Xbox One owners have been able to shout voice commands at their console ever since it launched in 2013, but they’re only now gaining the ability to do so with the help of Cortana. Microsoft’s Windows 10-based virtual assistant is finally rolling out to Xbox One preview members, and while it certainly needs work, it has the potential to significantly improve the experience of talking to the inanimate black box on your shelf.

For starters, Cortana is a game-changer if you don’t have a Kinect. Microsoft’s voice- and motion-sensing camera was previously required for Xbox One voice commands, but with Cortana, you have the option of telling your Xbox what to do right from your gaming headset. As someone who picked up an Xbox One after it became un-bundled with Kinect, I was happy to get a taste of the voice-control convenience I had been missing for years.

The Good

Fortunately, most of what I like about Cortana on Windows 10 is still present in its Xbox One incarnation. After giving the app permission to use my voice, I was able to say “Hey, Cortana” on my headset and give commands that were mostly answered properly. I asked for the weather, the score of the last Yankee game and movie times for Finding Dory, and Cortana promptly snapped that information to the right side of my screen.


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