Windows users are already familiar with Microsoft’s virtual assistant Cortana, but with the end of support for the Xbox Kinect, Xbox One users were left without a digital assistant to call their own. According to Windows Central, however, Microsoft seems to be embracing other third-party digital assistants such as Amazon’s Alexa and Google Assistant. While the exact commands that will be available are as yet unknown, it is something that Xbox users can eagerly look forward to.
An E3 Announcement Imminent?
The timing of this leak coincides with the upcoming E3 technology conference which runs from June 12 to June 14. Traditionally, console developers try to outdo each other with their technology updates and new games announced for their systems over the three-day expo. The announcement of this particular development could be a feather in Microsoft’s cap, especially since a lot of users are already very familiar with Alexa and Google Assistant, thanks to their own in-home devices. The Xbox’s main competitors, Nintendo’s Switch console and Sony’s PS4, both lack a digital assistant, and so far there has been no mention of including this functionality in either console by their parent companies. This would make the Xbox One the only console to boast of, not just one digital assistant, but the user’s choice of two of the most common ones available to consumers today.
In August of 2017, according to The Verge, Microsoft announced its plans to incorporate Cortana’s existing technology alongside Alexa and to roll out Alexa on Windows systems. By itself, Alexa is already a big player in the digital assistant game. With the added support from Microsoft, it could turn the screws on its competition. However, integration of the assistant is just the start. In a recent tweet Albert Penello, a Microsoft Xbox Veteran, stated that he was engaged in growing Alexa/Echo presence in gaming. While the development with Google Assistant is a surprise, Amazon’s ongoing relationship with Microsoft is no secret. It would be a real coup to have a powerhouse like Amazon aid development of games on the Microsoft console platform, and may signal a rise in the Xbox One’s fortunes.
A Dynamic Use Console
Microsoft’s vision for the Xbox has always centered on having it as a complete multimedia system, and this latest move to add these virtual assistants is in line with this idea. The announcement to include these digital assistants as options for the Xbox One solidifies this position.