Microsoft

New Alexa app integrates your Xbox more tightly into the smart home

Rolling out now, the app brings an Echo Show experience to your console

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Alexa and the Xbox already have a good relationship, with the voice assistant able to power up the games console when asked, launch games and adjust the volume.

Now though, Amazon and Microsoft are taking things a step further thanks to a new Alexa app for the Xbox itself. Previously, it was an Xbox skill activated by speaking to a nearby Echo smart speaker that did the work.

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With the new app, which is rolling out right now, Xbox players can interact with Alexa on the console as if it has become a giant Echo Show smart display.

Once installed, opened and tied to your Amazon account, you can use the app to interact with Alexa as you normally would with other devices. This means Xbox-specific commands like launching games from your library or playing music, but also brings a degree of smart home control to the console.

For example, you can ask Alexa to show live video feeds from your Alexa-connected security cameras. Just say something like: "Alexa, show me the front door camera" and that feed will appear on the Xbox interface.

Alexa video camera feed on an Xbox Alexa can now show security camera feeds on an XboxMicrosoft

But remember, because the Xbox doesn't have a microphone of its own (and the mic of your gaming headset doesn't count) you have to speak to the Alexa of a nearby Echo speaker or display.

For example, if you have an Echo in the corner of the room you game in, you can say: "Alexa turn on the Xbox" and the console will boot up. Then, if you are playing a game and there's a knock at the door, you can say: "Alexa, show me the front door" and the camera feed will be shown by your Xbox.

Alexa can also be asked to show what games are new on Microsoft Game Pass, as well as open Netflix, control content by pausing and playing, record snippets of gameplay, invite Xbox friends to a game, or even show your email inbox, calendar and the local weather forecast.

It might only sound like a small upgrade, but we like how the two systems are neatly integrated to help bring Alexa and Xbox together. It will work especially well for those who use an Xbox as their main media device, with Alexa now controlling playback of the Xbox's streaming services, as well as launching games and showing camera video feeds.

The app is rolling out on the Microsoft Store now, and is available for the Xbox One as well as the newer Xbox Series S and Series X.


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