Who needs Kinect? You can now control your Xbox One with Alexa and Cortana

By | 6th September 2018

  • Microsoft’s Xbox One is getting an Xbox Skill for voice commands via Alexa and Cortana.
  • The feature allows users to start games/apps, adjust volume, and more.
  • The skill is only available to U.S. gamers enrolled in the Xbox Insiders preview program.


The Xbox One originally launched with a Kinect peripheral for motion controls and voice commands, but Microsoft eventually killed the accessory last year. Now, the firm thinks it has a better solution for voice commands, as it announces the Xbox Skill for Alexa and Cortana.

The Xbox Skill for Alexa and Cortana allows Xbox One owners to power on/off the console, launch specific games and applications, adjust volume, and quickly capture screenshots and video clips. The skill also lets you quickly adjust system settings, and start or stop Mixer live-streams.

To take advantage of the skill, you’ll need an Alexa-enabled device (e.g. Amazon Echo, Sonos One, Android, iOS) or a Cortana-enabled gadget (e.g. Windows 10 PC, Android, iOS). Microsoft adds that this is only available for Xbox Insiders in the U.S., so you’ll need to hang ten if you’re not in the country (or not a member of the Insiders program).

The Xbox Skill is capable of many commands.

The feature is very seamless too, as Microsoft notes that merely saying “Alexa, start Rocket League” will boot up the console, sign you in, and start the game.

The Xbox Skill isn’t the only way to use voice commands on Xbox One without a Kinect. Cortana is also available on the console, but it requires gamers to use a headset. So it makes sense for Microsoft to create the skill, as it’s a more seamless solution, and smart speakers are super-popular anyway.

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Google Home speakers are also seeing rapid growth, so does Microsoft have any plans to bring the feature to the Google Assistant? Well, don’t hold your breath…

“We’re always looking for ways to improve the Xbox experience based on valuable feedback from our partners and fans but have nothing further to share at this time,” a Microsoft spokesperson told Android Authority.

To get started, you’ll need to turn on your console, then sign in to one of the pages below (depending on your desired assistant). What do you make of the Xbox Skill? Let us know in the comments section!