What just happened? Smart assistants have been growing quickly as of late; you can use them to control everything from your home's lights to your garage door. Now, Alexa and Cortana users can use their smart assistant of choice to control their Xbox One, allowing them to launch games, start Mixer streams, or adjust their system's volume hands-free.
Amazon's Alexa voice assistant all but dominates in the realm of smart assistants, with the only other real contenders being Google's Assistant and Apple's Siri. Amazon isn't content with its current market share, though.
In a bid to get a leg up on its competitors, the digital retail giant is partnering up with Microsoft to launch an Xbox Alexa Skill for the platform, allowing users to utilize existing Alexa-powered smart speakers to control their console.
This feature will initially only be available to those who are taking part in Microsoft's Xbox Insider program, which essentially lets customers get access to in-development features before they launch to the public.
The Xbox Skill is pretty robust - in a diagram, Microsoft explains that users will be able to capture screenshots and clips, launch games and apps, turn on or off their Xbox, and even start or stop Mixer livestreams using their voice.
Microsoft is also bringing Cortana into the mix, as seen in the above image. If you own a device that uses the assistant, such as the Harman Kardon Invoke smart speaker, you'll be able to do pretty much the same things you could do with Alexa.
To be clear, the Xbox Skill does require an Alexa (or Cortana) device to function. Though Microsoft is probably planning to make this a native feature in future Xbox consoles, for now, you can't access either assistant within the Xbox One itself.
If you are an Xbox Insider, you can read setup and pairing instructions for either virtual assistant on Microsoft's official website.