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You can now control your Xbox One by speaking to Alexa

Owners of an Alexa smart speaker can now speak to it to control their Xbox games console

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Microsoft has launched a new Amazon Alexa skill for controlling the Xbox One games console with voice commands.

Rolling out this week for select U.S. gamers who are part of the Xbox Insiders program, the Alexa skill lets you switch the console on, open games, control media playback, capture screenshots, and quickly access various other features, like the Netflix app. To actually play any games, however, you still need to use your controller.

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To learn more about what the assistants can do, owners are advised to say: "Ask Xbox what can I say?" to their assistant.

The Xbox One is no stranger to voice control, as gamers can to speak to the console's own version of Cortana (Microsoft's in-house assistant) through either their headset or the Kinect cameras and motion tracker.

But, with the Kinect recently discontinued by Microsoft, voice control took a back seat just as Alexa and Google Assistant have been getting into their stride.

The new Alexa skill means you can speak to your nearby smart speaker (an Amazon Echo, for example, or the Sonos One), to control the Xbox One. Assuming both devices are in the same room, you can sit on the couch and say: "Alexa, start Destiny" to have the console switch on and boot up the game.

Picture of how Cortana and Alexa can control Xbox OneMicrosoft

Microsoft says the feature works in the same way on both Alexa- and Cortana-enabled devices, including the assistants' respective smartphones apps for iOS and Android.

There had been rumors that Microsoft was working to hook up the Xbox One with Google Assistant and, despite today's Alexa news, that could still happen. Microsoft said it will "continue to evolve this experience and grow our voice integration across devices, digital assistants and voice services."


Check out The GearBrain, our smart home compatibility checker to see the other compatible products that work with Amazon Alexa.

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