexa skills, too, meaning that just about everyone but Siri can get in on the Xbox goodness right now.
This feels like part of Microsoft’s newfound philosophy of letting people play games how they like and use the services they prefer. You can use a mouse and keyboard with some Xbox games, use the voice operator of your own choosing, and play games with some seriously-customizable controls.
Of course, Microsoft isn’t turning off or removing Cortana if you’re one of the five people who still has your Kinect plugged in. Hi, all four of you! The option to use these familiar assistants is appealing, though, and something we’d love to see make the jump to PlayStation.